Rising Star Review: 6 Motley Months Gone By

This article is part of our Rising Star Portfolios Series.

Six months have passed since I opened my Rising Star portfolio. While it's been a challenge finding companies that fit my "motley" style of investing, it's also been a lot of fun. So far I've collected a nice diverse portfolio of businesses, each with their own story to tell. Even better, I still feel great about each one. Here's a quick review of each of my 10 holdings to date:

Activision Blizzard (Nasdaq: ATVI  ) : Activision keeps doing what it does best: putting out great content. The record-breaking Call of Duty: Black Ops is not only the No. 1 selling video game of all time, but players are spending more minutes per day playing it than users of Facebook spend Facebooking! The market will eventually wake up to the phenomenal amount of cash this company creates -- and we'll have a front-row seat when it does.

Ameris Bancorp (Nasdaq: ABCB  ) : This little bank in Moultrie, Ga., has integrated its FDIC-assisted acquisitions nicely and continues to remain "well capitalized" under all regulatory capital measurements. Ameris should benefit nicely as the economy continues to improve.

Houston Wire and Cable (Nasdaq: HWCC  ) : Record-setting quarterly sales and higher industrial demand are resulting in a solid performance from this small cap. Management remains cautiously optimistic, and so do I.

GulfMark Offshore (NYSE: GLF  ) : The White House recently announced the blanket extension to all Gulf of Mexico drilling permits in a bid to restart "safe and responsible" domestic oil production. GulfMark isn't solely dependent on activity in the Gulf, but it certainly doesn't hurt; more exploration means more business for GulfMark.

Starbucks (Nasdaq: SBUX  ) : Peter Lynch says something to the effect of "buy what you know," and Starbucks is a part of my life on pretty much a daily basis. The brand is iconic, and I've no doubt that CEO Howard Schultz (or ceo, as Schultz would put it) loves this company. Between the consumer packaged-goods segment and international expansion, Starbucks still has plenty of room to grow.

White Mountains Insurance Group (NYSE: WTM  ) : Successful segments including OneBeacon Insurance (NYSE: OB  ) and Esurance provide a steady stream of cash for management to invest and grow the business. The company has done just that, growing tangible book value at an annualized rate of 17.5% over the past 15 years. We bought in at a nice discount to book value, and I see this as a very long-term holding.

Higher One (NYSE: ONE  ) : This was an exercise in patience for me waiting for the right price. But the future looks very bright as this founder-led fi nancial services provider continues to grow revenue at a nice pace. More schools are signing up for Higher One's services, and as long as they continue to provide a valuable service to students, I see no reason for the growth to slow. This "one" is just getting started.

Heartland Express (Nasdaq: HTLD  ) : Led by its founders and built to last, Heartland's focus on short-to-medium hauls makes the company a leader in an otherwise fragmented market. Earnings and margins were up in the latest quarter, and as demand continues to bounce back, Heartland will continue to do well.

Clorox (NYSE: CLX  ) : With so many products holding such a strong position in the market, Clorox serves as a dividend-paying ballast. Rising commodity costs have had a slight impact on the bottom line, but I expected this to happen at some point. Over time this investment should clean up.

Elbit Systems (NYSE: ESLT  ) : Not only does Elbit give me exposure to the defense sector, it does so on a global scale with a company that still has a lot of room to grow. Elbit has a market cap of a bit more than $2 billion and has grown revenue at a 16% annualized rate over the past decade. This Israeli defense firm ought to be a fun one to follow.

As it stands, the market has had a pretty good run these past six months, and I'm still lagging. But this won't be measured in such a short time frame. We Fools take the long-term view, and I feel confident that as long as I continue seeking out excellent companies and buying them at fair prices, over time I'll do better than just fine. Follow me on Twitter to keep up with what's going on.

This article is part of our Rising Star Portfolio series, where we give some of our most promising stock analysts cold, hard cash to manage on the Fool's behalf. We'd like you to track our performance and benefit from these real-money, real-time free stock picks. Click here to see all of our Rising Star analysts (and their portfolios).

Stock Advisor analyst Jason Moser owns shares of Activision Blizzard and Ameris Bancorp. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended Activision Blizzard, Clorox, and Starbucks and have recommended a synthetic long position in Activision Blizzard. The Motley Fool owns shares of Houston Wire, White Mountains Insurance Group, Activision Blizzard, Clorox, Gulfmark Offshore, Higher One, Ameris Bancorp, Heartland Express, Elbit Systems and Starbucks. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.


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Help us keep this a respectfully Foolish area! This is a place for our readers to discuss, debate, and learn more about the Foolish investing topic you read about above. Help us keep it clean and safe. If you believe a comment is abusive or otherwise violates our Fool's Rules, please report it via the Report this Comment Report this Comment icon found on every comment.

  • Report this Comment On May 17, 2011, at 11:38 AM, garifolle wrote:

    You write:

    "Ameris should benefit nicely as the economy continues to improve".

    Do you really have the feeling that the economy improves?

    Most of all, that it will "continue"?

    The markets, until recently, have been doing better, which by no means meant the the economy was improving.

  • Report this Comment On May 17, 2011, at 4:08 PM, bottomfisherman wrote:

    Take Two Interactive today jumped big time, they are a better managed company with better products and stock then that flounder ATVI. On news of their higher then expected earnings the market just shrugged at ATVI with COD and the aging WOW they are a two trick pony and the market knows it.

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