2016 Stock Market Competition Update: We’re Not Terrible!

2016 Stock Market Competition Update: We’re Not Terrible!

When we last left the 2016 edition of the stock picking contest, Janine from My Pennies My Thoughts was giving the 13 other contestants a through ass kicking, posting a return of 23.2% over only three months. Annualized, I’m pretty sure that works out to about a BILLION PERCENT annually.

I’m good at math.

She was almost six percentage points above blog reader Doug who posted a 17.4% return. Doug was closely followed by Tyler, who was up 16.3%. And My Own Advisor was comfortably in 4th, posting a total return of 13.8%.

The rest of us, apparently, sucked. You can check out the full results if you want here.

A whole quarter has passed since, and plenty has changed. Donald Trump went from being a legitimate presidential contender to being a slightly less legitimate presidential candidate. And the Toronto Maple Leafs went from a gong show to a gong show with the first overall draft pick.

Okay, so it turns out not much has changed. Except for some stock prices, I guess.

So without further adieu, let’s look at the latest results.

1. Blog reader Doug (+76.5%)

No, that’s not a typo. That’s truly a performance for the ages.

Doug had one stock that went up more than 200% (Nemaska Lithium) and one that went up more than 100% (Painted Pony Petroleum). His other two selections didn’t do much at all. The scary part is if the end of the quarter would have come on May 31st, Nemaska would have been up more than 300%.

Hey Doug, if you’re reading this, leave a comment about what attracted you to Nemaska. Or Painted Pony. ALLOW US TO LEARN FROM YOU, OH GLORIOUS MASTER.

2. My Pennies My Thoughts (+52.7%)

Janine improved considerably over her first quarter performance, increasing her imaginary mini portfolio by more than 50%. And all she gets is my all-caps scorn. SECOND PLACE IS THE FIRST LOSER, LOOOOOOOOSER.

Most of Janine’s success came from Barrick Gold, a company no legitimate investor would have touched at the beginning of this competition. It just goes to show you “legitimate” investors often do get stuff wrong. Go ahead and laugh at them, all they’ve got going for them are consistent appearances on CNBC, great high-paying jobs, attractive spouses, and billions under management. JOKE’S ON YOU, SUCKERS.

3. Blog reader Tyler (+23.2%)

Tyler picked the first preferred share of the history of the competition, choosing the Dundee Corp Series 3 Preferred shares, a very boring name for an interesting stock. The pick proved to be a great one, increasing more than 56% including dividends. Who said preferred shares had to be boring?

Tyler also picked CRH Medical Corp, which increased more than 22%. But more importantly, here’s what CRH Medical does:

“The company specializes in the treatment of hemorrhoids utilizing its treatment protocol and technology.” Finally, medicine is starting to tackle the issues that really matter.

4. My Own Advisor (+21.8%)

Mark from My Own Advisor continues to finish somewhere in the middle of the pack using his dividend/value approach, a fine strategy for real life. All four of his picks of Bank of Nova Scotia, TransCanada, Crescent Point, and Emerson Electric finished up double digits.

5. Financial Uproar (+12.0%)

TWO CONSECUTIVE FIFTH PLACE FINISHES? I’LL TAKE IT.

My best stock was Corus, which ended the six month period up 28.6%. I also got solid performances from Hammond Manufacturing and Directcash, which were up 18.5% and 10.1% respectively. My only dud was dividend aristocrat Franklin Resources, the owner of Franklin Templeton investments. It turns out that betting against ETFs wasn’t such a smart move. At least I talked myself out of buying it with real money.

Disclosure: I own Corus, Hammond, and Directcash.

6. Freedom 35 Blog (+10.9%)

The owner of this particular blog likes to refer to himself as “Liquid Independence”, which is kinda gross. What kind of liquids are we talking here? I hope it’s not pee.

Anyhoo, his relatively standard picks of Starbucks, Waste Management, Equifax, and Royal Bank finished a relatively standard middle of the pack. It’s a very beige result and My Own Advisor is a little jealous.

7. Holy Potato (+10.6%)

As mentioned last quarter, Holy Potato chose a different Dundee preferred share than Tyler. Turns out it was the wrong one, since the company decided to just redeem the stupid thing, locking him into a 14.7% gain. That’s not terrible, but it’s nothing compared to the 56% Tyler made.

