Markets & Finance

Shares That Start Strong


By Numer de Guia, CFA This week, we're going to try something a little different and take a long-term view of a short-term phenomenon. To wit: Which stocks have done the best in the first quarter of the calendar year -- in each year of a multiyear period? While there are no guarantees, identifying attractive stocks that have shown seasonal strength -- even in down years -- can be useful in deciding which shares to buy as 2005 gets underway.

We started by looking for those companies that have posted a positive

total return -- capital appreciation plus dividends -- in the first quarter of every calendar year since 2000. To add to their appeal, each stock on the list has to pay a quarterly dividend.

Furthermore, those names have to jump through one final hoop. To make sure they show good potential for gains beyond the first quarter, each has to carry an S&P investment ranking of 4 STARS (buy) or 5 STARS (strong buy). S&P equity analysts expect stocks with those designations to outperform the overall market in the next 6 to 12 months.

Eighteen names made the cut. The average current

dividend yield of these stocks is 3.69%, and the range is 0.18% to 8.9%. Note also the heavy presence of

real estate investment trusts on the list.

Dividend-Paying First Quarter Winners

Company

Ticker

S&P STARS Rank

American Capital Strategies

ACAS

4

Glimcher Realty Trust

GRT

4

Istar Financial

SFI

4

Sovran Self Storage

SSS

4

Developers Diversified Realty

DDR

4

CBL & Associates

CBL

5

Macerich Co.

MAC

4

Acadia Realty Trust

AKR

4

Simon Property Group

SPG

5

Taubman Centers

TCO

4

Pan Pacific Retail Properties

PNP

4

Bank of Hawaii

BOH

4

McCormick & Co.

MKC

4

SCP Pool

POOL

4

BJ Services

BJS

4

Liz Claiborne

LIZ

4

Finish Line

FINL

4

Stryker Corp.

SYK

4

De Guia is an analyst for Standard & Poor's Portfolio Advisors


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