by David Forrest ([email protected])
Crabapple Cove, ME (April 30, 1999) -- Wow! What a wild ride in the markets these days, huh? Up 50 Nasdaq points in the morning, down 35 Nasdaq points at 2pm, and back up 14 points by the end of the day. With all of this volatility, how do you people stay sane? Don't you panic and freak out? Don't you start to question your investment philosophy and get nervous about whether you're in the right stocks or not? Are we rotating out of techs and into cyclicals? What is a cyclical, anyway?
Oh, wait a minute, this is the Foolish Workshop, isn't it? This is the place dedicated to emotionless investing, where you use backtested stock picking methods to put portfolios together and just ride the ebbs and flows, confident that your particular strategy will win out in the end regardless of the bumps. Now it's starting to make sense to me. No wonder nobody here breaks a sweat.
Yes, this is the Foolish Workshop, where we use the Value Line database and the Investor's Business Daily to test our mechanical stock screens. Looking for a screen that capitalizes on a rising market and volatility? Try the Beta screen on for size. Beta is up more than 25% this year. Looking for a pure momentum screen? Try the RS-IBD, up almost 54% since January 1. Maybe a little value investing is in your future. Take a peek at the Low Price-to-Sales Ration screen. All 10 of the mechanical screens that we follow here are found on our screen explanations page.
As of this writing, 7 of the 10 screens we follow are crunching the Standard & Poor's 500 Index returns this year. And because the S&P beats most mutual fund managers time and again, these screens are probably crushing the large majority of those high-paid Wall Street suits. Don't get us wrong. Some screens stink from time to time, and we're always refining. There's also no get-rich-quick scheme here. We're talking about long-term, emotionless investing that has consistently outperformed the markets.
One of my favorite variations on all of our screens is the "Most Appearances" portfolio that we keep track of here. It's not a real-money portfolio like our others but a mock portfolio for illustrative purposes. Each month, we take the rankings from our favorite screens and see which stock appears the most times throughout the 10 screens. We add the one that appears the most times. That's the dumbed-down version. I suggest you read the whole explanation before investigating any further.
02/19/99, Most Appearances
02/26/99, Most Appearances - Part Deux
Following the "Most Appearances" method would have put the following stocks in your portfolio over the past year:
The Gap (NYSE: GPS)
Lexmark International Group (NYSE: LXK)
Recoton Corp. (Nasdaq: RCOT)
Staples (Nasdaq: SPLS)
Symbol Technologies (NYSE: SBL)
Wal-Mart (NYSE: WMT)
Biogen (Nasdaq: BGEN)
Quicksilver (NYSE: ZQK)
Solectron (NYSE: SLR)
Dell Computer (Nasdaq: DELL)
EMC Corp. (NYSE: EMC)
Oracle Corp. (Nasdaq: ORCL)
Sun Microsystems (Nasdaq: SUNW)
Uniphase (Nasdaq: UNPH)
Lowe's Corp. (NYSE: LOW)
AEGON NV (NYSE: AEG)
Paychex (Nasdaq: PAYX)
Overall, the mock portfolio is up 37.6% since inception versus 16.47% for the S&P 500 index. If you look at the list above, you'll see a large number of solid companies in a very diverse group of industries. Next week we'll have the latest additions to the Most Appearances portfolio, so don't miss it!
Have a great weekend.
Check out the latest file updates for the Workshop: