|Fred Hickey's Picks||9.24%|
|Bill Gross's Picks||8.35%|
|Mario Gabelli's Picks||6.07%|
|Abby Joseph Cohen's Picks||-2.68%|
|Meryl Witmer's Picks||-3.94%|
|Oscar Schafer's Picks||-6.14%|
|Felix Zulauf's Picks||-13.28%|
|Scott Black's Picks||-13.64%|
|Marc Faber's Picks||-14.26%|
|Archie MacAllaster's Picks||-27.82%||-5.81% avg |
The publications own picks fared poorly as well, its bull picks losing 6.9%; its bearish picks fell 16.9%, however.
Touchdowns and Fumbles
By ANDREW BARY
Our bullish 2011 stock picks trailed the market, although our bearish calls did well. An A for PriceSmart and Mistras Group. An F for MF Global, RIM, Bank of America.
It wasn't a great year for Barron's bullish stock picks, but our bearish selections handily topped the market.
Shares of the 97 companies we wrote about favorably in 2011 fell, on average, 6.9%, compared with a 2.4% decline in their benchmarks, measured from the Friday before publication through year-end.
The disappointing 2011 showing came after two straight years in which our picks had beaten the market. We have been doing this report card annually since early 2004, with a tally of the prior year's picks and pans in January and a midyear update in July.
Our bullish picks trailed the averages in 2007 and 2008, but topped them each year from 2003 through 2006. For the performance of each of our stock picks and pans from recent years see—2011 Scorecard and 2010 Scorecard.
Our biggest 2011 winners were midsize companies like Price-Smart (ticker: PSMT), a fast-growing warehouse-club operator in the Caribbean and Latin America, and Mistras Group (MG), a provider of sensors to monitor the structural integrity of bridges, nuclear plants and other structures. Another touchdown: International Coal Group, which was acquired by Arch Coal (ACI) a few months after our bullish article ran last February.
We unfortunately had some big—at least 40%—losers, including MF Global, Research In Motion (RIMM), Bank of America (BAC), Nintendo (NTDOY) Juniper Networks (JNPR) and Morgan Stanley (MS). In our worst fumble, we were upbeat on former CEO Jon Corzine's effort to transform MF Global from a money-losing futures broker into a profitable, diversified securities outfit. Some losers have rallied in 2012, although both PriceSmart and Mistras are down from their year-end levels. It's early to judge many of our 2011 picks and pans, since we like to see how they do over 12 to 18 months.
Our bearish picks fell 16.9% on average, versus a 4.5% drop in their benchmarks. Of the 30 companies we panned, 21 declined, many substantially. We were correctly bearish on mortgage insurer PMI Group (PPMIQ), which filed for bankruptcy protection, and First Solar (FSLR), which was stung by a glut of solar panels. We also were skeptical on many hyped initial public offerings of companies with little or no profits, including those of LinkedIn (LNKD), Groupon (GRPN), Zipcar (ZIP) and Dunkin' Brands (DNKN), all of which have dropped.
Our worst bearish call was Questcor Pharmaceuticals (QCOR), which soared after we questioned its growth prospects a year ago. We gave up on that call in a follow-up article in May. If we decide to retract a bullish or bearish call, often by abandoning a loser, we stop the clock at the time the follow-up article appears, not at year-end.
Our tally doesn't include industry articles that deal with many companies. It also doesn't reflect our columnists' picks and pans; they do their own report cards. We try to measure stocks against appropriate benchmarks, using the Standard & Poor's 500 for large-cap companies, the S&P 400 Mid-Cap index for midsize companies, and the Russell 2000 for small stocks.
Some years ago, we did an exhaustive study of Barrons picks. Results were no better than 50-50.