Holy Potato’s other picks included a Fannie Mae (or Freddie Mac, like I can tell the difference) preferred share, Canexus Corp, and American Hotel Income Properties. Y’know, the blue chip household names we’ve all grown to love.

8. Vanessa’s Money (+5.4%)

If it wasn’t for Vanessa’s smart ass pick of ISIS Pharmaceuticals (which is since changed its name and fallen more than 60%), she would be near the top. Other picks of Wal-Mart (+20%), iShares MSCI Canada Index (16.4%), and Bombardier (+44.8%) performed pretty well. I thought the iShares pick was particularly clever, which was both a bet on Canada and a bet on the U.S. Dollar.

Still, I feel like I must alert the authorities of Vanessa’s obvious LOVE OF ISIS. HEY, AMERICAN GOVERNMENT. DO NOT LET THIS WOMAN INTO YOUR COUNTRY.

9. Avrex Money (+3.1%)

Andrew chose eBay as one of his stocks, that website you might remember from 2006. Well, it turns out it’s still around and losing him imaginary money, falling 13.5%. Richie Bros Auctioneering did much better, rising some 30%.

10. Blog Reader Ben (-1.4%)

Even Ben’s excellent pick of Dream Office REIT (up 11.6% and a personal holding of mine) wasn’t enough to offset his loss in Bank of America, which declined more than 20%. I haven’t been this mad at the U.S. banks since they almost caused the collapse of the financial system as we know it, a comparable offense to not increasing to help out a Financial Uproar blog reader.

11. Kapitalust (-2.3%)

After posting double-digit negative returns from three of his four picks (Chipotle, Sprouts Farmer’s Market and Boston Beer), I think it’s obvious Mr. Lust should spend more time ogling stacks of $100s or jerking it to balance sheets or whatever his perverted mind thinks is normal.

And in case you needed further proof he’s a DEPRIVED SICKO, his only positive pick was Lululemon. Disgusting.

12. Blog reader Jeff (-7.8%)

Jeff lost money on Bank of America, ATS Automation, and ProMetic Life Sciences. At least two of those companies are 100% fabricated.

13. Don’t Quit Your Day Job (-11.7%)

After winning last year’s contest, PK’s picks are almost in the basement, showing the fickle nature of the contest. One year you’re on top of the world, winning the coveted golden plunger award I physically mail to each winner’s work so they get embarrassed by it. The next you’re in the gutter, getting beaten by said plunger by some local youths.

This contest is surprisingly violent.

14. Boomer and Echo (-38.7%)

Here’s an actual conversation I had with Robb’s wife, who asked I keep our conversation anonymous. I AM NOT TO BE TRUSTED.

“How does it feel to be married to such a terrible stock picker?”

(Signs divorce papers, moves to North Korea)

How’d we do versus the index?

Overall, our 56 total stock picks were up 10.99%, handily beating the year to date returns of the TSX Composite (+8.1%) and the S&P 500, which increased 2.9%. Look for our ETF in the next few weeks, further proof they’ll give an ETF to anyone. It’s pretty much the stock picking equivalent of the NBA free agency market.

2016 Stock Picking Contest Q1 Results

2016 Stock Picking Contest Q1 Results

Oh boy, boys and girls (and whatever else you FREAKS identify as)! It’s time to reveal the results of the first quarter of the 2016 stock picking contest. If you want a recap of what everyone picked, point yo mouse towards the 2016 picks.

In case you need a reminder, let me go over the rules. Each contestant picks four stocks that trade on any North American exchange. I tabulate the results including dividends but excluding any changes in currencies. ETFs are allowed, but not anything weird that I haven’t heard of (this is known as the DQYDJ rule). The average of the four picks is the result. As a new wrinkle in this year’s contest, I gave the contestants the option of picking cash as a position, something that would return a guaranteed 1% per year. Not surprisingly, nobody took me up on the offer.

ENOUGH PREAMBLE. It’s time for the results, yo, followed by my ever so witty commentary. Better dial 91 on your phone to call the fire department because the burns are going to get pretty hot and heavy up in here.

The results

Contestant Result
1. My Pennies My Thoughts +23.2%
2. Blog reader Doug +17.4%
3. Blog reader Tyler +16.3%
4. My Own Advisor +13.8%
5. Financial Uproar +8.5%
6. Kapitalust +7.0%
7. Freedom 35 Blog +4.0%
8. Avrex Money +2.0%
9. Blog reader Ben -1.35%
10. Holy Potato -1.38%
11. Vanessa’s Money -3.3%
12. Don’t Quit Your Day Job -4.2%
13. Blog reader Jeff -8.8%
14. Boomer and Echo -20.0%

Now, onto the chuckles and random observations.

