Investor Views: "Oil Stocks Have Boosted my Portfolio"

Private investor Helenka Jankurova says she prefers to research individual stocks, rather than rely on a fund manager

Emma Simon 24 August, 2016 | 12:12PM
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Helenka Jankurova has been investing for over 15 years, and prefers to hold individual stocks rather than invest in funds.

“I prefer to do the research and select the stock holdings myself. I think it is more interesting too. I don’t want to pay a fund manager to do that for me,” she explained. “That doesn’t seem so cost effective. I like the control this gives me.”

She describes herself as a “chartist” and will look at key performance indicators such as dividend payment, dividend cover and price earnings ratio before deciding whether to buy or sell a share.

Private investor Helenka Jankurova prefers to research individual stocks“Over time you learn the knack of interpreting this data. There’s a lot of trial and error at first, but now I can get a sense of whether it looks like a good time to buy or sell,” she said. “I joke that it’s a bit like understanding knitting patterns. I like taking an interest in my investments, but hopefully this will be a hobby that pays off over the longer term.”

Jankurova investors within an ISA wrapper, which she has with She says they offer a cost effective service and likes the fact that she can place limit and stop orders, so she can buy or sell shares automatically if they reach a certain key price.

Jankurova is investing for longer term retirement plans as well as shorter-term goals, such as next year’s holidays: “In today’s economy there isn’t really the same job security. I want to ensure I have sufficient savings to look after myself.”

Oil Company Gains

Some of her recent holdings that have performed well include Royal Dutch Shell (RDSB) and Telecom Plus (TEP). Jankurova has recently sold stakes in both of these and banked the gains.

Royal Dutch Shell has a two-star rating from Morningstar, meaning it is trading at more than its fair value estimate. Equity analysts point out that Shell had a “relatively weak first quarter” thanks to low oil prices and a deteriorating market environment.

However, Stephen Simko, senior equity analyst at Morningstar says the company has only recently started a major strategic overhaul. He explains: “Shell appears to be progressing relatively well with its operating-cost reduction goals, investment and divestment targets, and project startups all on pace for completion. However, Shell is still early on in the process, and while the plan to improve returns seems sound, execution is key.”

Telecom Plus has fallen in value over one and three years but has made an impressive 12.95% gain over the last three months.

Shell is not the only oil company Jankurova holds. She has also invested in Genel Energy (GENL). The share price of this oil and gas exploration company has been disappointing over both three and five years, but Jankurova says that by buying and selling at key times she has seen a positive return on her money.

Property Shares: Trading for a Profit

Jankurova also has a holding in Telford Homes (TEF). She says: “When the economy looks a little uncertain I favour more defensive stocks. People will still need houses. This has been a good stock for me and I recently sold half of my holding, just before share prices dipped again.”

According to Morningstar data, Telford Homes’ share price is up almost 40% on a five-year basis but has fallen by 30% over the past year.

Jankurova says her approach leads to relatively frequent trading. She tends to hold stocks for between one and three years, but may trade far more frequently, depending on market movements. If prices rise she often says she looks to sell half her holding and reinvest the gains. Conversely if prices dip she may then top up previous holdings.

For more than 15 years she has often been invested in oil companies such as Royal Dutch Shell, but the number of shares and the portfolio position has varied other that time.

A Concentrated Portfolio

Jankurova has worked in a number of industries, including telecoms, energy and now the property market. This has helped inform her investment choices.

She like to hold between five and fifteen stocks in her portfolio and although she tends to focus on UK-based stocks she has also bought shares in the European and other global markets. She also invests in currency, gold, and uses ETFs to track commodities such as oil.

It’s not all been plain sailing though. She admits that were of her less successful buys recently has bee, Gulf Keystone (GKP), another oil company.

“It’s been one of my worse buys. At the moment though I’ve nothing to lose so I’m just holding onto it hoping for a recovery. I should have initially set up a stop loss order when I bought it, but I didn’t. So now I’m just going to hold on and hope for the best.”

Over the past year this stock has fallen by 81%, although in the last three months it’s staged a modest recovery rising by 25%. Jankurova says she hopes this upward trend will continue.

What funds are in your ISA or SIPP? What have been your most successful investments to date? If you'd like to feature in Investment Views and tell us about your investment strategy please contact the Editorial team on


The information contained within is for educational and informational purposes ONLY. It is not intended nor should it be considered an invitation or inducement to buy or sell a security or securities noted within nor should it be viewed as a communication intended to persuade or incite you to buy or sell security or securities noted within. Any commentary provided is the opinion of the author and should not be considered a personalised recommendation. The information contained within should not be a person's sole basis for making an investment decision. Please contact your financial professional before making an investment decision.

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Securities Mentioned in Article

Security NamePriceChange (%)Morningstar
Genel Energy PLC91.00 GBX9.11
Telecom Plus PLC1,678.00 GBX3.84

About Author

Emma Simon

Emma Simon  is a financial journalist, specialising in investment and consumer issues, writing for

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