by Alyssa Oursler | December 2, 2013 5:55 am
It’s down to the wire for InvestorPlace’s 10 Best Stocks for 2013 contest, and things are heating up fast.
Nearly a year ago, 10 experts chose the companies they thought would be the best stocks of 2013. And in less than a month, this annual showdown will have yet another champion.
So far this year, the Best Stocks for 2013 race has been an entertaining one. In fact, two picks aren’t just the best stocks of 2013 in this contest, but are more than doubling the broader market.
And remember, the market’s been pretty hot so far this year.
Then again, a few picks meant to be some of the best stocks of 2013 have fallen flat … big time. And with only a few weeks left in the game, the odds of a comeback seem slim to none.
Take a look at how InvestorPlace’s 10 Best Stocks for 2013 look with just a month to go:
YTD Return: -25%
Investor: Stephanie Link
Vale (VALE) – the world’s largest producer of iron ore – had a strong third quarter, but that was the only glimpse of good news that came for this Best Stocks for 2013 entry.
Last December, expert Stephanie Link felt confident that the metals and mining company would be one of the best stocks of 2013 because of its “strong exposure to the emerging markets, improving internal fundamentals and attractive valuation.”
But despite those fundamentals and a solid few months, things didn’t quite go as planned. In fact, the strong Q3 for VALE stock wasn’t enough to make up for the ugly losses it suffered in the first half of 2013. And in November, Vale continued its downward trend.
The result: VALE stock has shed a quarter of its value since Jan. 1. Those losses are almost as much as the broader market has gained, making this far from one of the best stocks of 2013.
YTD Return: -5%
Investor: Jon Markman
Fomento Economico Mexicano (FMX) was another emerging markets pick that fell flat in our Best Stocks for 2013 contest.
Sure, Jon Markman’s pick for the best stock of 2013 was on pace for the silver medal back in March. But since then, FMX stock has been in a pretty steady downward climb and is 5% in the red as of the start of December.
While FMX stock sure isn’t one of the best stocks of 2013, it’s been pretty stellar in recent years. In fact, shares of FMX have soared almost 250% over the past five years — more than double the broader market — even factoring in its recent weakness.
That’s not much solace for our Best Stocks for 2013 contest, but it could be proof that the long-term thesis on FMX stock still is solid … and that shares just needed to cool off after a killer multiyear run.
YTD Return: -4%
Investor: Steve Freehill
Next up, we have Two Harbors (TWO) — the mortgage REIT chosen for our Best Stocks for 2013 contest by InvestorPlace reader Steve Freehill.
Just like FMX, Two Harbors was one of the best stocks of 2013 early in the contest … but it also has slowly and surely sunk toward the bottom.
Freehill chose Two Harbors for one big reason: its eye-popping yield. And that yield has been getting even sweeter … but only because TWO is moving away from being one of the best stocks of 2013. As of the start of December, Two Harbors was yielding more than 12.1%.
Still, rising rates and the fear of tapering sent investors fleeing mREITs and other income-yielding investments in late spring … and the appetite for TWO stock simply hasn’t come back. With just a few weeks to go, it seems pretty clear that TWO will not end up as one of the best stocks of 2013.
YTD Return: Flat
Investor: Greg Harmon
Greg Harmon’s pick of Great Lakes Dredge & Dock (GLDD) actually has been posting somewhat of a comeback in the Best Stocks of 2013 contest. In the last three months alone, GLDD stock has soared over 30%.
So why isn’t GLDD one of the best stocks of 2013? Because before that run, the stock’s performance was downright ugly.
In Harmon’s defense, the struggles for GLDD stock were largely due to factors he couldn’t have seen coming. Harmon was banking on the dredging company’s technical strength to make it one of the best stocks of 2013.
But GLDD struggled thanks to an accounting error that forced the company to restate earnings for the second and third quarters of 2012. The result: a class-action lawsuit and an ugly selloff.
YTD Return: +19%
Investor: Jeff Reeves
InvestorPlace Editor Jeff Reeves’ not-so-sexy pick of tech staple Intel (INTC) as one of the best stocks of 2013 was looking brilliant halfway through the contest. That’s because INTC stock sat in first place at the end of June.
Since then, though, Intel has lost its title as the best stock of 2013. While the 19% year-to-date gains for INTC aren’t terrible, they’re worse than the broader market … and worse than half the companies in our Best Stocks for 2013 contest.