Chuckles and crap

  • The best pick for the first quarter was Barrick Gold (a company I’ve taken to calling Barrick GoLOLd) by My Pennies My Thoughts. Barrick went up 72.6% in the quarter because gold had its best quarter in the last 30 years. It just shows how a truly depressed asset can really deliver stellar returns when something happens to snap it out of its funk.
  • After Barrick the best performing stocks were Nemaska Lithium (chosen by Doug, up 54.6%), Lululemon (chosen by Kapitalust, up 29.1%), the Dundee preferred shares (chosen by Tyler, up 38.8%), and DuPont Fabros Technology (again chosen by My Pennies My Thoughts, up 29%). Good luck predicting those results. Who would have thought a preferred share would have done so well?
  • Mark from My Own Advisor had all four of his stocks go up double digits. His best performer was Emerson Electric, up 14.7%. His worst performer was Crescent Point, which went up 13%.
  • Don’t Quit Your Day Job won the 2015 edition of the contest. PK is now in 12th out of 14th. Finally, justice prevails. Good triumphs over evil and whatnot.
  • Robbbbbbb (actual spelling, check his birth certificate) from Boomer and Echo told me “I’m terrible at this” when he submitted his picks. That foreshadowing was eerily accurate. His terrible picks included Fitbit (down 48.8%) and GoPro (down 33.6%).
  • Holy Potato picked the Dundee series C preferred shares. They traded at $14.25 at the end of last year. They’ve been taken private by Dundee for $16.34 each, locking in a 14.7% gain. The rules state he’s locked into that return, which isn’t the worst result out there.
  • YOUR BOY Nelson joined Mark by having all of his picks in positive territory. My worst performer was Directcash, which was up a measly 1.7%.
  • Vanessa claimed she was a better investor than me in a recent blog post. She was wrong.

So, did we beat the market?

In the first quarter, the TSX Composite returned 5.1% and the S&P 500 returned 3.06%, at least according to their respective ETFs. We’ll use those as our benchmarks.

As a group, we generated returns of 3.79%, which beat the S&P 500 and lost to the TSX Composite. The TSX Composite is probably the more accurate index to use to gauge our results since the majority of the picks were from the Canadian markets.

Six out of 14 contestants beat the TSX Composite while seven out of 14 beat the S&P 500. If we take away Robb’s terrible last place result — remember, he finished a full 12% behind the second-worst competitor — we collectively do pretty well against the market. But we can’t really do that, because it’s not like the market can retroactively remove its worst performers too.

Besides, I fully encourage competitors to swing for the fences for this contest. Big gains are fun; so are big losses. I don’t ask the competitors for disclosure because it’s just a dumb contest, but I’d bet most don’t even own the stocks they chose. Nobody is building a portfolio using these picks. They lack the kind of diversity needed in a good portfolio.

2015 Stock Picking Contest — Thank God That’s Over

I’m not going to bury the lede. 2015 was not a good year to be a stock picker.

Canadian markets ended the year soundly in the red, falling more than 10%. Toronto was weighed down by practically everything, but energy, gold, and materials really brought down the index. This is of no surprise to the readers from Alberta, AKA the land of SWEET JESUS I NEED A JOB.

American markets were decidedly better, only falling marginally over the year. But even that didn’t tell the whole picture. Stocks like Facebook, Google (nope, not calling it Alphabet), and Netflix soared, while everything else tanked. I read those three stocks collectively added $500 billion to their market caps, while the rest of the market lost $500 billion. Not sure if that’s true, but close enough. The U.S. market would have been almost as bad as Canada’s if it wasn’t for some of the high-flyers.

Even though some of us PF bloggers (okay, just me) might seem all smart and whatnot, we got crushed in 2015. Part of that is the nature of this contest, of course. I actively encourage participants to swing for the fences. Good dividend-paying blue chip stocks are the key to getting rich. They are not the key to winning a contest like this one.

When we last left the contest, Don’t Quit Your Day Job had a seemingly insurmountable lead. Could he hang on, or would YOUR BOY Nelson come back from last place to overtake him? Allow me to present the results in a pretty table form, along with my witty somewhat entertaining commentary underneath.

