Gadgets & Gossip with Pollyanna and Ortis

Channel 5’s flagship Gadget Show has downloaded its techy tentacles into a nation of gadget loving guys and gals.  But would presenters Pollyanna and Ortis be crying into their iPads after tackling the markets?  Mark Southern tested the testers.

As first published in The Exchange Magazine, 2011

Ever since Channel 5 first burst onto British screens back in the nineties, the new kid on the televisual block was crying out for a seminal programme to lodge itself firmly in the minds of fickle UK audiences.  Many came, and some partially succeeded, but still the adjective of ‘iconic’ sat firmly in its box awaiting a suitable moment to be used.

That is, until one fine day in 2004 when a seemingly rag-tag bunch of gadget-loving TV presenters appeared in front of bright sets reviewing the very best consumer technology available to buy.

The Gadget Show was born and, in the (never knowingly undersold) words of tech- behemoth Apple, this changed everything. Suddenly a bit of social nerdiness wasn’t just acceptable – geek-chic was the only way to be.

It’s with this indepth tech knowledge that we were particularly excited about Gadget Show presenters Ortis Deley and Pollyanna Woodward, as they road tested trading on CityIndex’s exceptional iPhone/iPad app*.  Could their desire to stay at the cutting edge of gadgetry be the missing ingredient that would propel them past runaway leader, Adam Boulton, at the top of the Celeb Trader leaderboard?

We meet the bright and buzzy duo at the start of their trading adventure, and talk is, as you would expect, gadgety.  Consumer tech is now everywhere we all agree, but what tech would they be investing in now if she were playing the trading long-game?  “Smartphones!” Pollyanna instantly replies. “Everyone wants one, lots of us already use one. They have become a dependable lifeline.”

Talking tech with experts like these two is addictive; the enthusiasm is almost tangible.  Pollyanna continues, “I for one feel completely lost without my smartphone, as I not only use it for the basic calls and texts, but it’s my diary, my email, my notes, my music player, my instant access to the internet, my maps and sat-nav all in one. These devices are only going to become more clever and intuitive to serve us even better, and every new iteration becomes even more desirable.”

Does she see any end to the smartphone boom? “No, not when the kids growing up today are getting use to having devices that multitask like a smartphone, and will only expect and demand more from their smartphones in the future, which i’m sure will be delivered.”  Talk about a sound investment pitch!

As anyone who has witnessed the weekly Gadget Show challenges will testify, these presenters take no prisoners, and it was no surprise to see Ortis take the bull by the horns, and occupy positions in the two industries that he has extensive first-hand knowledge of.

Originally sticking to the industry that set the tone for consumer tech from record players to iPods, the show’s resident music-tester went long on music retail group HMV.

However, with the position hardly moving and only a limited period of time to claw his way up the Celebrity Trader leaderboard, this position was quickly closed as Ortis decided to chase bigger prizes the market had to offer.

Sensing an opportunity to profit from the recent events at News Corp and the demise of The News of World, Ortis decided to buy BSkyB at 707p.  The BSkyB share price collapsed from a high of 850p to below 700p after Rupert Murdoch announced that News Corporation would no longer be looking to acquire the television network, but with analysts confident that the shares would rebound quickly this looked like a good opportunity to start rolling in more significant profits.

This instinct proved well-founded, with share prices rising immediately, and when Ortis closed the position he had manage to secure his first big returns of the month.

Rolling with the trading momentum, the new Gordon Gekko of tech trading then applied a similar market approach to banking heavyweight Barclays.  On realising that Barclays shares had touched their lowest value for nearly two years, Ortis went long, hoping for a reaction from investors that would bring the price back up.  He bought at 212p just after the share price had begun to recover, and closed the position after a steady upward trend, again leaving him with strong profits.

With the banks now recovering after a somewhat inauspicious opening to the month
confidence returned to the FTSE 100.  Sensing the link between the two, Ortis reinvested some of the profits made in the FTSE 100 at 5798, lower than the range the index had been fluctuating between for a number of months.

The index began trading upwards, rising steadily for four consecutive days.  Ortis kept the position open until the end of time as the Celebrity Trader, raking in his highest profit from any single trade in his time in the markets.

Meanwhile, fellow Gadget guru Pollyanna also got to grips with the markets, determined to get one over on her presenting pal.

Taking a different approach to Ortis’ jumping in and out of a variety of trades, Pollyanna elected to concentrate on just two trades.  Thinking that a wise speculation would be to invest in the oil and gas sector – in many ways the very fuels fuelling the tech markets – she went long on Conocophillips at 7595.  She also correctly predicted the Euro debt crisis and potentially imminent collapse of the Eurozone would have an adverse impact on the currency, selling the currency against the dollar.

However, as the dollar is far from strong itself at the moment due to the fragility of the US economy, this worked against her trade.  She sold the Euro at 1.4345, but was forced to eventually close out the trade for a loss.  Her trade in Conocophillips also closed for a small loss.

With a remarkable total profit of £1,236.28 from his initial starting account of £2,500, it was clearly Ortis who claimed the spoils this month.  And with a profit percentage of 49%, the presenter-turned-supertrader fell just one step short of clawing his way to the top of the charts, but does currently hold the title of our second most profitable Celebrity Trader to date.

There’s just time to find out Pollyanna’s views on why the current go-to tech giant Apple are so successful and worth anyone’s investment, “It’s the way they come up with the most in demand designs and goods time after time, and manage to market products like a designer label.  People seem to strive to own them, although I don’t necessarily think the success is down to an individual, I think it’s a lot of cogs in one big machine.”

And then they’re off again to get stuck into the latest batch of high tech wizardry we’ll all be wanting this summer.

The Gadget Show returns on Channel 5 for its sixteenth series this August, with Ortis and Pollyanna testing HD video in Morocco, Jon road-testing fold-up bicycles in the home of crazy drivers, Rome, and Jason reporting back from this year’s E3 gaming conference. Frankly, we’re exhausted just watching them.

* CityIndex’s iPhone and iPad app is available from the iTunes store.

 

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