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How my ISA portfolio fared in 2019 (and stocks I’ll be watching in 2020)

Like many in the market, 2019 has turned out to be another decent year for my own portfolio. Today, I’m going to share with you some of my successful positions as well as, inevitably, some of my losers.

What went well

Gas-mask maker Avon Rubber, power solutions provider XP Power and pawnbroker Ramsdens have all posted strong gains over the year to date. I’m also particularly happy that my contrarian position in spread-betting specialist IG Group is working out well. 

Elsewhere, relatively new additions, such as baker Greggs, have been on great form. Greggs bounced 26% since the start of November following a bout of profit-taking. Fantasy figure manufacturer Games Workshop has had another outstanding year, although sadly I’ve not been invested for that long.

Broadcaster ITV has done better in recent months, but I’m hoping its still-undemanding valuation could mean there are more gains to come. I feel the same way about cruise line operator Carnival (assuming it can put a stop to its ships crashing into each other). In the meantime, I’m happy to collect the secure-looking 4.3% dividend yield.

On the downside…

Of course, I’ve had my fair share of stinkers, most of which — somewhat unsurprisingly — have been more speculative buys. Advanced wafer products supplier IQE, for example, was jettisoned in March.

Elsewhere, oil play Hurricane Energy has had a rollercoaster year with mixed results from its drilling campaign. Small-cap laser-guided equipment maker Somero Enterprises suffered due to record-breaking levels of rain in the US impacting on trading. Although I invested after the first big share price fall in June, the second dip in September was a reminder of how dangerous it can be to catch a falling knife, regardless of how good the business is. 

Closer to home, battered retailer Superdry is just about in the black, but whether this remains the case will surely depend on pre-Christmas trading. 

On the watchlist

As usual, neither I nor any member of the Fool UK team can tell you where you should put your money to work in 2020 as investors differ greatly on their financial goals, attitude to risk, and how long they actually want to stay in the market. That said, I can tell you what I will be doing.

Despite some clarity emerging on Brexit and the US/China trade war, I remain committed to not ‘trading the news’ and putting the vast majority of my cash to work in quality businesses and re-investing any dividends I receive. As such, I mostly intend to continue adding to some of the ‘winners’ mentioned above. 

That’s not to say I won’t be making any new additions. My watchlist currently features drinks firms Britvic and Diageo along with market minnows Dewhurst (which makes electrical components for lifts) and Augean (which disposes of toxic waste). With commodity prices still under the cosh, I’ve also got one eye on copper and gold-focused SolGold. But, no, I won’t be buying Bitcoin.

As usual, any company stocks I do end up buying will all be held within a Stocks and Shares ISA, thereby allowing me to avoid paying tax on any capital gains I make or on any dividends I receive. In spite of my earlier comment about investing not being a ‘one-size-fits-all’ endeavour, this is one thing that nearly all investors should do

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Paul Summers owns shares of Avon Rubber, Greggs, Hurricane Energy, IG Group Holdings, ITV, Ramsdens Holdings, Games Workshop, Somero Enterprises, Inc., and XP Power. The Motley Fool UK owns shares of and has recommended Britvic. The Motley Fool UK has recommended Avon Rubber, Diageo, ITV, Somero Enterprises, Inc., and XP Power. Views expressed on the companies mentioned in this article are those of the writer and therefore may differ from the official recommendations we make in our subscription services such as Share Advisor, Hidden Winners and Pro. Here at The Motley Fool we believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors.