My 2009 Buy List: Year-End Report

by: Eddy Elfenbein

Trading for the year 2009 is now over. Overall, we had a very good year. The 20 stocks on the Crossing Wall Street Buy List were up an average of 43.97%. This beat the overall market by a good margin. For the year, the S&P 500 was up 23.45%.

Including dividends, the Buy List was up 45.83% compared with 26.46% for the S&P 500. The Buy List’s dividend yield works out 1.29% compared with 2.44% for the S&P 500. This was our best year by far and it was the third straight year that we’ve beaten the S&P 500.

For the entire four-year history of the Buy List, we’ve made 14.93% compared with -2.68% for the S&P 500 (including dividends). Best of all, our annual turnover has been just 25% which means we change just five stocks a year. Our four-year "beta" is 0.9396.

I’ll restate the Buy List rules. Each year, the Buy List consists of 20 stocks that I’m not allowed to change throughout the year. Once the list is set, it’s locked in place until the following December 31. I announce the change each year around the middle of December. Each year, I only have five new buys and sells. For tracking purposes, I assume the Buy List is equally weighted among the 20 positions in a hypothetical $1 million portfolio. You can check the performance of the Buy List anytime 24/7 at our Buy List page.

My goal is to show investors that by choosing stocks wisely and sticking with high-quality stocks, you can beat the market—and that’s exactly what we’ve done. I try to beat the market by a few percentage points and to do it with less risk.

For 2009, our daily volatility was slightly greater than the S&P 500 coming in at 4.44% more volatile. The last two years, we were less volatile than the market. For 2009, our beta was 0.9834.

Eighteen of our 20 stocks closed higher for the year. Only Moog (MOG-A) and Eli Lilly (LLY) lost money. The big winner was Nicholas Financial (NICK) which gained 222% for us. NICK was our biggest loser in 2008 (I’m glad I stuck with it). Our other big winners were Cognizant Technology Solutions (CTSH) which gained 151% and Amphenol (APH) which gained 92%. I’m dropping both stocks for 2010.

Just in case anyone doubts my math, this spreadsheet has all the numbers for the Buy List. There was (thankfully) one only accounting item this year when Nicholas Financial had a 10% stock dividend.


Go to My 2010 Buy List >>