Contestant Result
1. Don’t Quit Your Day Job +19.5%
2. Jeff +5.5%
3. Vanessa’s Money +2.0%
4. My Pennies My Thoughts -2.0%
5. 101 Centavos -4.6%
6. Ben -5.5%
7. Boomer and Echo -8.4%
8. Avrex Money -14.9%
9. Mochi and Macrons -16.7%
10. Freedom 35 Blog -19.3%
11. Holy Potato -28.9%
12. Money Propeller -31.1%
13. Financial Uproar -38.1%
14. Doug -41.2%
15. My Own Advisor -41.5%

Related: Want some (potentially) better picks for 2016? Here you go.

Some thoughts:

  •  Poor Mark from My Own Advisor. Each year I make fun of his solid dividend-paying picks for being boring. This time around Mark decided to get a little frisky and pick three energy names (Baytex, Kinder Morgan, and Canadian Oil Sands). These picks did not work out, with each falling an average of 50%.
  • The worst pick of the contest was Lightstream Resources (held by Doug and Holy Potato, down 78%), followed by Winnipeg Free Press (held by me, down 76%), followed by Baytex Energy (held by Money Propeller, My Own Advisor, and Doug again, down 72%). Other terrible performers were Penn West (down 50%) and Pengrowth Energy (down 67.5%)
  • Vanessa’s picks were the Russian ETF (up 3.7%), the Russian Small-Cap ETF (down 1.9%), the S&P 500 ETF (up 1.2%) and Suncor (up 5%). She wins the award of the most boring picks, which is not something I would have predicted at this point last year.
  • The best picks of the contest were gun maker Sturm, Ruger and Co. (chosen by 101 Centavos, up 75%), Credit Acceptance Corp (chosen by Don’t Quit Your Day Job, up 57%), and Valero Energy (Don’t Quit Your Day Job again, up 47%).
  • My Own Advisor was the only contestant who ended up with all four picks negative. Several of us almost joined him. Village Farms ended the year unchanged for me. Freedom 35 Blog had BlackBerry (up 0.8%) to go with his three losing picks. And Money Propeller’s all energy portfolio didn’t work out with the exception of Suncor, which had a total return of 5%.

And that’s all I’ve got. Congrats to Don’t Quit Your Day Job, whose prize of me totally not kicking him in the ribcage is in the mail.

It’s The 96th Annual Financial Uproar Stock Picking Contest

It’s a new year (almost!), which means it’s time for your favorite annual tradition. No, not your birthday. Or Christmas. Or grandma telling you she loves your brother more on account of he phones more than once a year. It’s not Nelson weeping on Valentine’s Day either. Okay, that’s enough. Stop guessing.

It’s the annual stock picking contest. The rules are simple. Many of your favorite personal finance bloggers, random people I met on the internet, and I each pick four stocks which trade on any Canadian or U.S. stock exchange. We then take the average return for each contestant’s mini portfolio (including dividends but excluding any currency fluctuations) and we have them face off in direct competition to each other. A new wrinkle in the contest this year is I allowed the competitors to choose cash as one (or more) of their investment choices, which would guarantee a 1% return. Nobody took me up on this offer, unsurprisingly.

The winner gets glory and jokes made of their various shortcomings. The losers get humiliation and more jokes made about their various shortcomings. Not surprisingly, many of the entrants change from year to year. OH, DWID NELSON HURT YOUR LWITTLE FEELINGS?

That’s enough preamble. Let’s get to it. I’ll list everyone else’s entries and then go into a little more detail on my own.

Kapitalust

Steve (whose email display name is Steve Kapitalust, a name I am at least 14% sure is a fake) decided to go with pretty much the opposite of what I like to invest in. If this is a move to troll me, mission accomplished.

Chipotle (NYSE:CMG)
Boston Beer (NYSE:SAM)
Lululemon (NASDAQ:LULU)
Sprouts (NASDAQ:SFM)

Blog reader Doug

Oh, you guys are going to like at least his first pick. FINANCIAL UPROAR: GETTING YOU HIGHLY INVESTED SINCE 2012.

Aurora Cannabis (CNSX:ACB)
Nemaska Lithium (CVE:NMX)
Painted Pony Petroleum (TSX:PPY)
Knight Therapeutics (TSX:GUD)

Vanessa’s Money

One of her picks was picked because it comes from Quebec, the same province that Vanessa hails from. Oh, and one was picked because it was called ISIS Pharmaceuticals, a name that was recently changed. What kind of BS contest am I running here?