Here are the individual picks from the experts summarized above:
|Scott Black's Picks|
|JoS. A. Bank Clothiers||JOSB||$40.49||$48.76||20.40%|
|China XD Plastics||CXDC||5.7||5.34||-6.30%|
|Abby Joseph Cohen's Picks|
|United Parcel Service||UPS||72.15||73.19||1.40%|
|Procter & Gamble*||PG||64.5||66.71||3.40%|
|Shangri-La Asia||0069.Hong Kong||HK$21.60||HK$ 13.40||-38.00%|
|*Goldman Sachs suspended coverage on 5/19/11, after analyst left firm.|
|Marc Faber's Picks|
|SouthGobi Resources||SGQ.Canada||C$13.50||C$ 6.00||-55.60%|
|SWISS INSURANCE STOCKS|
|Zurich Financial||ZURN.Switzerland||248.80CHF||212.50 CHF||-14.60%|
|Buy: Barrick Gold||ABX||49.1||45.25||-7.80%|
|Sell: Barrick Gold options*||4.15|
|Chang Mai Ram Medical**||CMR.Thailand||46.00baht||50.00 baht||8.70%|
|AEON Thana Sinsap||AEONTS.Thailand||32.5||28.5||-12.30%|
|Ascott Residence Trust||A68U.Singapore||S$ 1.24||S$ 0.99||-20.20%|
|Mitsubishi UFJ Financial||MTU||5.31||4.19||-21.10%|
|Market Vectors Gulf States Index||MES||$24.13||$19.56||-18.90%|
|Oslo Bors||OSLO.Norway||77.00NOK||59.00 NOK||-23.40%|
|*July 2011 50 calls were trading at $4.15 on 1/7/11 and the stock traded at $50.25 on call expiration date.|
|**Removed pick in June; stock was up 41.3% through 6/6/11.|
|Mario Gabelli's Picks|
|National Fuel Gas||NFG||68.39||55.58||-18.70%|
|Madison Square Garden||MSG||24.93||28.64||14.90%|
|Thomas & Betts||TNB||47.6||54.6||14.70%|
|Millicom International Cellular**||MIICF||95.98||100.99||8.60%|
|2011 Roundtable Report Card|
|*Fortune Brands changed its name to Beam in October 2011 and spun off its security business as Fortune Brands Home & Security (FBHS). Price change reflects a 12/30/11 closing price of $51.23 for BEAM and $17.03 for FBHS.|
|**Price change adjusted to reflect $3 special dividend paid in December 2011|
|Bill Gross's Picks|
|Ticker||1/7/11 Price/Yield||12/30/11 Price/Yield||Total Return|
|Pimco Corporate Opportunity Fund*||PTY||$17.17/12.0%||$17.37/11.9%||13.20%|
|Annaly Capital Management||NLY||$17.78/14.4%||$15.96/14.2%||3.50%|
|*Includes special dividend.|
|Fred Hickey's Picks|
|Sprott Physical Gold Trust||PHYS||$11.85||$13.80||16.50%|
|BONDS||1/7/11 Price/Yield||12/30/11 Price/Yield|
|2-Yr Canadian Government Bonds||$99.61/1.7%||$100.10/0.95%|
|Archie MacAllaster's Picks|
|Hartford Financial Services Warrants||HIG/WS||19.11||9.14||-52.20%|
|Delta Air Lines||DAL||13||8.09||-37.80%|
|Allied World Assurance||AWH||58.23||62.93||8.10%|
|Oscar Schafer's Picks|
|Sensata Technologies Holding||ST||$30.47||$26.28||-13.80%|
|Hertz Global Holdings||HTZ||14.39||11.72||-18.60%|
|Meryl Witmer's Picks|
|Six Flags Entertainment||SIX||28.29||41.24||45.80%|
|Felix Zulauf's Picks|
|CBOE VIX futures*||$21.00||$27.15||29.30%|
|iPath DJ-UBS Grains Subindex Total Return ETN||JJG||51.12||45.03||-11.90%|
|Uranium Participation||U.Canada||C$8.05||C$ 5.62||-30.20%|
|Italian government bond futures**||€ 109.10||€ 91.61||-16.00%|
|Euro Stoxx Bank Index futures**||158.9||99.2||-37.60%|
|*February 2011 contract and February 2012 contract|
|**March 2011 contract and March 2012 contract|
|Sources: Bloomberg, Pimco|