Our Top Picks and Stock Pickers

This article is part of our Rising Stars Portfolios series.

Mark Twain once said, "Do the right thing. It will gratify some people and astonish the rest."

Twain's quip is a pretty accurate summary of Rising Star Alyce Lomax's investing strategy and performance over the past 10 months. She has done the right thing by investing in socially responsible companies like Whole Foods (Nasdaq: WFM  ) and Google (Nasdaq: GOOG  ) . And her market-crushing outperformance has been both gratifying and astonishing.

Below, you'll find our top five performing analysts since we started on Nov. 1, 2010.

Rising Star

Total Portfolio Return

Difference From S&P 500 Return (percentage points)

Alyce Lomax

12.68%

+15.43

Sean Sun

6.59%

+9.34

Bryan White

3.28%

+6.03

Jason Moser

0.98%

+3.73

Rex Moore

(1.28%)

+1.47

Source: Internal performance tracking as of Aug. 18.

Alyce's remarkable performance has been fueled by big winners such as Timberland (NYSE: TBL  ) and SunPower (Nasdaq: SPWRA  ) , which are up 104% and 49%, respectively. Her strategy of identifying solid companies with long-term, shareholder-friendly business strategies seems to be holding up quite nicely in the face of recent market volatility.

Rising Star analyst Sean Sun, along with his investing partner Ilan Moscovitz, has pursued a slightly different approach in delivering outperformance. Back in December 2010, Ilan presciently predicted rough waters ahead for Bank of America (NYSE: BAC  ) and Lender Processing Services (NYSE: LPS  ) , and he recommended short positions in both companies. These trades have paid off handsomely, with the Bank of America short returning 45% and the Lending Processing Services one returning 42%.

Below, you can see our top-performing stock picks so far.

Company

Return

Original Recommendation

Timberland

103.71%

Article

SunPower

49.12%

Article

Bank of America [short]

44.58%

Article

Bridgepoint Education (NYSE: BPI  )

42.76%

Article

Lender Processing Services [short]

41.50%

Article

Returns data as of Aug. 23. SunPower and Bank of America (short) are no longer active recommendations. For all active picks, visit Rising Stars.

It shouldn't be surprising, of course, that we've had some outstanding long and short recommendations in the current market environment. From Nov. 1 until late July, the stock market was up considerably. Alas, as investors know all too well, the stock market has gone a bit wobbly on us in recent weeks (as Margaret Thatcher might say). Since July 25, the S&P 500 is down more than 15%.

Overall, our Rising Stars, despite the treacherous market conditions, have been able to outperform their benchmark as a group. As of Aug. 18, they are managing $210,336 -- and of that number, they've already invested $109,653 in stocks. On a total portfolio basis, we're outperforming the S&P 500 by just 1.46 percentage points. When we look solely at the performance of the stocks they are invested in, they're outperforming the S&P 500 by 8 percentage points during the time period. Six of the 14 active portfolios are currently outperforming the market.

The promise of America
After a bit of a break, I'm returning to school this fall to finish my MBA degree. Last night, in my very first class back, we were discussing some of the grave economic problems facing this country. Surprisingly, this classroom full of soldiers, entrepreneurs, fund managers, and immigrants, from such places as Ethiopia, India, and Saudi Arabia, began talking about innovation in technology and advances in science and engineering. The conversation became more and more animated as the class focused more on future breakthroughs and possibilities and ignored the assigned topic of economic stagnation.

Last night's class really brought home to me that America's future remains bright, despite recent market turmoil and our considerable long-term economic challenges. Now is a great time to be an investor, and you can receive outstanding (and free) stock recommendations from our Rising Stars. You can follow me on Twitter @TMFBane to get all the latest picks. You can also join us on our discussion boards to talk about your favorite stock ideas. We hope you'll join us!

This article is part of our Rising Star Portfolios 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. See all of our Rising Star analysts (and their portfolios).

John Reeves owns shares of Google. The Motley Fool owns shares of Bank of America, Bridgepoint Education, Timberland, Google, and Whole Foods. The Fool has opened a short position on Lender Processing Services. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of Google, Whole Foods, and Timberland, as well as writing puts on Bridgepoint Education. 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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