Walmart (NYSE:WMT)
iShares MSCI Canada Index (NYSE:EWC)
Ionis Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ:IONS)
Bombardier (TSX:BBD.B)

Blog reader Ben

Ben’s picks intrigue me. If he had a newsletter poorly Xeroxed and slightly off-center, I’d probably be a subscriber. His half-growth half-value portfolio might do something.

Starbucks (NASDAQ:SBUX)
Sierra Wireless (NASDAQ:SWIR)
Dream Office REIT (TSX:D.UN) (Disclosure: I own this one)
Bank of America (NYSE:BAC)

Holy Potato

As you might remember, John was the winner of the 2014 edition of the contest, and is currently flirting with last place in the 2015 edition. Way to be consistent, John. In what I think is a first for the contest, he actually picked a preferred share! More than one in fact! We like to have fun around here, let me tell you.

Canexus (TSX:CUS)
Freddie Mac preferred shares (OTCBB:FMCKI)
Dundee preferred shares (TSX:DC.PR.C)
American Hotel Income Fund (TSX:HOT.UN)

Paris Hilton thinks that last pick is hot. The TopicalJokeoMeter 3000® does not.

Boomer and Echo

Robb would like everyone to know he’s “terrible at this.” I’m glad he’s not using that as an excuse to not enter, because like hell it’s stopping the rest of us.

Under Armor (NYSE:UA)
MasterCard (NYSE:MA)
FitBit (NYSE:FIT)
GoPro (NASDAQ:GPRO)

These picks are either going to finish first or last. I can feel it.

My Own Advisor

Probably my favorite competitor is Mark “please only give me vanilla, other flavors scare me” Seed of My Own Advisor. He makes sensible picks that are terrific for real-life portfolios, finishes in the middle of the pack, and then goes on with his life. Naturally, I HATE THESE PICKS SO MUCH. Much of the same this year, but with just a little energy spice thrown in.

Bank of Nova Scotia (TSX:BNS)
Crescent Point Energy (TSX:CPG)
TransCanada Pipelines (TSX:TRP)
Emerson Electric (NYSE:EMR)

Mark looks forward to his 6th place finish.

Avrex Money

Have I made the joke yet that Avrex Money kind of sounds like T-Rex Money? (Checks) It turns out that’s the only joke I’ve ever made. Well then. Here are some picks.

Richie Brother’s Auctioneers (TSX:RBA)
eBay (NASDAQ:EBAY)
Expeditors International of Washington (NASDAQ:EXPD)
Molina Healthcare (NYSE:MOH)

Freedom 35 Blog

In honor of the author of Freedom 35 Blog, a guy who calls himself Liquid, I’m going to put down a bunch of random emoticons. Visit his blog if you don’t understand. 🙂 😉 😀 :p and whatever the fart emoticon is. There isn’t one? EMOTICONS ARE STUPID.

Starbucks (NASDAQ:SBUX)
Equifax (NYSE:EFX)
Waste Management (NYSE:WM)
Royal Bank (TSX:RY)

Hey, that third pick stinks. OH, LIKE YOU WOULDN’T HAVE MADE THE SAME JOKE GO TO HELL.

My Pennies My Thoughts

Janine is very nice, but that still didn’t stop me from making this joke on Twitter the morning her, Vanessa, and I went out for breakfast. In related news, I am a terrible human being.

No threesomes were had in the making of this blog post.

Aurora Cannabis (CNSX:ACB) MORE WEED
Home Depot (NYSE:HD)
Dupont Fabros Technology (NYSE:DFT)
Barrick Gold (TSX:ABX)

Don’t Quit Your Day Job

PK is well on his way to winning the 2015 edition of the contest. Rather than congratulating him on his great picks, I will hold it against him forever and ever until he dies before me. This is unlikely considering all the red meat I eat, but still.

NeuStar Inc. (NYSE:NSR)
Cal-Marine Foods (NASDAQ:CALM)
Tesoro Corp (NYSE:TSO)
Honda Motor (NYSE:HMC)

He would like everyone to know he doesn’t own any of these stocks and promises not to buy them for 72 hours after I publish this. And I’d like him to know I HATE YOU.

Blog reader Tyler

Tyler not only picked a preferred share, but he also picked the same one Holy Potato did. Except different. OH HOW EXCITING.

Dundee preferred shares (TSX:DC.PR.D) (full disclosure: I own this one)
CHR Health (TSX:CHR)
Imperial Ginseng Products (TSXV:IGP)
Diversified Royalty Corp (TSX:DIV)

Blog reader Jeff

I originally missed Jeff’s picks, on account of he actually got them in on the same day as the request email went out. His prompt response shocked and scared me. Weeping was had.

Prometic Life Sciences (TSX:PLI)
ATS Automation (TSX:ATA)
New Residential Investment Corp (NYSE:NRZ)
Bank of America (NYSE:BAC)

Finally, what you’ve all been waiting for…

Financial Uproar

Let’s do this thang:

Corus Entertainment (TSX:CJR.B)

Corus trades at something like 5x projected free cash flow for 2016. The market hates it because it seems like everyone is cutting the cable cord, but I think it’ll end up being fine. It’ll probably acquire some channels from Shaw in the New Year because the latter will need to sell some assets after the acquisition of Wind Mobile closes. Corus pays a 10.5% dividend that’s easily covered by free cash flow. Corus is the biggest position in my portfolio. I like it more than Uter Zorker likes chocolate.

Directcash (TSX:DCI)

Directcash is Canada’s second-largest, Australia’s largest, and the UK’s third-largest operator of private label ATM machines. They have approximately 23,000 units spread between the three countries, along with smatterings in the U.S. and Mexico.

Like with Corus, Directcash is a free cash flow machine that’s beaten up because of what the market perceives as potentially deadly technological innovation. Why use cash, the naysayers argue, when you can just use your phone to pay? Once that really catches on, ATMs will go the way of the dodo.

I’ll admit the trend is going that way. But in the meantime, there are still as assload of people who are willing to spend $2.50 for access to convenient cash. After soccer we always go to the same bar, and there are people using the Directcash ATM there — even though the bar accepts all forms of plastic. It continues to boggle my mind, but who am I to argue.

Insiders are buying a whack of shares lately, and the stock pays a 11.6% yield. The dividend is less than 50% of free cash flow.

Hammond Manufacturing (TSX:HMM.A)

Hey, it’s the illiquid micro-cap edition of Nelson’s picks. Because last year’s Winnipeg Free Press worked out so well!

I’ll get into more detail about Hammond on the value investing blog at some point, but the basic story is this. The stock trades at just 7 times earnings even though those earnings have been somewhat suppressed by booking losses on inter-company loans. Book value is $3.68 per share, I paid $2.05. And the company is having success exporting its wares because of the weaker Canadian Dollar. I think this trend continues.

Management owns a whack of this one (the founder controls it with multiple-voting shares), which I always like to see. And once the company is done building a new building, revenue should keep going higher. The new debt adds a little bit of risk, but I think it’s pretty manageable.

Franklin Resources (NYSE:BEN)

This is the parent company of Franklin Templeton. It’s okay that you confused it with a mining stock, I did too at first. If I was in charge a name change would be the first thing on my agenda.

Asset managers are beaten up, and BEN is no exception. It trades at approximately 11 times earnings (or 8x earnings if you strip out the massive cash pile). Management owns a whack of shares, and assets under management are going down mostly because of exposure to emerging market debt, which is getting crushed. Investors are also scared of the ETF revolution killing active managers.

Management has bought back 3% of the shares outstanding over the last year, and the dividend has been increased annually for the last 34 years. Yes, kids, I picked a dividend aristocrat. I feel so dirty.

Disclosure: I own Corus, Directcash, and Hammond Manufacturing. I will likely buy Franklin Resources soon.

And that’s about it. Stay tuned for Monday’s post where we look at the results of the 2015 edition of the contest. 

Q3 Stock Picking Contest Update: We’re All Terrible

Welcome back to one of the periodic stock picking contest updates. If you’re new here, read the next paragraph to get a handle on the rules. If not, thanks for reading mom! (Go to hell dad, who never reads BECAUSE HE DOESN’T LOVE ME.)

The rules of the stock picking contest are simple. Each year, some of your favorite personal finance/investing blogs (and Financial Uproar!) choose four different stocks that each of us think will be the best performers over the year. The total return is just an average of how the four stocks did, including any dividends. We don’t track any currency conversions. Since this is a Canadian blog (go Blue Jays!), the default exchange for any dual-listed stocks is Canada, and the default currency is Canadian. If a stock gets taken over during the year, the participant is locked into that return. 