Intel posted a mini-run beginning in mid-October, but the stock has shown more weakness of late. And with just a month to go, it simply has too far to run and too little time to be one of the best stocks of 2013 when the New Year rolls around.
YTD Return: +20%
Investor: Louis Navellier
Louis Navellier’s pick of Sherwin-Williams (SHW) was another pick in the Best Stocks for 2013 contest that suffered from one big and unexpected setback.
What happened? Well, Mexico’s competition watchdog denied the company’s pending $2.34 billion purchase of Comex Group – the fourth-largest paint-maker in North America. When that news — along with an earnings miss — was released, SHW stock tumbled from its second-place spot for the best stocks of 2013.
Sherwin-Williams stock did regain some ground in recent months, and did appeal the rejected bid. But in late October, regulators again denied the deal … and SHW stock again fell.
Now, SHW’s year-to-date gains of 20% are barely good enough for a top-five spot in the Best Stocks for 2013 showdown.
YTD Return: +21%
Investor: Paul R. La Monica
Qualcomm (QCOM) has been attempting to post a comeback in the Best Stocks for 2013 race … but it needs to get things in gear soon if it wants to win the title, or at least squeeze into the top three.
QCOM stock got off to a bit of a late start, with a flat performance halfway through the race. Since then, though, the tech stock chosen by Paul R. La Monica has put on a solid show. And in the last month alone, it’s gained 7% vs. a climb of under 2% for the broader market.
Qualcomm stock has a lot that could make it one of the best stocks of 2013, too, including a yield north of 2%, almost 22% earnings growth on tap per year over the next half-decade and a recently announced $5 billion buyback program.
Plus, despite its recent run, QCOM still goes for a reasonable forward P/E of 13 — one of the original reasons La Monica thought it would be one of the best stocks for 2013 to start.
The bad news: Time is running out for Qualcomm.
YTD Return: +27%
Investor: Mebane Faber
Mebane Faber had a pretty simple reason for his choice in the Best Stocks for 2013 contest: The Global X FTSE Greece 20 ETF (GREK), which tracks Greek stocks, was dirt-cheap.
As Faber put it last December: “While the ETF is up a whopping 80% since bottoming out at $8.78, the MSCI Greece index is still down more than 80% from the peak.”
Yeah, yeah … the sole ETF on our Best Stocks for 2013 list isn’t technically a stock. But the fund has definitely held some of the best stocks of 2013 as the market continues to recover from its debt crisis.
Of course, the 27% gains of this Best Stocks for 2013 entry is right in line with the broader market’s, so its hardly out-of-this-world. But for now, it’s at least good enough for the bronze medal in our contest.
YTD Return: +57%
Investor: Charles Sizemore
Charles Sizemore isn’t just a Best Stocks contest veteran. He’s also quite used to almost being the winner.
Sizemore’s 2012 Best Stocks pick of Turkcell (TKC) was leading in the last few days of the contest before being edged in its final hours.
Heading into the last few weeks of the Best Stocks for 2013 contest, though, he’s hoping to edge out the leader and reclaim the title he won in 2011 with his Visa (V) pick. His pick of luxury automaker Daimler (DDAIF) has indeed been one of the best stocks of the year, boasting a mouth-watering 57% total return.
As impressive as that sounds, it’s enough to make DDAIF one of the best stocks of 2013 … but not the best stock.
YTD Return: +61%
Investor: Rick Pendergraft
Rick Pendergraft was pretty specific when he picked Mylan (MYL) for our Best Stocks for 2013 contest. He expected MYL stock to enjoy a 30% gain for the year.
Little did he know that the S&P 500 itself would gain almost 30% in the first 11 months … or that MYL would more than double that.
Yes, Pendergraft’s pick is blowing away most of the other wannabe best stocks of 2013 heading into the homestretch, and has nosed ahead of its main competitor.
What does our leader in the Best Stocks for 2013 contest do? Well, Mylan makes generic and branded generic drugs, boasting more than 1,000 generic products sold in over 150 countries. Can that business send Mylan stock even higher — or at least help it hold onto its lead for one more month?
Stay tuned to find out how the Best Stocks of 2013 showdown shakes out.
As of this writing, Alyssa Oursler did not hold a position in any of the aforementioned securities.
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