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Eric Butz

Occupation

Chartered accountant at a small public practice in Alberta.

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The portfolio

Includes shares in Apple Inc., Atlas Resource Partners LP, Seaspan Corp. and Kinder Morgan Inc.

The investor

Eric Butz is "an avid reader" of The Wall Street Journal and other financial news outlets, including the Report on Business. To assess companies, he reads annual reports, quarterly statements and presentations (his accounting background comes in handy here).

Mr. Butz opened his first brokerage account in March, 2009, just as the last bear market was bottoming. "I was optimistic that stocks would rebound and the massive decline was an excellent buying opportunity," he explains.

How he invests

"I adhere to the Benjamin Graham philosophy of thinking of equities as ownership interests in businesses, rather than stocks on a chart," he says. Mr. Butz also places the majority of his portfolio in stocks that he believes are undervalued or of companies that are relatively conservative.

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Apple Inc. is one of his oldest and largest holdings. The company has an excellent management team, great products, generates huge profit, and has a dividend that is expected to grow.

Atlas Resource Partners, a natural-gas and oil producer, is a speculative investment. He bought after a dramatic reduction in the dividend caused its stock to crash. Yet, the reduced dividend was still yielding 17 per cent and company operations were hedged for several years against low commodity prices.

Seaspan Corp. pays "a high, sustainable dividend." Mr. Butz thinks weak spot prices for container shipping have pulled down Seaspan's shares too much considering its revenue is tied to long-term lease arrangements.

Kinder Morgan's facilities store and handle fuels, particularly natural gas. Mr. Butz believes the volume of natural gas shipments will grow and require more of the kind of energy infrastructure that Kinder Morgan "is best placed" to provide.

Best move

Buying Niska Gas Storage Partners LLC this year just before a company made a takeover bid, providing Mr. Butz with a 195-per-cent gain.

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Worst move

"Not buying Cheniere Energy Inc. at $2 in late 2009 when I first became interested in it – then not selling at $80 when I felt it was overpriced [instead, selling at a lower price]."

Advice

"Patience, patience, patience … When individual investors try to time the market they often sell too soon, resulting in larger losses or smaller gains than if they simply hold their investments … the less you trade the better."

Want to be in Me and My Money? Contact Larry MacDonald at mccolumn@yahoo.com.

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