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By Ken Shea The S&P PowerPicks 2003 portfolio -- representing S&P analysts' top picks for the year -- outperformed its benchmark, the S&P 500 index, once more in March. The portfolio gained 1.1% on the month, vs. the index's rise of 0.8%. Year to date through Mar. 31, the portfolio's performance was also ahead of the "500", at 2.1% vs. -3.6%.
Among the top performers in the portfolio in March: consumer-related stocks such as Quiksilver (+22%) and P.F. Chang's (+12%). Gains in these issues more than offset big drops in technology issues Microchip Technology (-22%) and Sybase (-12%).
Year to date through Mar. 31, 24 stocks beat the "500", while 16 did not.
About the S&P PowerPicks 2003 Portfolio
The portfolio represents the collective "best ideas" of the Standard & Poor's equity research staff.
Each of the 35 industry analysts on S&P's equity research staff has chosen one of the stocks they follow as the best-positioned for superior growth. The S&P PowerPicks 2002 Portfolio is diversified across all the 10 S&P economic sectors comprising the S&P 500 index.
The portfolio is a "frozen" one, meaning that it will undergo no changes throughout the entire year. The objective of the portfolio is to exceed the total return (capital appreciation plus dividends paid) generated by the S&P 500 during the year.
Market Cap $bil.
Favorable shift in product mix, low valuation
New CEO, better vendor relations
Prospects for improved ad market
Exceptional growth characteristics
Market share gains, margin improvements
Toys "R" Us
Free cash flow and p-e should grow
Continued market share gains, strong growth
Defensive appeal, superior prospects
Positive sales trend continue
Shares attractively valued
Natural-gas activity rising
EPS growth to 2005 beats peers
Stronger earnings growth
Shares trading at a big discount to historical valuation
Strong franchise, undervalued, takeover candidate
Strong free cash flow and profit margins
National Commerce Financial
Strong market demographics
Undervalued vs. peers, with less risk
Explosive growth prospects
Strong performance expected from all business segments
Expect 10% growth over the long term
Unmatched product pipeline
Growing market share of for-profit institutions
Stock attractively valued
Strong bookings from refining market
Potential upturn in aircraft manufacturing
Affiliated Computer Services
Solid defensive play in current market
More market-share gains likely
Pure play in microcontroller chips
Leading market position
Good fundamentals, attractive valuation
Valuation, balance sheet, strong management
Potential upturn in electronics markets
Poised to benefit from industry rebound
Solid EPS quality, stable balance sheet
Earnings growth above peers
For more on the S&P PowerPicks 2003 portfolio, please visit
http://www.businessweek.com/investor/content/dec2002/pi20021231_4149.htm Shea is director of global equity research for Standard & Poor's