Beginners’ Portfolio: Rio Tinto plc and Apple Inc. Are Surging

This article is the latest in a series that aims to help novice investors with the stock market. To enjoy past articles in the series, please visit our full archive.

The Beginners’ Portfolio is a virtual portfolio, which is run as if based on real money with all costs, spreads and dividends accounted for. Transactions made for the portfolio are for educational purposes only and do not constitute advice to buy or sell.

We’ve had a few morsels of news from our portfolio companies in July, but before we see what’s been happening let’s have an update on our overall performance:

Company Shares Buy Cost Bid Value Change %
Tesco 159 305.5p £498.23 274.8p £426.93 -£71.30 -14.3%
Glaxo 34 1,440.5p £502.22 1,551.5p £517.51 £15.29 +3.0%
Persimmon 49 617.9p £352.21 1,301.0p £627.49 £302.28 +92.9%
Blinkx 1,319 36.9p £499.68 34.0p £438.46 -£61.22 -12.3%
BP 112 434.5p £499.01 499.2p £549.10 £50.09 +10.0%
Rio Tinto 31 3,132.9p £996.05 3,343.5p £1026.49 £30.43 +3.1%
BAE 146 332.3p £497.59 423.9p £608.89 £111.30 +22.4%
Apple 2 $65.50 £605.98 $94.70 £757.82 £151.84 +25.1%
Aviva 146 321.4p £470.71 494.6p £712.12 £241.41 +51.3%
Barclays 210 254.2p £546.56 209.0p £428.90 -£117.66 -21.5%
Quindell 249 196.5p £501.73 203.5p £496.72 -£5.02 -1.0%
Cash         £1.19    
Initial total     £5,073.66        
Current total         £6,591.62 £1,517.96 29.9%

Since our last update, our overall valuation has slipped a couple of percent. We’re going through a bit of a tough patch at the moment.

New boss

The big recent news is the departure of Tesco (LSE: TSCO) chief executive Philip Clarke, to be replaced by Unilever’s Dave Lewis. I’m not one of those who blamed Mr Clarke for Tesco’s woes, and I found it sad that the news was enough to send the shares up despite a profit warning on the same day. Still, he did say he felt relieved by the decision, so we need to sit back and see what Mr Lewis can do now.

Homes and dirt

housebuildingFirst half news from Persimmon (LSE: PSN) on 2 July told us that trading has been strong and that revenues are up 33% to £1.2bn, after 28% more homes were completed over the previous year at an average selling price that’s up 4%. The full results are due on 19 August.

First half production at Rio Tinto (LSE: RIO) has set new quarterly records again, with iron ore production up 11% on the same quarter last year and up 10% on the half. Fears of any excess iron piling up were assuaged too, with shipments rising ahead of production — Rio shipped 23% more ore during the quarter, and 20% more in the half. Copper production was also nicely up, by 28% on the quarter and 23% over the half. The figures were enough to push our holding to a slight profit.

appleApple still strong

A third-quarter update from Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL.US) showed the phones-to-computers giant carrying on in the way we have come to expect, with profits for the period up 12% to $7.75bn. Sales of iPhones soared to 35.2 million for a 13% rise, with strong growth recorded in emerging markets — in China, Apple shifted 48% more of the desirable gadgets.

The only disappointing news is that iPad sales are down, by 9%, to 13.3 million.

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Alan Oscroft has no position in any shares mentioned. The Motley Fool owns shares of Apple and Tesco, and has recommended shares in GlaxoSmithKline.