Barron's Roundtable - New Picks and a Mid-Year Review

by: Dirk Quayle, CFA

Barron's most recent issue provides new picks from the Roundtable analysts for the 2nd half of 2011, some of which are highlighted below. Barron's also provides a scorecard for the picks made back in January 2011 but the returns do not consider dividends and don't compare against appropriate benchmarks (small cap vs small cap index, etc.). Below is a summary of the performance of nine of the Barron's roundtable participants for 2011, and where possible, performance of their 2010 picks. I've also highlighted two of the analysts - Oscar Schafer and Meryl Witmer, and provided more detailed information on their most recent picks and the January 2011 picks.

(Click to enlarge)

The two best performers year to date are Oscar Schafer and Meryl Witmer, both with a majority of small cap stock picks. The other participant with mostly small cap picks was Scott Black. MacAllaster, Gabelli, Cohen and Hickey all chose primarily large cap stocks. MacAllaster focused on large cap financials, which again are disappointing in 2011. Hickey made a large bet on precious metals stocks. Faber's picks were primarily oil and precious metals. Bill Gross picked a closed end bond fund that he manages (which I wrote about previously) and a mortgage REIT.

Maryl Witmer

Meryl Witmer is adding 2 new picks at mid-year, Macquarie Infrastructure (NYSE:MIC) and Innophos (NASDAQ:IPHS) to the 5 picks she made in January 2011 (see below). From her perspective, MIC is significantly undervalued, and provides a solid 3.2% dividend while waiting to unlock the value. IPHS is an undervalued specialty chemicals manufacturer. Here is the status of her January 2011 picks:

(Click to enlarge)

Oscar Schafer

Oscar added three new picks to the five he made in January. For Xerox (NYSE:XRX) he likes the transformation of the company to a tech services business model. TE Connectivity (NYSE:TEL), is a pick that based on a continuation of growth in automobile electronics, a theme consistent with his previous picks this year Sensata Technologies (NYSE:ST), NXP Semiconductors (NASDAQ:NXPI), both of which are up for the year and beating their benchmarks. His third pick, Salix Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ:SLXP), is a speciality pharma company that disappointed with a recent failure to obtain FDA approval for a key drug. He feels it is still well positioned to address a large market for irritable bowel syndrome, and to potentially be a takeover target. Here is an update on Oscar's January picks and their performance:

(Click to enlarge)

For additional analysis of other Roundtable participants you can view their performance at To better track your own performance and measure against the appropriate benchmarks try out the LikeAssets application available in the Seeking Alpha app store.

Disclosure: I have no positions in any stocks mentioned, and no plans to initiate any positions within the next 72 hours.