It was June 7, 2006 when I set up a tracking portfolio for our great eight stocks. AOL Money & Finance started BloggingStocks with a focus on these companies based on investor interest. Today, they still stimulate a lot of interest, and comments.
The following share prices are from the original tracking date now updated to last Friday's close, April 11, 2008. Earnings season is upon us again. The Iraq war is still in the headlines, as are the presidential elections, energy prices, recession fears and our latest calamity -- the shameful Washington/Wall Street axis of financial evil. Here are the BloggingStocks eight:
Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL) was $60.00 and is up to $147.14 gaining 145%.
eBay (NASDAQ: EBAY) was $32.00 and is down to $30.87 losing 3.35%.
General Electric (NYSE: GE) was $34.50 and is down to $32.05 losing 7.1%.
Google Inc. (NASDAQ: GOOG) was $380.00 and is up to $457.45 gaining 20.38%.
Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) was $22.50 and is up to $28.28 gaining 25.69%.
Time Warner (NYSE: TWX) was $17.50 and is down to $14.27 losing 18.46%.
Wal-Mart (NYSE: WMT) was $47.00 and is up to $54.80 gaining 16.6%.
Yahoo Inc. (NASDAQ: YHOO) was $31.00 and is down to $28.34 losing 8.58%.
So after 22 months we find four stocks are up and four stocks are down. Apple is the clear winner and remains the company to watch going forward. New trend-setting products are introduced regularly and few companies can match its inventiveness or marketing genius. Steve Jobs has hit a grand slam. Microsoft, the perennial cash generating machine, came in second with very strong results given the current state of the economy.
Among the surprises and the one I have taken the most flack for is that Google has not done very well in my eyes. It has been highly volatile and makes for a good trading stock, but if you add the dividend of 3.48% to Wal-Marts appreciation you have about the same growth with one tenth the downside risk.
eBay and GE are remarkable for having achieved nothing over our review period, and although they are down now I consider them break-even investments because they have been trading a few bucks higher and a few lower the entire period. Lots of promise, little results.
Lastly, Time Warner and Yahoo! are big disappointments. Time Warner (owner of BloggingStocks) has a new CEO and change is in the air. Yahoo! is in Microsoft's cross-hairs and looks like it will be something else in a few months. Ironically the two companies are in the midst of discussions to find a way to help each other out of their stagnation. I hope they succeed. Both have great franchises that are struggling to gain traction. Both must contend with Google and Microsoft.
Going forward Apple may be the best bet and Microsoft will probably continue to mint money. The others may just tread water for a while.
Sheldon Liber is the CEO of a small private investment company and the principal for design and research at an architecture & planning firm. He writes the columns Chasing Value and Serious Money. Disclosure: I own shares of EBAY, and TWX.