Skip to main content

My Growth Portfolio has been a powerhouse performer since it was launched 10-1/2 years ago. But the past 12 months have been difficult.

The overall result wasn’t bad in the context of the market. The portfolio was down about 1 per cent over the past year. That’s much better than the indexes, but it’s still a loss. We need to turn things around.

We created the Growth Portfolio for my Internet Wealth Builder newsletter 10-1/2 years ago, in August 2012. It had an initial value of $10,000 and a target annual growth rate of 12 per cent. It’s a high-risk portfolio, with 100 per cent exposure to the equity markets. It’s not a place for cautious investors.

Here are the securities that make up the current portfolio, with an update on how they have performed since our last review in August. Prices are as of the close on Feb. 23.

iShares U.S. Aerospace and Defense ETF (ITA-A). As the name suggests, this ETF invests in the U.S. defense and aerospace industry. We added it to the portfolio one year ago, based on its long-term record of profitability and the heightened tension in Europe. After a weak start, the units recovered in the latest period, gaining US$10.24. We received two distributions for a total of 62.2 US cents per unit.

Alimentation Couche-Tard (ATD-T). Alimentation operates convenience stores in Canada, the U.S., and Europe. The stock bucked the trend and gained ground during the market sell-off in 2022. It’s up $6.31 since our last review. The company pays a quarterly dividend of 14 cents a share, which was recently increased by three cents.

WSP Global Inc. (WSP-T). Montreal based WSP is an international engineering and design firm. The stock has been a big winner for us. It went into a brief slump at the start of 2022 but has since staged a strong recovery, gaining $17.37 in the latest six-month period. We received two dividends totaling 75 cents per share.

iShares North American Natural Resources ETF (IGE-A). This fund invests in energy, mining, and forestry companies based in North America. The units are down 65 US cents since our August review but with distributions totalling 74.8 US cents we ended the period at about break-even.

Amazon Inc. (AMZN-Q). Amazon continued its freefall after the 20-1 share split, losing almost US$40 in the latest period. Amazon does not pay a dividend.

Apple Inc. (AAPL-Q). Apple shares resisted the tech sell-off for several months but finally succumbed, losing US$18.13 in the latest period. We received two dividends of 23 US cents each.

Costco Wholesale Corp. (COST-Q). Costco shares had been on a long run for us. No more! They lost about US$50 per share since August. And it’s not even a tech stock. We received two dividends totaling US$1.80 per share.

United Parcel Service Inc. (UPS-N). This is the world’s largest package delivery company and is on the leading edge of new delivery technologies, especially in the healthcare sector. The shares lost ground in the latest period, dropping US$23.10. The company raised its dividend by 10 US cents a share earlier this month.

Cash. We received interest of $45.46 on our cash holdings at Duca Credit Union.

Here is how the portfolio stood at the close on Feb. 23. Commissions are not considered. The U.S. and Canadian dollars are treated as being at par, but obviously gains (or losses) on the American securities are increased due to the exchange rate differential.

IWB Growth Portfolio (as of Feb. 23)

Weight %Total sharesAvg. priceBook valueCurrent priceMarket valueRetained distributionsGain/Loss %
ITA-A850$107.42 $5,371.00 $5,371.00 $5,802.50 $53.00 0.9
ATD-T12.5140$8.32 $1,164.10 $1,164.10 $9,006.20 $296.19 699.1
WSP-T21.590$27.00 $2,430.29 $2,430.29 $15,741.90 $399.11 564.2
IGE-A8.8160$40.05 $6,408.00 $6,408.00 $6,379.20 $192.16 2
AMZN-Q5.340$102.14 $4,085.52 $4,085.52 $3,832.80 0-6.2
AAPL-Q16.580$30.43 $2,434.07 $2,434.07 $11,952.00 $446.44 409.4
COST-Q13.620$344.27 $6,885.40 $6,885.40 $9,862.80 $363.20 48.5
UPS-N12.450$118.45 $5,922.50 $5,922.50 $8,997.00 $788.00 65.2
Cash1$727.81 $788.05
Total100$35,428.69 $72,362.45 $2,538.10 111.4
Inception$10,000.00 649

Comments: Three of the securities in the portfolio were up during the latest six-month period: Alimentation Couche-Tard, WSP Global, and ITA, our Aerospace and Defense ETF.

The total value of the portfolio (market price plus retained distributions) now stands at $74,900.55. That’s a loss of 2.3 per cent since the August review. Over the last 12 months, the loss is just under 1 per cent.

For the 10-1/2 years since this portfolio was launched, we have a cumulative return of 649 per cent. That’s an average annual compound growth rate of 21.14 per cent. That’s down from a year ago but still well ahead of our target.

Changes: We need to make some changes. Apple’s weighting is too heavy in the current environment so we will sell 30 shares at $149.40 for a total of $4,482. That leaves us with 50 shares.

Our bet on a surge in resource stocks did not pay off and it doesn’t look like it’s going to so we will sell IGE for $6,571.36, including retained earnings.

Amazon is no longer a growth stock, at least not at this stage, so we’ll sell our position for $3,832.80.

That leaves us with $14,886.16 to reinvest.

What’s the hottest topic people are discussing these days? Artificial Intelligence in general and ChatGPT in particular. It’s already posing huge problems for educators and raising ethical debates about its use. An opinion piece in the Wall Street Journal co-authored by Henry Kissinger says it might be the most revolutionary invention since the printing press and described it as an “intellectual revolution”.

Who profits? One of the companies is Nvidia Corp. (NVDA-Q), which makes computing chips for AI processors. The stock was recommended in my Internet Wealth Builder newsletter in May 2021 at US$162.44 and closed on Feb. 23 at US$236.64.

The company’s stock took off after the latest financial report. Not only did Nvidia beat revenue and profit expectations, but it issued strong guidance for the first quarter of 2023, with revenue of US$6.5 billion. That’s up about US$500 million from the last quarter.

We will buy 40 shares at $236.64, for a total of $9,465.60.

We will also add 30 shares of transport company TFI International Inc. (TFII-T). It’s a remarkable Canadian success and the stock is up 852 per cent since we recommended it back in 2012. The shares were trading at $168.06 at the time of writing, so we’ll spend $5,041.80 on this transaction.

That leaves $378.76, which we will add to cash.

Our total cash plus retained earnings is now $3,512.75. We will move the money to Saven Financial, which is offering a rate of 3.75 per cent on its high-interest savings account.

Here’s a look at the revised portfolio. I will review it again in August.

IWB Growth Portfolio (revised Feb. 23)

Weight %Total sharesAvg. priceBook valueCurrent priceMarket valueRetained distributions
ITA-A850$107.42 $5,371.00 $116.05 $5,802.50 $53.00
ATD-T12.5140$8.32 $1,164.10 $64.33 $9,006.20 $296.19
WSP-T21.790$27.00 $2,430.29 $174.91 $15,741.90 $399.11
TFII-T6.930$168.06 $5,041.80 $168.06 $5,041.80 0
NVDA-Q1340$236.64 $9,465.60 $236.64 $9,465.60 0
AAPL-Q10.350$30.43 $1,521.50 $149.40 $7,470.00 $446.44
COST-Q13.620$344.27 $6,885.40 $493.14 $9,862.80 $363.20
UPS-N12.450$118.45 $5,922.50 $179.94 $8,997.00 $788.00
Cash1.6$727.81 $1,166.81
Total100$35,428.69 $72,554.61 $2,345.94

Gordon Pape is Editor and Publisher of the Internet Wealth Builder and Income Investor newsletters. For more information and details on how to subscribe, go to