Stock Portfolio Updates: Buying Back Into Strength
By: Christopher Mistal
March 22, 2016
We cannot express enough our sorrow and outrage at today’s atrocious attacks in Brussels, Belgium. As a testament to the resolve of peace and freedom loving people around the world, the market overcame early weakness to finish the day mixed. NASDAQ finished the day up 0.27% while S&P 500 and DJIA were modestly lower at the close, but still off the early session lows.
Looking back at some past crises and market shocks may lend some guidance. In the table below note how the past several events have all been terror related. But also notice the difference in market reaction. When the market was in decline or weak, the terror attack merely seemed to accelerate the process. But, beginning with the Bali bombing, after the 2002 bottom, the market has essentially shrugged off these horrific events that are becoming alarmingly all too frequent. 
[Impact of Terror & Crisis on the Market]
Portfolio Updates & New (Old) Buy Ideas
Over the past six weeks since last update, S&P 500 has rallied 10.7% and Russell 2000 jumped 13.3% as of yesterday’s close. As a result of the market’s January/February rout, the Almanac Investor Stock Portfolio was largely in cash which is the primary reason for its lagging performance over the same six weeks. The Large-Cap segment of the portfolio had the most exposure to equites and was our best performer, up 8.2%. The Mid-Cap portfolio, consisting of just Scotts Miracle-Gro (SMG), added 1.3% and Small-Caps edged 0.9% higher.
Per last month’s advice, Virnetx Holding (VHC) was sold and closed out of the Small-Cap portfolio using its closing price from February 9. As anticipated, the euphoria of victory, and its sizable settlement in favor of VHC, proved brief and shares have since retreated back into the $4 range. VHC was closed out for a total gain of 207.7%.
Another Small-Cap portfolio bright spot is Global Brass and Copper Holdings (BRSS). Half of the original position in BRSS was sold on March 9 at $24.66, double the original price. This sale was in accordance with standard trading policy detailed at the bottom of the portfolio table below. Remaining shares of BRSS are on Hold
After a thorough review of stopped out positions and our expectations from the remainder of 2016 and beyond, we have selected seven previously stopped out stocks for a second go-around in the stock portfolio. There are three small-cap (NEWT, LDL & SXI), two mid-cap (UHAL & SUN) and two large-cap (DHI & HBI) stocks that could be considered on dips at this time. New buy limits and stop losses for each can be found in the portfolio table below. Also note stop losses for most of the previously held positions have also been updated. With the exception of these seven stocks, remaining positions in the portfolio are on Hold.
[Almanac Investor Stock Portfolio – March 21, 2016 Closes]
Disclosure Note: At press time, officers of the Hirsch Organization, or accounts they control held positions in CNC, CVS, HBI and TSCO.