Finally, it’s the moment I’ve been hinting at for at least the last 5,839 days! It’s the 3rd annual Financial Uproar stock picking contest, or NAMBLA for short.
Because hey, I know you don’t have time to pick your own damn stocks. Research is hard, I get it. Why do all the work of going through annual reports and whatnot when you can just pick exactly what the best in personal finance bloggers pulled out of their collective asses because they got drunk instead of thinking about this contest? (You think I’m kidding, but that’s basically a direct quote from more than one competitor) And hey, exactly three out of thirteen competitors last year beat the S&P 500, and one actually lost money. Maybe we’re not such great people to copy. One of us actually picked Blackberry, and did it TWICE IN A ROW. What a maroon.
Without further adieu, allow me to present this year’s picks. The rules are simple. Each competitor picks 4 stocks, equally weighted. Dividends count towards the total, but any currency fluctuations don’t. The winner gets bragging rights and a hug that lingers a little too long from a ghost. It’s the greatest prize outside of the Stanley Cup.
My Pennies My Thoughts
Annies Inc. (BNNY)
Genworth Financial (GNW)
Home Depot (HD)
Myriad Genetics (MYGN)
Leucadia National (LUK)
Federal Signal Corp. (FSS)
My University Money/Young And Thrifty
Can one person represent two sites? I guess I’ll allow it.
Vanguard FTSE Europe ETF (VGK)
Berkshire Hathaway (BRK.A)
Neenah Paper (NP)
Valero Energy Partners (VLP)
NPS Pharmaceuticals (NPSP)
Spend. Save. Splurge.
Bank of America (BAC)
NPX Semiconductors (NPXI)
Canexus Corp. (CUS)
Dundee International REIT (DI.UN)
Atlantic Power Corporation (ATP)
My Own Advisor
Dundee REIT (D.UN)
TD Bank (TD)
Pembina Pipeline (PPL)
Wells Fargo (WFC)
Don’t Quit Your Day Job
Proshares Trust II (SVXY)
Credit Suisse Daily Inverse VIX Short Term ETN (XIV)
Barclays Long C Leveraged S&P 500 TR ETN (BXUC)
Alliance Resource Partners (ARLP)
Boomer and Echo
Teck Resources (TCK.B)
Canadian Oil Sands (COS)
Power Corp. (POW)
With the exception of Don’t Quit Your Day Job, those were all some pretty normal picks. SSS picked Blackberry, so you can all go ahead and laugh at her instead of me now, thank you.
But now, what you’ve all been waiting for. Here are the picks to end all picks, the cherry on top of the proverbial sundae, Financial Uproar’s four selections. You’d better start fanning yourself now, heaven forbid you get a little too excited and faint with anticipation.
WHOOO BABY I JUST CAN’T STAY AWAY.
Just kidding. That’s not a real pick. Watch it triple in value over the next four trading days.
1. Reitmans (RET.A)
Oh God, this might be just as bad as Blackberry though. They’re a struggling women’s apparel retailer, trading at only a hair above book value, and most of their capex expenses are behind them. They’re currently buying back shares, insiders are loading up, and Fairfax Financial recently announced a big stake in the company. I think shares could double from the $6.80 they were on December 31st, although I think you’ll be waiting longer than a year for that to happen.
2. Career Education Corp. (CECO)
2013 was a great year for most every sector that wasn’t precious metals, interest sensitive REITs, or for-profit education. Career Education Corp., is in the latter category, and things aren’t pretty. Enrollment is down for about 7 quarters in a row, although declines are slowing considerably lately. The company does expect to burn through $40M of cash during 2014, but they just recently sold their foreign operations, so they’ve got around $375M worth of cash going forward. The market cap is right around $370M, meaning you’re getting the business for free.
3. Automodular (AM)
Even though the stock is up 10% from where I was buying, I still think there’s 15-20% upside on this name by the end of the year. I usually try to swing for the fences in these contests, but there just aren’t enough beaten up names that even get me the least bit excited this year. So I’m channeling my inner My Own Advisor and making a safer pick.
I wrote a bunch of words on Automodular here.
4. Alcoa (AA)
I don’t like recommending stocks trading at 52 week highs, but I think Alcoa could have a good 2014. They’re proactively switching from making boring ol’ aluminum to manufacturing speciality products for car companies and airplane makers, products with higher margins and fewer competitors. The future looks bright for aluminum in cars, since federally mandated gas mileage standards come into place in 2015. One of the easiest ways to increase mileage is to replace steel parts with aluminum. The average American car is something like 12 years old, meaning auto sales should still be robust for 2014. It’s trading just a bit over book value too, and while the debt is a little high for my liking, they’re still easily earning the money to cover the interest.
Good luck to everyone who entered, because you’re gonna need it when going up against these BAD BOY AWESOME SAUCE PICKS. Try not to act so surprised when I win.