A Solid October for PowerPicks

The portfolio of S&P analysts' top selections gained 1.5% on the month, led by Intrado and Landstar

By Ken Shea and Robert Gold

The -- representing S&P analysts' top picks for the year -- ended October in a dead heat with its benchmark, the S&P 500-stock index. For the month, both the portfolio and the S&P 500 generated a total return of 1.5%, both including dividends.

The portfolio's top performers on the month were led by Intrado (TRDO ), up 33.9%; Landstar Systems (LSTR ), up 15.8%; and Reliant Energy (RRI ), up 10.2%, bounding back smartly from a 6.3% drop in the previous month. Also posting strong performances: Viacom (VIA.B ), up 8.7%, and Omnicom (OMC ), up 8%.

October's PowerPicks laggards included included America West (AWA ), down 15.2% (its second straight month of double-digit declines); Indymac Bancorp (NDE ); down 10.9%, Smurfit-Stone Container (SSCC ), down 10.4%; Flextronics (FLEX ), down 9.1%; and Caremark Rx (CMX ), down 6.6%.

Year-to-date through Oct. 29, the portfolio has beaten the S&P 500 in 5 out of 10 months but has lagged behind its benchmark with a total return of 2%, while the 500 gained 3.1%. Of the 40 portfolio stocks, 20 had beaten the index, while 20 had underperformed it.

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, the Portfolio will hold only 39 stocks through yearend.

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 that make up the S&P 500 index.

The portfolio is a "frozen" one, meaning it will undergo no changes throughout the entire year. Its objective 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
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
Constellation Brands STZ 3,471 B+ 400
PepsiCo PEP 83,262 A 500
Sysco SYY 23,284 A+ 500
ENSCO Intl. ESV 3,957 B 400
*Evergreen Resources EVG 1,316 B- 600
Exxon Mobil XOM 243,108 A- 500
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
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
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
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
Smurfit-Stone Container SSCC 4,486 B- None
Sealed Air SEE 4,517 NR 500
Nextel Partners NXTP 2,951 NR None
Reliant Energy RRI 1,815 NR None

*Removed from the portfolio following its acquisition by Pioneer Natural Resources on Sept. 28.

For more on the S&P PowerPicks 2004 portfolio, see "S&P Selects the Best of the Best".

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

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