One Person's Trash Is Another Person's Treasure Portfolio

In November 2012, I announced my intention to create a portfolio of 10 companies that investors had effectively thrown away and given up on, in the hope of showing that deep-value investing and contrarian thinking can actually be a very successful investing method. I dubbed this the "One Person's Trash Is Another Person's Treasure" portfolio, and, over a 10-week span, I highlighted companies that I felt fit this bill and would expect to drastically outperform the benchmark S&P 500 over the coming 12 months. If you're interested in the reasoning behind why I chose these companies, then I encourage you to review my synopsis on each portfolio selection:

Now, let's get to the portfolio and see how it fared this week:

Company

Cost Basis

Shares

Total Value

Return

Exelon 

$31.25

31.68

$1,067.30

7.8%

QLogic 

$11.46

86.39

$1,047.05

5.8%

Dendreon

$5.97

165.82

$870.56

(12%)

Dell

$13.37

74.05

$1,061.14

7.2%

Staples 

$13.48

73.44

$992.17

0.2%

Arkansas Best 

$10.83

91.41

$1,142.63

15.4%

Arch Coal

$7.03

140.83

$774.57

(21.8%)

Skullcandy

$6.71

147.54

$821.80

(17%)

France Telecom

$11.64

85.05

$938.10

(5.2%)

Xerox 

$8.16

121.32

$1,062.76

7.4%

Cash

   

$0.06

 

Dividends receivable

   

$20.85

 

Total commission

   

($100.00)

 

Original investment

   

$10,000.00

 

Total portfolio value

   

$9,798.99

(2%)

S&P 500 performance

     

3.8%

Performance relative to S&P 500

     

(5.8%)

Source: Yahoo! Finance.

This week's winner
France Telecom
(NYSE: ORAN  ) was off to the races this week, gaining better than 7%, just two weeks after Zacks issued a report that upgraded its rating on the service provider from "underperform" to "neutral" with an $11 price target. As usual, I wouldn't pay too much attention to the day-to-day analyst rumblings. Instead, I'd pay closer attention to management's comments made Tuesday that the company's Orange business unit is on pace to generate roughly 500 million euro in revenue from cloud computing by 2015, or the report from The Wall Street Journal that Yahoo! is in talks to purchase up to 75% of France Telecom's Dailymotion. 

This week's loser
Bringing up the caboose in this generally positive week was biotechnology company Dendreon (NASDAQ: DNDN  ) , which dove more than 7%. It appears the impetus for the fall was a settlement reached just days ago regarding a class action lawsuit brought against the company for making false or misleading statements to investors regarding Provenge between April 29, 2010, and Aug. 3, 2011. The settlement totaled $40 million, but Dendreon's insurers are footing the bill for all but $2 million of that amount. Investors never like to see settlements work against a company, but with this dark cloud now out of the way, perhaps Dendreon can focus its efforts on reducing costs and getting Provenge approved in Europe.

Also in the news…
Audio accessories maker Skullcandy (NASDAQ: SKUL  ) bounced back a bit this week after announcing the hiring of Hoby Darling as its new CEO. Darling has been the general manager of Nike's Nike+ digital sports unit and should give the company a fresh overhaul with global appeal. I'm personally a bit stunned that interim CEO Rick Alden didn't stick around longer in an attempt to turn around the company he founded, but I like the replacement that was chosen. Apparently investors did as well, with Skullcandy up nearly 6% on the week.

You may not have noticed, but that dividends receivable column also got a bit fatter this week with Arch Coal (NYSE: ACI  ) paying out a $0.03 dividend per share last Friday. Arch's 7% move higher on the week could be attributed to a report released by research firm Research Driven Investing, which noted that China's coal imports are up 34% through the first two months of 2013. As I've been saying, Arch is relying on export contracts in the West and Gulf Coasts to drive growth, which would play perfectly into China's growing needs.

Finally -- and don’t act like you didn't know this was coming -- Dell (UNKNOWN: DELL.DL  ) remains front-and-center in the news with Friday acting as an expiration period for competing bids to come to the table. Dell's top investors have verbally opposed the current deal, with activist investor Carl Icahn proposing Dell either seek out a better offer or go into debt to pay out a $9 special dividend to shareholders. I still continue to shy away from the idea of Dell taking on additional debt, but I definitely feel the company will need to seek out a better bid or sweeten the existing deal with a $1 or $2 special dividend if shareholders are going to approve it.

We can do better
Hold on to something and don't fall over, because this contrarian and value portfolio finally trumped the S&P 500 for a week! Sure, the gains are still tempered with the overall portfolio underwater by 2%, but it's an improvement. Over the long run, these cash flow cows should vindicate to the world that contrarian and deep-discount value investing do have a place in investors' portfolios.

Check back next week for the latest update on the portfolio and its 10 components.

Resurgence, or dead-cat bounce?
Shares of Dendreon have surged in recent months, with the stock gaining new life from the depths of late 2012. Has the company really solved its underlying problems, or are investors setting themselves up for more disappointment? Our new premium research report on Dendreon answers these questions, and many more, while also outlining just how Dendreon intends to regain its former glory. Claim your copy by clicking here now.


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Comments from our Foolish Readers

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 March 22, 2013, at 7:24 PM, wayouy wrote:

    There comes a point of no return, I have reached that with DNDN. Good luck to those who are holding from hence 22MAR2013 AT 4.89

    AS FOR THE SHORTS U WON

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