Seeking Alpha

MagicDiligence's  Instablog

MagicDiligence
Send Message
MagicDiligence researches and recommends the most attractive value stock investing opportunities from Joel Greenblatt's Magic Formula Investing and similar screens. We use fundamental (and some technical) analysis to find equities of great companies with growth potential, outstanding management,... More
My company:
MagicDiligence.com
My blog:
MagicDiligence.com
  • This Simple Stock Strategy Crushed The Market In 2013 0 comments
    Jan 2, 2014 6:47 AM | about stocks: NUS, HLF, USNA, NOC, RTN, LMT, GD, CPLA, ESI, APOL

    For the 4th time in the 6 years we've followed it, Joel Greenblatt's Magic Formula® Investing (MFI) strategy (outlined in The Little Book that Beats the Market), clearly outperformed the S&P 500 benchmark.

    To measure its performance, I took the entire "Top 50 over 50 Million Market Cap" screen at the beginning of each month and pitted the average performance of its components against the SPY ETF through the end of the year. Here were the results.

    Magic Formula Investing vs. The S&P 500 in 2013
     

     

    DateMFISPYRelativeBestWorst
    1/2/2013+51.47%+27.73%+23.74%NUS (+278.48%)STRA (-39.47%)
    2/1/2013+43.63%+24.13%+19.50%NUS (+236.71%)BODY (-50.56%)
    3/1/2013+43.28%+24.47%+18.81%NUS (+235.00%)MBLX (-48.57%)
    4/1/2013+36.87%+21.58%+15.29%NUS (+216.51%)BTH (-42.13%)
    5/1/2013+29.65%+15.97%+13.68%GTAT (+125.91%)MBLX (-31.89%)
    6/3/2013+18.70%+9.23%+9.47%AGX (+75.99%)DXM (-61.84%)
    7/1/2013+21.14%+10.22%+10.92%AGX (+83.49%)DXM (-60.22%)
    8/2/2013+9.79%+5.09%+4.70%AGX (+72.47%)DXM (-56.74%)
    9/3/2013+12.56%+3.68%+8.88%AGX (+58.12%)MYGN (-20.95%)
    10/1/2013+7.17%+1.99%+5.18%EBIX (+46.51%)IDCC (-21.57%)
    11/1/2013+5.54%+4.46%+1.08%ENDP (+52.56%)IDCC (-17.56%)
    12/2/2013+3.40%+4.74%-1.34%DRCO (+60.56%)MYGN (-22.24%)
    Results Summary

    Clearly, the Magic Formula strategy did extremely well in 2013. The strategy's composite screen outperformed the S&P 500 in 11 of 12 months, by an average outperformance of 10.8%. Considering the S&P 500 was up almost 30% last year, that is quite an impressive outperformance!

    It is also a return to beating the market for MFI, after two consecutive years of underperformance. You can see our prior year reviews at the links below.

    Magic Formula Investing Results for 2012

    Magic Formula Investing Results for 2011

    Magic Formula Investing Results for 2010

    Magic Formula Investing Results for 2009

    Magic Formula Investing Results for 2008

    Three Trends that Drove these Results

    While the strategy's stocks in general performed well, there were 3 underlying industry trends that powered this year's excellent performance. MFI often screens several stocks within the same industry, so trends often play a large part in determining outcomes for the strategy.

    The Failed Short Attack in Multi-Level Marketing Firms

    2012 ended with hedge fund manager Bill Ackman's high profile short attack on multi-level marketing (MLM) firm Herbalife (HLF). This presentation send the stock down from the $50's to the low $30's, and other Magic Formula MLM firms like Nu Skin (NUS) and USANA Health Sciences (USNA) were dragged down with it. During the year though, the lack of any FTC action and continued profitable growth sent all three stocks soaring back to more reasonable valuations. HLF was up 168% on the year, NUS was up 228%, and USNA grew 112%.

    Sequestration Resolution Leads to Rebound in Defense Stocks

    After many months of uncertainty, defense spending sequestration finally became a reality in March. However, instead of hurting the "big 5" defense stocks (4 of which are Magic Formula staples), the removal of uncertainty became a catalyst. Despite, at best, mediocre business results, Northrop Grumman (NOC) was up 72% in 2013, Lockheed Martin (LMT) swelled 63%, Raytheon (RTN) 60%, and General Dynamics (GD) was up 41%.

    For-Profit Education Stocks Finally Bottomed

    For-profit education stocks have been part of MFI since 2010, and up until this year they had been a huge drag. Many of them suffered 60-80% declines in 2012! But we finally saw enrollment trends start to bottom late this year, and the stocks of most of these firms have begun to rebound. Capella (CPLA),ITT Education (ESI), and Apollo Group (APOL), all Magic Formula stocks throughout the year, grew 136%, 92%, and 34%, respectively, during 2013.

    On to 2014!

    Overall, it was a great year for stock investors, and an even better year for Magic Formula investors! Over the next week I'll review the MagicDiligence Top Buys portfolio performance vs. both the S&P and the MFI screens themselves, and offer up a few thoughts for the strategy in 2014. Get these and other updates by signing up for our weekly newsletter below!

    Happy New Year and all the best in investing for 2014!

Back To MagicDiligence's Instablog HomePage »

Instablogs are blogs which are instantly set up and networked within the Seeking Alpha community. Instablog posts are not selected, edited or screened by Seeking Alpha editors, in contrast to contributors' articles.

Comments (0)
Track new comments
Be the first to comment
Full index of posts »
Latest Followers

StockTalks

More »

Latest Comments


Posts by Themes
Instablogs are Seeking Alpha's free blogging platform customized for finance, with instant set up and exposure to millions of readers interested in the financial markets. Publish your own instablog in minutes.