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Sunday, 7 December 2003
"Six Months Ago" A longer term view from the week of May 26, 2003
Hello Friends! I hope everyone is having a great Sunday. Last week was hard on our trading portfolio. I suspect there was a lot of 'profit taking' as the experts say...but then again the market never moves just in one direction! As always, please remember to consult with your own investment advisor as stocks mentioned here may or may not be suitable for you and may in fact result in losses.

This is the third post looking at six months out. In awhile, if I have the stamina (!), we will start posting a year out (!) but that is still a few months away. During the week of May 26, 2003, I "picked" eight stocks: Westcorp (WES) at $24.41 on 5/27/03, Dearborn Bancorp (DEAR) at $22.50 on 5/27/03, Abercrombie & Fitch Co. (ANF) at $29.07 on 5/28/03, Krispy Kreme Doughnuts (KKD) at $34.35 on 5/28/03, Medical Staffing Network (MRN) at $7.52 on 5/29/03, Dollar General (DG) at $17.80 on 4/29/03, Hovnanian Enterprises (HOV) at $56.29 on 5/29/03, and Eon Labs (ELAB) at $29.55 on 5/30/03.

As always, you can refer to the 'original' posts, by clicking on the appropriate date on the calendar at the left of this column of posts...and by clicking on the months to get to May, 2003. Of these stocks, I currently only own shares of Eon Labs (ELAB) which has been very good to me. I was in and out of Krispy Kreme (KKD) and actually hit my 8% loss or so, and sold my shares.

Let's see how these stocks are doing as of close of business on Friday, 12/5/03. Westcorp closed Friday at $36.95. This was a gain of $12.54 or 51.4%. Looking at Yahoo for news, we find that WES reported net income of $29.3 million for the third quarter ended 9/30/03. This was a 35% gain from the prior year or $.64/diluted share this year vs $.55/diluted share last year. It appears they are right on track!

Dearborn closed on 12/5/03 at $19.35. This is a loss of ($3.15) or (14%). On October 21, 2003, as picked up by Yahoo.com, DEAR reported earnings for the third quarter ended 9/30/03. Earnings per share were up at $.36/share vs $.32/share last year. However, the stock price has not appreciated like some of our other stocks!

Abercrombie & Fitch has also struggled since our 'selection'. Currently ANF closed at $25.30 on 12/50/03. This is a loss of ($3.77) or (13%). In November, as reported by Motley Fool on Yahoo.com, ANF had same store sales DECLINES of 13%. As I have always emphasized, same store sales figures are key to future performance. We can see what is holding back this stock!

Krispy Kreme closed 12/5/03 at $38.66. This represents a gain of $4.31 or 12.5%. While there ARE concerns posted in the advisories on KKD, KKD did report results on 11/21/03 for the third quarter, as reported by Yahoo: net income was $14.5 million or $.23/share vs $10.1 million or $.17/share last year. Revenue was up 31% to $169.6 million from $129.1 million. So while some analysts may be correct in questioning the future performance of KKD, thus far, they are bringing in the "dough".

Medical Staffing Network closed 12/5/03 at $9.33. This is a gain of $1.81 or 24.1%. On 11/6/03, MRN reported thid quarter results: revenue was $123.7 million, a DECREASE of 2.0% from $126.3 million for the third quarter of 2002. Net income was $1.1 million or $.04/diluted share vs. $6.1 million or $.19/diluted share last year. These are NOT exciting results, and although can be explained, would qualify us to sell this stock as the growth in revenues/earnings are not continuing.

Dollar General closed 12/5/03 at $19.00. This is a gain of $1.20 or 6.7%. On December 4, 2003, per Yahoo.com from PRNewswire, DG reported same store sales growth of 1.7%, overall sales growth of 10.1%. Again, positive is better than negative, and this is not much to write home about. Would also put this on my watch-list to consider selling on any additional questionable developments.

Hovnanian has been a big winner for us (although I do not personally own any shares shucks). HOV closed Friday 12/5/03 at $95.16. This is a gain of $38.87 or 69.1%. On November 5, 2003, as reported on Yahoo.com, HOV reported net contracts were up 36% to 3,274 homes and that contract backlog had increased 49% to 5,764 homes compared to the same period in 2002. Again, I am but an amateur, but it appears that HOV is on track continuing its superb performance.

Finally Eon Labs (ELAB) has been a big winner for this website, and for my trading portfolio. ELAB closed Friday 12/5/03 at $52.99. This is a gain of $23.44 or 79.3%.

For our eight stocks that week over the six month period we have an average performance of a gain of 27.01%. Not too shabby for six months! But then again, the market was most cooperative!

Thanks again for stopping by. If you have any questions, comments, or words of encouragement, please feel free to email me at bobsadviceforstocks@lycos.com

Bob


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