Individual stock pickers rarely get the upper hand on a comparable market index. And on a risk-adjusted basis, the field dwindles to a handful.
Nevertheless, I am always intrigued by the "themes" and/or reasoning behind the selections. In fact, I am often in complete agreement with a thesis, even when I may differ on the best way to capture the upside potential.
For example, one writer/researcher whom I've been reading lately is Asif Suria, publisher of the SINLetter. Asif has been out in front on the global economic expansion with a number of holdings in the biotech, tech and consumer staples arena.
For example, too many people have been fearful of investing in Israeli companies. The political risk alone worries many a would-be investor. Yet Asif's newsletter portfolio has held pharmaceutical giant Teva (TEVA) and WiMax mega-star Alvarion (ALVR) for 27% and 111% gains respectively. (And we're talking about gains that have come in less than a year.)
For my clients, I might look to a more diversified approach to the Israeli economy. The closed-end ETF known as the First Israel Fund (ISL) has Teva Pharma as its top holding with a 10% weighting. It also has Checkpoint Software (CHKPF) and may or may not be acquiring shares of Alvarion (ALVR).
Admittedly, this is where individual stock picking and diversified exchange-traded funds part ways. If I am going to grab Israel, I am going to want a smoother ride with a 6% dividend from ISL. Others may like the extreme upside possibilities from an individual tech standout like Alvarion (ALVR).
SINLetter's Suria has a penchant for staples too. Not those in the U.S. per se, but those companies making money hand over fist abroad.
Still, I prefer to get these consumer goods stalwarts from the iShares S&P Global Consumer Staples Fund (KXI). The exchange-traded fund gives me the multinational flavor with the soap/toothpaste theme. (And it does so with less downside risk for my clients.)
ISL 1-yr chart: