It has been a month since we last checked in with our 10 Best Stocks of 2013 contest and, in just a matter of weeks, things have already been shaken up quite a bit.
For those of you just getting familiar with the contest: It’s an annual showdown where 10 experts pick buy-and-hold investments at the start of the year and see which can deliver the greatest total return over 52 weeks.
And so far this year, it’s been an exciting one, to say the least. The last-place pick is the only one that hasn’t budged since the contest’s halfway point. Plus, the two companies tied for fifth place at the end of the second quarter have both fallen out of that front-half of the running.
Let’s take a look at three stocks that made the biggest headlines over the last month, along with a quick update on the overall standings. All standings and returns are as of market close on July 31.
Current Standing: Third
YTD Return: +15%
Investor: Jeff Reeves
First up, we have the pick that was sitting pretty in first place just a month ago. Intel (INTC) — chosen by InvestorPlace Editor Jeff Reeves — had a 20% total return in its pocket at the end of Q2, but that, along with its standing, has been dwindled down in the past month.
To figure out why, all you have to do is glance at this to-the-point Quartz headline, courtesy of Matt Phillips:
“Intel earnings: Bad.”
Intel released second-quarter earnings after the bell July 17 that showed a nearly 30% decline in profits on a 5% slide in revenue. On the earnings call, CFO Stacy Smith also warned that the overall PC market was weaker than they originally thought.
The stock shed around 4% of its value on July 18 as a result and continued to slide afterwards. Overall, second-quarter struggles sliced around 5% off Intel’s total return from the start of July to the end.
The good news: Intel has now renewed its focus on cost-cutting, which could help bulk up its bottom line. The bad news: For this contest, the clock is ticking.
Current Standing: Fourth
YTD Return: +13%
Investor: Louis Navellier
Next up we have Louis Navellier’s pick of Sherwin-Williams (SHW), which also suffered a big hit in July.
While the company’s recession-proof nature was one reason for Navellier’s choice, another was that SHW had recently snatched up Comex Group. Comex — the fourth-largest paint maker in North America — gave Sherwin exposure to Mexico’s growing market.
Well, at least it would have. On July 18 — the same day that Intel got pounded — news broke that Mexico’s competition watchdog denied the pending $2.34 billion purchase. Adding insult to injury was the fact that Sherwin’s second-quarter earning and revenue results — released on the same day — missed analyst estimates.
Sherwin opened around 8% lower that morning and still remains that far off its previous July high.
Plus, while the company reaffirmed its outlook for earnings of $7.45 to $7.55 per share, that’s still short of the high bar set by analysts, who are expecting $8.08 per share for the year. If the company continues to disappoint, Sherwin could slide even further.
Global X FTSE Greece 20 ETF
Current Standing: Eighth
YTD Return: -9%
Investor: Mebane Faber
If you want to be optimistic, it’s cheerworthy that Mebane Faber’s pick of Global X FTSE Greece 20 ETF (GREK) managed to quell some of its year-to-date bleeding, sending the pick from ninth place to eighth. GREK’s total return improved by 5 percentage points in July and started August off with a 3% gain on the first.
Still, the sole exchange-traded fund in our contest sat 9% in the red as of July 31. Hardly something to celebrate — and Greek still has a pile of obstacles to overcome. Exhibit A is a recent report from the International Monetary Fund warned that the country “faces an additional financing shortfall of nearly €11 billion by the end of 2015″ and that the “gap could be bigger if growth falls short of estimates,” as The Wall Street Journal summed it up.
For the cherry on top, although news broke yesterday that unemployment rates in the eurozone fell for the first time in two years, Greece still remains the worst off, with an ugly rate of 26.9%.
Of course, the face that Greece is in dire straights is hardly news, and actually may further Faber’s original logic: The only way to go is up.
|Standing||Stock pick||INVESTOR||TOTAL RETURN|
|5||Qualcomm||Paul R. La Monica||+5%|
|7||Two Harbors||Steve Freehill||-1%|
|8||Global X FTSE Greece 20 ETF||Mebane Faber||-9%|
|9||Great Lakes Dock & Dredge||Greg Harmon||-14%|
As of this writing, Alyssa Oursler did not hold a position in any of the aforementioned securities.