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I recently told my colleague, friend, and resident troublemaker Eric Bleeker about my purchase of a solid blue chip and its comfortable margin of safety. "Wow," he mocked. "Enjoy your 4% annual returns." I decided that I needed to adjust my investing attitude, and by the end of this article, I'll reveal three purchases I'll be making to give myself a taste of the excitement that Bleeker enjoyed on the very day of the latest dull addition to my portfolio.
Our chat happened to coincide with yet another pop for Cirrus Logic (Nasdaq: CRUS ) , the first pick in Bleeker's league-leading Rising Stars portfolio. The semiconductor company was a somewhat risky pick with its heavy reliance on Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL ) . But that concern seems allayed as Cirrus celebrated another outstanding earnings report, which piled onto Bleeker's oversized return -- more than 60% since he made his purchase in early November. Incidentally, Bleeker's most recent Rising Stars pick was Apple, a company that has transformed from incredible growth story into a $250 billion monster, which would be lovely for any of my upcoming purchases.
Granted, Bleeker's a decade or two younger than me, he has roughly three fewer children than I have, and his thoughts about saving for college tuitions and retirement are purely abstract and theoretical. But I've decided there's room enough in my portfolio for companies like Cirrus that have the potential for simply ridiculous returns.
And that's why I've begun carving space for potential highfliers. Because until recently, my portfolio has been the investing equivalent of '80s musician Huey Lewis -- generally unobjectionable with a few modest hits but for whom nobody's going to camp out for concert tickets to see. It's performed solidly, but there had been little to get excited about.
If this is it
Fool analyst Paul Chi recently mentioned his enthusiasm for Double Eagle Petroleum (Nasdaq: DBLE ) , an independent energy company that finds and sells natural gas and crude oil. The business, Paul said, is wildly undervalued at $5: "I can't think of many companies that are still primed for significant appreciation after pessimistically discounting its reserve base as I have. Double Eagle is trading like a distressed, almost-bankrupt natural gas company with little exploration potential. That couldn't be further from the truth."
I added the company to my watchlist at $5 per share, pulled the trigger a couple of weeks ago on a small purchase at $6 (I was waiting for a pullback in price, which is another lesson for another time), and the last I checked, it's closing in on $8. Who knew investing could be fun!
Back in time
I've invested in some crappy companies before -- I'm looking at you, Ballard Power -- so I know that not every investing story has a happy ending. But there are two secrets to investing in growth stocks: a stomach for volatility and lots of patience. Let's go back a decade or so and invest our $100,000 inheritance from our Aunt Sue equally into four companies, including Starbucks. Even if the other three companies went under in the first year of operation, that initial $100,000 investment would now be worth more than $1 million, even with a meager .250 batting average.
Granted, Starbucks is a nice example to cherry-pick, but it's hardly unique. The key is to identify companies with capable management, sound balance sheets, and great ideas that have the potential to fundamentally move markets. It's finding Intuitive Surgical when it was just beginning on its path to changing how surgery is done, long before it was an ask-for-it-by-name brand, back in 2005 before it climbed more than 600% for Rule Breakers readers (and thanks David Gardner, I bought that one for my daughter back then).
Some kind of wonderful
So what am I going to buy for the high-flying, life-changing portion of my portfolio? First up, once trading guidelines allow, will be more Double Eagle. My instinct is to anchor on my initial purchase price and assume the moment's passed me by, but I think huge opportunity remains so I'm going against my nature. Yes, it's unfortunate that I'll have missed out on those first couple of dollars per share that I would have earned with a larger initial investment, and yes, there's now downside risk, but if the stock can climb to $20 or beyond -- not out of the realm of possibility, according to Paul's analysis -- it'll still be a big winner.
Second, Global Gains analyst Tim Hanson has been raving about China Green Agriculture (NYSE: CGA ) for a couple of years. Shares are up more than 250% since his November 2008 recommendation, even considering a drop of roughly 40% in the past year. As the team wrote this month, "Although we admittedly can't have total knowledge of the inner workings of Chinese small caps like China Green (or any company, for that matter), our meetings with management and tours of the company's facilities leave us confident that long-term investors will benefit from staying cucumber-cool and taking advantage of the stock's recent dip to start or top up positions in the stock." OK, I will.
The final piece to the new wing of my portfolio comes courtesy of Motley Fool Alpha and Big Short analyst Matt Argersinger. As we discussed in my November article on companies to watch, EnerNOC (Nasdaq: ENOC ) has a network of customer sites that it's hooked up with its monitoring technology, allowing it to monitor each customer's energy use. By allowing its customers to dial down their power usage when they don't need it, EnerNOC gets paid by utility companies and grid operators for freeing up the power, and it passes along a portion of that cash to its customers.
As I wrote then, "Its first-mover status could well give it a sustainable advantage in this new market.... If EnerNOC maintains its hold as the key player in this area, we're looking at a big-time multi-bagger for years to come."
Happy to be stuck with you
Again, I'm not forsaking my steady, dividend-heavy portfolio as I chase big dreams. But I feel that there's room in my portfolio for some fun, some passion, some level of excitement of the sort that Bleeker was gloating about last week. Oh, and one more addition to this list: whatever Bleeker tells me to buy next.
Not sold on the companies I've laid out, but ready for some excitement in your portfolio? The Fool has prepared a free report on two video-game leaders that are poised to skyrocket as their niche grows into a $91 billion market by 2015. The report, "Top 2 Plays for the Coming Tech Boom," is yours free. Just click here.