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Continuing a "tradition" of anticipating (or simply taking credit for) a number of sell side upgrades of stocks in our model portfolio, we point to DeVry, Inc. (NYSE:DV) today (Tuesday), which was upgraded today by Credit Suisse. The upgrade helped the stock lead our "high-quality" portfolio today with a 10.25% return.

According to Barron's, the DV upgrade was based on a "favorable decision by the Department of Education... which may fuel more investor optimism." More specifically, according to BusinessWeek, "...the U.S. government may loosen proposed rules that would restrict companies’ eligibility for federal student aid." While we try to figure out how to take credit for the government's decision, we would just note that when good things happen to good companies that we hold in a model portfolio, it is just icing on the cake.

Meanwhile, Avon Products, Inc. (NYSE:AVP) led "low-quality" stocks lower Tuesday, moving down 7.97% as the company suspended four executives on bribery charges. We would note that bribery charges did not hurt Siemens AG (SI) stock price back in 2006 when it nearly doubled from $80 that summer to nearly $160 the next year. Unlike "price fixing" charges which can destroy companies (e.g., UCAR International), our off-the-cuff analysis is that we do not see how bribery charges could limit the company's long-term prospects in China. So we urge investors to continue to focus on the numbers, whichever way it takes them.

Ascendere Long / Short Strategy Daily Update

'High-quality' stocks in the unlevered long portfolio rose 0.41% and 'low-quality' stocks in the unlevered short portfolio declined -0.35% on Tuesday, April 13, 2010.

For the MTD, 'high-quality' stocks in the unlevered long portfolio are up 3.59%, ahead of the S&P 500 (ex dividends) at 2.38%. 'Low-quality' stocks in the unlevered short portfolio are up even more for the MTD at 4.59%.

Market Neutral Portfolio

As a result of Tuesday's moves, the Market Neutral Model Portfolio increased 0.76% Tuesday, and is now down -1.02% MTD.

Moderate Long / Short Portfolio

Given the 120/80 long / short weighting in the Moderate Long / Short Model Portfolio, it appreciated 0.77% overall for the day. The Moderate portfolio performance is now up 0.60% MTD versus 2.38% for the S&P 500, excluding dividends.

The Moderate Long portfolio is up 4.32% for the month and the Moderate Short portfolio is down -3.60%.

Aggressive Long / Short Portfolio

Given the 200/0 long / short weighting in the Aggressive Long / Short Model Portfolio, it appreciated 0.82% overall for the day. The Aggressive portfolio performance is now up 7.28% MTD versus 2.38% for the S&P 500, excluding dividends.

'High-Quality' Long Stocks Performance

The best daily performers in the long portfolio included DeVry, Inc. (DV) up 10.25%, Coca-Cola FEMSA S.A.B de CV (NYSE:KOF) up 5.57%, and Oshkosh Corporation (NYSE:OSK) up 5.22%.

The worst daily performers in the long portfolio included Seagate Technology (NASDAQ:STX) down -3.67%, Ultrapar Holdings Inc. (NYSE:UGP) down -2.26%, and Flextronics International Ltd. (NASDAQ:FLEX) down -2.22%.

'Low-Quality' Short Stocks Performance

The best daily performers in the short portfolio included Avon Products Inc. (AVP) down -7.97%, Focus Media Holding Ltd. (NASDAQ:FMCN) down -2.97%, and Bunge Ltd. (NYSE:BG) down -2.95%.

The worst daily performers in the short portfolio included Duke Realty Corp. (NYSE:DRE) up 2.54%, Petrohawk Energy Corp. (NYSE:HK) up 2.52%, and MGM Mirage (NYSE:MGM) up 2.46%.

Our Long/Short indicator remains strongly net long.

About the Model Portfolio

The Ascendere Long/Short Model Portfolio Strategies are "tactical tilt" portfolios that buy the highest quality stocks and sell the lowest quality stocks while maintaining a net long or net short position at all times. They are composed of about 80-100 stocks and rebalanced monthly.

Investors focusing on daily moves could find monitoring daily performance of our model portfolio useful as a proxy for what is working in the market in general as viewed through the lens of "high-quality" versus "low-quality" stocks.

In addition, daily readers can be apprised to changes in our proprietary long / short indicator, which has been successful at capturing general trends in the market.

Daily-Ascendere-Associates-2010-04-13

Disclosure: None

Source: Devry Leads 'High-Quality' Higher; Avon Leads 'Low-Quality' Lower