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At the beginning of the year I made a list of picks and pans for the year which I planned to review at the end of each month. The purpose of this exercise was to provide ideas for your own research, some potential opportunities for 2009, as well as some companies I feel are best avoided. We're five months into the year now and there has been a lot of movement across the board.

Interestingly, had I owned real life positions in a number of these stocks, I would've most likely gotten out while the going was good. For instance, shares in Anadys Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ:ANDS) skyrocketed over 300% on positive clinical data before losing most of their gains a few months later following a poor earnings statement. A gain that large in the biotech arena would've been too much for me to resist and I would've been out of there right away! However, for the purpose of this exercise there will be no changing of picks, no matter what happens to the underlying companies.

So here are the performances for 2009 to date.

My Long Picks for 2009, with 05/31/09 closing prices

Himax Technologies (NASDAQ:HIMX) - $3.63 (+125.47%)
Yanzhou Coal (NYSE:YZC) - $12.63 (+67.95%)
Anadys Pharmaceuticals (ANDS) - $2.22 (+41.40%)
Quicksilver Gas Services LP (KGS) - $13.00 (+37.13%)
Urban Outfitters (NASDAQ:URBN) - $20.42 (+36.32%)
Natural Resources Partners LP (NYSE:NRP) - $23.66 (+35.59%)
Dorchester Minerals LP (NASDAQ:DMLP) - $20.49 (+29.11%)
Ecology & Environment (NASDAQ:EEI) - $14.22 (+18.70%)
Raven Industries (NASDAQ:RAVN) - $27.46 (+13.94%)
Versar, Inc. (NYSEMKT:VSR) - $4.52 (+9.71%)
Chase Corporation (NYSEMKT:CCF) - $11.70 (+3.63%)
Highveld Steel and Vanadium (HSVLY) - $7.85 (+2.21%)
Hugoton Royalty Trust (NYSE:HGT) - $13.88 (-13.52%)
UFP Technologies (NASDAQ:UFPT) - $4.16 (-21.36%)

Shares in Himax Technologies (HIMX) continued to rise from $2.73 to $3.63 this month despite reporting a huge slump in earnings revenue. The company is expecting a recovery in Q2 prompting the move in the share price. The top performer of the month was Versar, Inc. (VSR) moving from $2.60 to $4.52, following the announcement that the company would receive stimulus money as part of an alternative energy study. Dorchester Minerals (DMLP) and Hugoton Royalty Trust (HGT) both put in significant moves this month. I continue to be bullish on commodities which I still believe will be one of the few sectors that will finish the year on a high note. Raven Industries (RAVN) announced a dividend increase this month, something of a rare commodity in these times, leading to a moderate movement in the share price.

Not so stellar was the performance of United Foam Technologies (UFPT), falling from $5.05 to $4.16 and currently sitting bottom of the pile in my long picks for the year. The move is largely due to a drop in sales and revenue, however, I still believe the company has a strong balance sheet and will emerge from the current crisis as a strong player in the industry.

My Short Picks for 2009, with 05/31/09 closing prices

Office Depot (NYSE:ODP) - $4.66 (+56.38%)
Ann Taylor Stores (NYSE:ANN) - $7.32 (+45.24%)
Red Robin Gourmet Burgers (NASDAQ:RRGB) - $17.30 (+2.79%)
Build-A-Bear Workshop (NYSE:BBW) - $4.48 (-7.82%)
La-Z-Boy (NYSE:LZB) - $1.87 (-13.82%)
Bank of America (NYSE:BAC) - $11.27 (-19.96%)
LaCrosse Footwear (NASDAQ:BOOT) - $9.40 (-24.68%)
Citigroup (NYSE:C) - $3.72 (-44.56%)
Mercantile Bancorp (NYSEMKT:MBR) - $5.65 (-46.45%)
Converted Organics (Pending:COIN) - $1.48 (-58.19%)
Circuit City (OTC:CCTYQ) - $0.021 (-84.62%) - Bankrupt
Smurfit Stone Container Corporation (NYSE:SSCC) - $0.00 (-100%) - Bankrupt

As a group my short picks continued to rally this month, despite poor fundamentals. I think this is a trend that we will shortly see reversed as the bear market rally gives way to the next leg down. The biggest mover of the month was Office Depot (ODP) moving from $2.70 to $4.66 following a number of analyst upgrades, while La-Z-Boy (LZB) retraced most of last month's impressive gains. Office Depot (ODP) has made an impressive recovery from close to $1 a share back in March so I'm beginning to suspect that its days as a good short pick may be behind us.

Well, I will review the list again at the end of June to see how my picks and pans are performing. Until then, happy investing!

Disclosure: At the time of writing the author held shares in Highveld Steel and Vanadium (HSVLY), Himax Technologies (HIMX), Hugoton Royalty Trust (HGT), Yanzhou Coal (YZC), UFP Technologies (UFPT), and Versar, Inc. (VSR).

Source: 2009 Picks and Pans: Five Month Update