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me and my money

Dave Clark

David Alton Clark

Occupation

Realtor

The portfolio

Major stock holdings include General Electric Co., Exxon Mobil Corp., Citigroup Inc., Ford Motor Co., AT&T Inc., Fitbit Inc. and the iShares Silver Trust Fund.

The investor

David Alton Clark is rated No. 1 out of 8,955 stock pickers in North America by TipRanks.com. About half of this group is made up of analysts from the investment industry; the rest are investment bloggers and part-time stock pickers. Mr. Clark belongs to the latter group.

In the 1990s, Mr. Clark worked as an accountant and auditor. He took a consulting job in Silicon Valley just before the dot-com bubble started. When it burst, he became a sales manager in the U.S. home-building industry. After it crashed in 2008, he found employment in the real estate industry.

How he invests

"I am a contrarian at heart," Mr. Clark says. "Sir John Templeton's 'Buy at the point of maximum pessimism' is one of my abiding principles." Patience is another: "I take my time and really dig deep into a company's inner workings," he says.

It appears his training and work experience have helped his investing performance. Stints as a business consultant, accountant and auditor have led to "an intimate knowledge of corporate financial statements and how the companies actually made money."

Blogging plays a role, too, he notes. To paraphrase 16th-century English philosopher Francis Bacon: Writing makes an exact man. What further sharpens his thinking is feedback from readers of his blog at seekingalpha.com.

He likes that General Electric is selling off its lending and leasing operations. This means "the SIFI [systemically important financial institution] designation will be removed" and, in turn, several regulatory and capital constraints.

Fitbit is a speculative buy. Mr. Clark believes "2016 will be the year wearables become the rule." Moreover, there is a large short position that could be squeezed, which would trigger a runup in stock price.

Kinder Morgan Inc. stock should be avoided, he urges. The pipeline giant has a lot of debt and the plunge in oil prices has crippled its customers.

Best move

Buying Cheniere Energy Inc. shares at $5 in 2010 despite his "oil-patch friends scoffing" at its plans to export liquid natural gas … and selling as they rose toward $80 in 2014.

Worst move

Loading up on an employer's stock purchase plan, only to later see the employer go bankrupt.

Advice

He believes the point of maximum pessimism has come for silver, and advises buying the iShares Silver Trust Fund. For one thing, silver supply is likely to remain tight since it is a byproduct of copper mining (which is in a lengthy downturn due to low prices).

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