Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Portfolio A1 Falls as Mosaic’s Run Comes to an End

It was fun while it lasted, but it had to come to an end eventually. The Mosaic Company (MOS), which had run up an eye opening 176% in the first five months it was in Portfolio A1, is now gone from stable, victim of a rule that automatically culls any stock that falls 20% from the high recorded during the holding period. Also shown the door as a result of a 20% drop is Brazil Telecom Participacoes (BRP).

Replacing MOS and BRP are LG Philips LCD Co. (LPL) and Terra Industries (TRA). LG Philips LCD Co. is a Seoul-based $16 billion joint venture in the display business between two global giants, LG Electronics and Royal Philips Electronics. TRA, a nitrogen fertilizer company, demonstrates how some portfolio ‘rules’ can backfire, as this company is a direct competitor of Mosaic in the fertilizer business and at only 10% of Mosaic’s market capitalization is actually a much riskier play in this sector. Nevertheless, the stock ranker has spoken and TRA should do well if this week turns out to be a bottom. As far as the wisdom of holding an LCD manufacturer at a point where consumer demand appears to be drying up, I am skeptical, but this remains a 100% mechanical portfolio, where my perspective does not matter.

After falling 11.4% last week, Portfolio A1 is still sporting a 5% gain since the February 16, 2007 inception, considerably better than the 9% loss in the benchmark S&P 500 index during the same period.

There no other changes to the portfolio this week.

A snapshot of the Portfolio A1 is as follows:

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