A Midsummer Slump for S&P PowerPicks

The portfolio of S&P analysts' top selections lagged the S&P 500 in July, paced by declines in Intrado and America West

By Ken Shea and Robert Gold

The -- representing S&P analysts' top picks for the year -- lagged its benchmark, the S&P 500 index, by a wide margin in July. For the month, the portfolio posted a loss of 7.8%, vs. a decline of 3.3% for the "500", both including dividends.

The portfolio's best performers in July included Indymac Bancorp (NDY ), up 5.1%, Exxon Mobil (XOM ), up 4.3%, ENSCO (ESV ), up 3.5%, Constellation Brands (STZ ), up 2.0%, and and Evergreen Resources (EVG ), up 1.3%.

Unfortunately, gains in those issues were not enough to offset weakness in Intrado (TRDO ), down 34.7% on the month, America West (AWA , down 33.0%, Mylan Labs (MYL ), down 26.8%, Corinthian Colleges (COCO ), down 24.3%, and Flextronics (FLEX ), down 21.2%.

Year to date through July 31, the portfolio has beaten the "500" in 4 of 7 months, but has trailed its benchmark slightly, down 1.0% on a total return basis, while the "500" was virtually unchanged.

About the S&P PowerPicks 2004 Portfolio

The portfolio represents the collective "best ideas" of the Standard & Poor's equity research staff.

Each of the most senior 40 industry analysts on S&P's equity research staff has chosen one of the stocks they follow as the best-positioned for superior growth. The S&P PowerPicks 2004 Portfolio is diversified across all the 10 S&P economic sectors comprising the S&P 500 index.

The portfolio is a "frozen" one, meaning it will undergo no changes throughout the entire year. The objective of the portfolio is to exceed the total return (capital appreciation plus dividends paid) generated by the S&P 500 index during the next 12 months.

Sector/Company Ticker Market Cap $bil. S&P Earns. & Div. Rank S&P Index
CONSUMER DISCRETIONARY
Comcast Class A CMCSA 71,052 C 500
Fortune Brands FO 10,091 B- 500
Gannett GCI 23,755 A 500
La Quinta LQI 901 C None
Omnicom OMC 15,857 A+ 500
Quicksilver ZQK 944 B+ 600
Viacom Class B VIA.B 67,380 B- 500
CONSUMER STAPLES
Constellation Brands STZ 3,471 B+ 400
PepsiCo PEP 83,262 A 500
Sysco SYY 23,284 A+ 500
ENERGY
ENSCO Intl. ESV 3,957 B 400
Evergreen Resources EVG 1,316 B- 600
Exxon Mobil XOM 243,108 A- 500
FINANCIALS
Bear Stearns BSC 7,142 A 500
Citigroup C 240,291 A+ 500
Commerce Bancorp CBH 3,915 A 400
Hartford Financial Services HIG 16,139 B 500
IndyMac Bancorp NDE 1,666 B+ 400
MBNA KRB 31,980 A+ 500
HEALTH CARE
Caremark Rx CMX 7,183 B- None
Hologic HOLX 317 B- 600
Millennium Pharmaceuticals MLNM 4,727 NR 400
Mylan Labs MYL 6,648 A- 400
Triad Hospitals TRI 2,532 NR 400
INDUSTRIALS
America West Holdings AWA 424 NR None
Corinthian Colleges COCO 2,517 NR 400
Kaydon KDN 730 A- 600
Landstar LSTR 1,083 B 600
Manitowoc MTW 741 B 600
INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY
Analog Devices ADI 17,322 B 500
Automatic Data Processing ADP 23,099 A+ 500
Cadence Design Systems CDN 4,600 B- 400
Flextronics FLEX 7,715 NR None
IBM Corp. IBM 155,900 B 500
Intrado TRDO 1,083 NR None
Open Text OTEX 788 NR None
MATERIALS
Smurfit-Stone Container SSCC 4,486 B- None
Sealed Air SEE 4,517 NR 500
TELECOM SERVICES
Nextel Partners NXTP 2,951 NR None
UTILITIES
Reliant Resources RRI 1,815 NR None

For more on the S&P PowerPicks 2004 portfolio, please visit http://www.businessweek.com/investor/content/dec2003/pi20031226_5517_pi071.htm

Shea is director of global equity research, and Gold a senior portfolio group analyst, for Standard & Poor's Equity Research

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