2011 Stock Picks – Q1 Update

At the beginning of this year I joined a stock picking contest with some other top financial bloggers from the US and Canada.  I came into the year bullish and went all in with a diversified equity portfolio.  So far that plan seems to have been a good one and puts me in third place and nipping at the heals of first place (less than 1% below the top spot).  There was nothing fancy about these stock picks, just loading up with where I thought the overall markets would be going.  It’s a basic mixture of large, medium and small cap ETFs along with one international ETF too.

The trick that got me so high in the rankings so far (not counting my genius) is that I chose “Ultra” ETFs that attempt to double the daily return of the indexes they each track.  That might fly for me for another couple of months, but I don’t see the second half of the year being as easy to ride with such broad based ETFs.  I need to squeak out a bigger lead on the other six contestants by June or I might see my podium finish slip away from me.  Of course I still expect to come in first though.

These are my four top ETF picks for 2011:

  • SSO – Closed 12/31/10 at $48.05.  Closed 3/31/11 at $53.27
  • UWM – Closed 12/31/10 at $42.69.  Closed 3/31/11 at $49.24
  • MVV – Closed 12/31/10 at $63.68.  Closed 3/31/11 at $75.10
  • EET – Closed 12/31/10 at $109.55.  Closed 3/31/11 at $112.49

Be sure to check out these other blogs.  All the links will be updated as I receive them from the other writers.  This is the current ranking of blogs after the first quarter:

  1. TheFinancialBlogger:  12.41%
  2. MillionDollarJourney:  12.16%
  3. MyTradersJournal:  11.77%
  4. WhereDidAllMyMoneyGo:  5.13%
  5. BeatingTheIndex:  3.08%
  6. Intelligent Speculator:   1.66%
  7. DividendGrowthInvestor:   1.43%
  8. TheWildInvestor:   0.28%
  9. MoneySmartBlog:   -1.17%

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  1. Comment by toby

    EET eh? That one is a bit daring, love the rest of your picks good luck in the competition!

  2. Comment by Ronan

    Is INTC coming back into your radar yet? It’s currently trading in the low-mid $19’s meaning good premiums are obtainable at $19 – the strike at which your previous shares were called away in November.

    So far today, my only trade has been to sell a couple of CSCO May 17 Puts at $0.67. Given CSCO’s balance sheet and, in particular, it’s cash position, I don’t see it dropping much further.

    I’ve also got a limit order to close the Naked April 65 Call on AEM at $1.09 but it will only hit if AEM goes red today. If it hits, I’ll be left with a Naked April 62.50 Put and a total premium intake of $4.20 giving me a basis of $58.30 if assigned.

  3. Comment by Alex Fotopoulos

    @ Toby, I debated EET, but since we aren’t using real money for this contest I figured the risk was worth the potential gain.

    @ Ronan, What’s going on with INTC today? It looks like it broke support Friday and is falling deeper today. I don’t want to catch a falling knife. I put an alert in to let me know when it hits $19 again. I’ll consider it again then. I’ll start watching it more carefully though. You are probably right that it’s near a bottom.

  4. Comment by Ronan

    Not sure whether this was a good move yet but the risk/reward is sufficient for my portfolio.

    I’ve just sold an April 67.50 Call Option at $0.70 (after commissions).

    Having bought my April 65 Call yesterday at $1.09 ($1.10 after commissions), I’m now $2.10 better off to the upside.

    Considering todays trade alone, I need AEM to remain below $68.20 for it to be profitable.

    To the downside, I really would love to be assigned at a basis of $57.60.

    Regarding my other Positions:

    My DSX trades are looking good. I may be selling new Naked Puts after April expiry but it’s a close call.

    CSCO took a nice jump today and I’ve a limit order in to sell some May 18 Covered Calls – under the assumption (perhaps incorrectly) that my April 18 Naked Puts will be assigned.

    ENTR is still taking a beating but if it can hold $7.50 for April expiry, my basis will be $8.50 and I can sell some $7.50 Naked Puts and some $10 Covered Calls to reduce that further – premiums on ENTR are rich.

    ABT will be called away from me via my May 47 Covered Calls next week – it goes ex-dividend.

    My HI April 22.50 Covered Calls should expire worthless and I’m happy to sell further Covered Calls a quarter out and collect another dividend.

    ICE has dropped quite a bit lately but I’m going to wait for a potential pop before making any trades here.

    Like you, I’m short an ITRI April 55 Naked Put. It looks like it’ll be a close one so I’ll be selling Covered Calls or further Naked Puts.

    My KCG April 15 Covered Calls will expire worthless and I’ll sell further July 15 Covered Calls (consider it a dividend 🙂

    A couple of days after your post on QCOM, I sold a Naked Put but went for the April 52.50. It’ll be a close call and the plan is the same as that of ITRI.

    I’m taking an almighty hammering on LON:PIC which I bought at 184 (there’s always one). I’m holding for earnings as I like the company.

  5. Comment by Ronan

    Just opened a new position. Bought 2 BRK.B Jan 2013 70 Call Options at $18.50. I’m going to wait for a hopeful pop in price and then start selling some short-term Calls to bring down the cost.

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