Markets & Finance

PowerPicks Spring Ahead in March


By Ken Shea and Robert Gold The S&P PowerPicks 2004 portfolio -- representing S&P analysts' top picks for the year -- topped its benchmark, the S&P 500 index, again in March. For the month, the portfolio posted a total return of 0.2%, vs. a decline of 1.5% for the "500", both including dividends.

Year to date through Mar. 31, the portfolio has beaten the "500" in 3 of 3 months, and posted a superior return of 5.1%, vs. 1.7% for the benchmark index, both including dividends.

The top performers in the portfolio on the month were Landstar (+15%), Quiksilver (+11%), Corinthian Colleges (+10%), Commerce Bancshares (+9%), and Reliant (+8%). Notable laggards in March: America West (-13%), Triad Hospitals (-13%), Smurfit-Stone (-5%), Millennium Pharmaceuticals (-5%), and Flextronics (-5%).

About the S&P PowerPicks 2004 Portfolio

The portfolio represents the collective "best ideas" of the Standard & Poor's equity research staff.

Each of the most senior 40 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 2004 Portfolio is diversified across all the 10 S&P economic sectors comprising the S&P 500 index.

The portfolio is a "frozen" one, meaning 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 index during the next 12 months.

Sector/Company

Ticker

Market Cap $bil.

S&P Earns. & Div. Rank

S&P Index

CONSUMER DISCRETIONARY

Comcast Class A

CMCSA

71,052

C

500

Fortune Brands

FO

10,091

B-

500

Gannett

GCI

23,755

A

500

La Quinta

LQI

901

C

None

Omnicom

OMC

15,857

A+

500

Quicksilver

ZQK

944

B+

600

Viacom Class B

VIA.B

67,380

B-

500

CONSUMER STAPLES

Constellation Brands

STZ

3,471

B+

400

PepsiCo

PEP

83,262

A

500

Sysco

SYY

23,284

A+

500

ENERGY

ENSCO Intl.

ESV

3,957

B

400

Evergreen Resources

EVG

1,316

B-

600

Exxon Mobil

XOM

243,108

A-

500

FINANCIALS

Bear Stearns

BSC

7,142

A

500

Citigroup

C

240,291

A+

500

Commerce Bancorp

CBH

3,915

A

400

Hartford Financial Services

HIG

16,139

B

500

IndyMac Bancorp

NDE

1,666

B+

400

MBNA

KRB

31,980

A+

500

HEALTH CARE

Caremark Rx

CMX

7,183

B-

None

Hologic

HOLX

317

B-

600

Millennium Pharmaceuticals

MLNM

4,727

NR

400

Mylan Labs

MYL

6,648

A-

400

Triad Hospitals

TRI

2,532

NR

400

INDUSTRIALS

America West Holdings

AWA

424

NR

None

Corinthian Colleges

COCO

2,517

NR

400

Kaydon

KDN

730

A-

600

Landstar

LSTR

1,083

B

600

Manitowoc

MTW

741

B

600

INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY

Analog Devices

ADI

17,322

B

500

Automatic Data Processing

ADP

23,099

A+

500

Cadence Design Systems

CDN

4,600

B-

400

Flextronics

FLEX

7,715

NR

None

IBM Corp.

IBM

155,900

B

500

Intrado

TRDO

1,083

NR

None

Open Text

OTEX

788

NR

None

MATERIALS

Smurfit-Stone Container

SSCC

4,486

B-

None

Sealed Air

SEE

4,517

NR

500

TELECOM SERVICES

Nextel Partners

NXTP

2,951

NR

None

UTILITIES

Reliant Resources

RRI

1,815

NR

None

For more on the S&P PowerPicks 2004 portfolio, please visit

http://www.businessweek.com/investor/content/dec2003/pi20031226_5517_pi071.htm Shea is director of global equity research, and Gold a senior portfolio group analyst, for Standard & Poor's Equity Research


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