When we last visited the stock picking contest, Don’t Quit Your Day Job was giving the rest of the entrants an ass kicking not seen since the last time Rihanna and Chris Brown were on a date. HEYO! He was up nearly 35% while blog readers Ben and Jeff rounded out the top 3 with a 15% and 10.4% return, respectively.

Let’s take a quick look back at the results as of the end of the second quarter.

Rank Contestant Results
1. Don’t Quit Your Day Job 34.9%
2. Blog reader Ben 15.0%
3. Blog reader Jeff 10.4%
4. 101 Centavos 7.5%
5. Vanessa’s Money 4.3%
6. My Pennies My Thoughts -1.7%
7. Holy Potato -2.5%
8. Boomer and Echo -2.6%
9. Mochi and Macrons -3.0%
10. Blog reader Doug -3.5%
11. Money Propeller -5.33%
12. Financial Uproar -5.34%
13. Avrex Money -6.6%
14. My Own Advisor -7.3%
15. Freedom 35 Blog -14.0%

At the time, the S&P 500 was up 0.5% if you reinvested the dividends, while the TSX Composite was down nearly 1%. Which means that a whole five out of 15 contestants beat the indexes. That’s not great, but keep in mind that a) if all the picks were one giant portfolio it would have beat the market, and b) contestants are encouraged to swing for the fences.

ENOUGH PREAMBLE. Let’s take a look at the results through October 5th. Spoiler alert: they’re not pretty.

Rank Contestant Results
1. Don’t Quit Your Day Job 16.8%
2. Blog reader Jeff 8.8%
3. 101 Centavos 5.8%
4. Vanessa’s Money 0.1%
5. My Pennies My Thoughts -1.48%
6. Blog reader Ben -1.52%
7. Avrex Money -13.7%
8. Boomer and Echo -14.7%
9. Mochi and Macrons -15.4%
10. Freedom 35 Blog -27.0%
11. My Own Advisor -28.5%
12. Money Propeller -30.3%
13. Holy Potato -32.4%
14. Blog reader Doug -32.5%
15. Financial Uproar -34.9%

NICE WORK, FINANCIAL UPROAR. MORE LIKE (fart noise) YOU SUCKROAR.

Like last time, allow me to make fun of the stock picking contest entrants by making random observations.

  • The worst performing stocks of the whole contest were as follows: Winnipeg Free Press (down 79.6%), Baytex Energy (down 71%), Lightstream Resources (down 63%), Pengrowth (down 61.8%), and Penn West (down 56%). I picked two, Penn West and Winnipeg Free Press. Those were not good picks.
  • The best stocks picked were Sturm, Rutgers, and Company (up 69.8%), Credit Acceptance Corp (up 58.0%), Dollarama (up 55.3%), Element Financial (up 32.8%), and Valero (up 32.8%). Don’t Quit Your Day Job chose two of the top five performers, including Valero and Credit Acceptance Corp.
  • Everybody who lost more than 30% had at least one energy pick. Most had more than one.
  • Financial Uproar, My Own Advisor, Freedom 35 Blog, and Money Propeller, saw all four of their picks go down. It’s like that one year Timeless Finance (RIP) tried to finish last.
  • Vanessa’s Money was the only competitor to not suffer a double-digit loss. She didn’t get a double-digit gain either. She has a history of shooting for mediocrity though, so we’ll forgive her on this one.
  • If the results would have only been through October 1st, results would have actually been worse, since many oil stocks have had a terrific few days.

How’d we do compared to the indexes?

Because hey, if we suck, maybe we can suck slightly less than the indexes.

Or not. Through October 5th, the S&P 500 was down 2.66% if you reinvested the dividends. That would put it in 7th. The TSX Composite (via ETF XIC.TO) fell 7.1%, which would also put it in 7th. At first glance, not bad.

But if we take all the picks and put them in one giant portfolio, collectively we’d all be down 13.4%. That’s not good, no matter how you slice it.

The big reason why is energy. Out of a total of 60 picks, 20 are directly exposed to energy, with two more (two Russian ETFs picked by Vanessa) having strong ties to the sector. We collectively went very long energy, which did not work out.

Is this evidence that you shouldn’t listen to a word any of the stock picking blogs say? Hey, it could be. But it could also be random, or energy could have a big recovery in the fourth quarter and really help us out.