The Motley Fool Readers' Top 10 Investments

Published in Investing on 21 October 2011

Where do most Foolish readers stash their cash?

Do you want to know where Foolish readers really invest their cash? Well, according to the feedback from this weeks' article asking that very question, it's in the following shares in descending order:

1. Vodafone LSE: VOD)

2. Tesco (LSE: TSCO)

3. GlaxoSmithKline (LSE: GSK)

4. BP (LSE: BP)

5. National Grid (LSE: NG)

6. Aviva (LSE: AV)

7. AstraZeneca (LSE: AZN)

8. Royal Dutch Shell (LSE: RDSB)

9. British American Tobacco (LSE: BATS)

10. Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL.US)

But this list is based on qualitative scoring of how high up the list stocks were placed, awarding five points for first and one for fifth etc. This should come reasonably close to the amounts currently invested from those responding.

Based on the quantity of mentions in readers' top holdings, the top list looks like this:

1. Vodafone

2. GlaxoSmithKline

3. Tesco

4. AstraZeneca

5. BP

6. Aviva & National Grid


8. Morrison (LSE: MRW), Royal Dutch Shell & Sainsbury (LSE: SBRY)

Of course, these lists wouldn't exactly stand up to any objective statistical analysis for a research sample. But they're interesting nonetheless.

There are a few things that standout for me.

Where are the banks?

Notable by their absence are the banks. Had we run this experiment this time five years ago, I imagine the "safe" high-yielding banks would have been at or near the top of the lists. The fact that they don't figure at all illustrates two things:

1. The demolition of their value (the listings asked for top five by value of current holdings) and,

2. A complete (and understandable) lack of confidence in investing in financial institutions.

Put these two factors together and they don't figure at all in readers' top lists. In other words, Foolish investors aren't feeling confident enough to average down at today's prices. For the record, Lloyds Banking Group (LSE: LLOY) was closest to the top.

This may appeal to contrarian investors -- it does to me -- but it's difficult to "throw good money after bad".

Fools like their yields

It's also evident how much Fool like a good dividend yield. Based on brokers' consensus forecast for 2012, the income figures look thus:

1. Aviva324p8.8%
2. National Grid638p6.2%
3. SSE1,351p5.9%
4. Vodafone175p5.8%
5. AstraZeneca2,974p5.6%
6. Sainsbury300p5.3%
7. GlaxoSmithKline1,393p5.2%
8. British American Tobacco2,790p5.0%
9. Royal Dutch Shell2,290p4.7%
10. BP430p4.5%

A mean average yield of 5.7% is no mean feat when the best savings rates are around 3%.

Aviva's yield is anomalously high. The insurance group has been the subject of much debate on the Fool over the last few months. But it still sits atop my Foolish colleague Stephen Bland's value portfolio by a long chalk, and looks a bargain to me.

Not much explosive growth

There's also not a lot of room for growth excitement on the lists (Apple aside). This is understandable. Any such experiment would always tend towards blue-chips, of course.

But had we run these lists around the turn of the century, I imagine it would have looked a lot more techie/growth-orientated and generally less defensive. A sign of the times perhaps -- and a sensible one at that.

More on the markets:

> David owns shares in AstraZeneca, BP, Aviva, Morrison, Royal Dutch Shell, Sainsbury & Lloyds. The Motley Fool owns shares in Tesco, GlaxoSmithKline, AstraZeneca and SSE.

> Worried about the state of the stock market right now? Then get The Motley Fool's latest free guide - What To Do When The Market Crashes

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The opinions expressed here are those of the individual writers and are not representative of The Motley Fool. If you spot any comments that are unsuitable hit the flag to alert our moderators.

pa13 24 Oct 2011 , 1:20pm

An interesting article, like most of Motley Fool's, but it would always be helpful to read at the top who wrote it. At the bottom it mentions David, but is this David Kuo or another?
As we retire and pass 65, I am afraid we may have unused (so wasted) personal allowances. ( Age allowance is currently nearly £10k, and the normal allowance is rising under LibDem influence.) But as dividend tax credits can never be reclaimed, interest (or rent?) would be more use than dividends.

imacifm 24 Oct 2011 , 1:22pm
WimborneSage 24 Oct 2011 , 2:21pm

pa13 - the author's name is clearly stated near the top right of the article - David Holding in this case :-)

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