By Ken Shea and Robert Gold
The -- representing S&P analysts' top picks for the year -- outperformed its benchmark, the S&P 500 index, in September. For the month, the portfolio generated a total return of 3.8%, vs. a gain of 1.1% for the "500", both including dividends.
Top performers on the month included Corinthian Colleges (COCO ), up 18.6%, Quiksilver (ZQK ), up 16.9%, Nextel Partners (NXTP ), up 15%, Millennium Pharmaceutical (MLNM ), also up 15%, and ENSCO International (ESV ), up 12.0%. Corinthian and Nextel Partners rebounded from significant losses in the prior month.
Brining up the rear in September were Open Text (OTEX ), down 20%, America West Holdings (AWA ), down 18.2%, Sysco (SYY ), down 6.5%, Reliant Energy (RRI ), down 6.3%, and Sealed Air (SEE ), down 5.6%. Open Text suffered its second straight month of double-digit declines.
Year to date through Sept. 30, the portfolio has beaten the "500" in 5 of 9 months, but has lagged its benchmark with a total return of 0.5%, while the "500" gained 1.5%. Of the 40 portfolio stocks, 23 had beaten the "500" while 17 had underperformed the index.
Note: PowerPicks member Evergreen Resources was acquired by Pioneer Natural Resources (PXD ) on Sept. 28. Evergreen was removed from the portfolio following the deal's closing. As a result, there will be only 39 stocks in the Portfolio through the end of the year.
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.
*Removed from the portfolio following its acquisition by Pioneer Natural Resources on September 28.
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 Services