Stock picking results

I am a stock picker. I learned at my daddy's knee, and have spent a life looking for the best growth stocks. This doesn't require constant vigilance, but I do have to sit and review things from time to time. Today, the SRC Orange and Blue books arrived, so I sat and scanned.

I scanned some 3,000 stock charts over an hour or so in the SRC books. These have been published by the Securities Research Company since the 1930s. The Blue book has NYSE and AMEX stocks, the Orange has NASDAQ.

These are not just any stock charts. They are beautiful pieces of information display design. They show the stock price, dividend, earnings, and other items for the past twelve years. (The Brown book shows 35 years, and I buy one once in a while. This shows what real growth stocks look like.)

The most important data on the graph is the earnings data. Where the earnings go, the stock price will eventually follow. They are shown together in scale, so you can see at a glance the variations in the P/E ratios---i.e. how expensive is a stock.

Here are the high spots of the latest scan. You are welcome to follow me with these stocks, of course, but don't give me grief if you (or I) hold them too long. I am not your paid investment advisor.

Most reliable stock: Church and Dwight (CHD). The earnings have been growing for a nice steady 15% or better for much longer than the 12 years shown. The price has steadily followed suit, even through the unpleasantness of 2008. This is a stock that you buy and forget. Bicarbonate of soda. Go figure.

Apple, AAPL: earnings growing around 72% as of yesterday, and Steve is out sick, maybe for the duration. A 70% grower might have a PE of 70, but Apple's forward PE is a bit less than 15. This is a cheap stock. Steve's health is already baked in, as are a number of grumpy scenarios. And maybe they will dump some of that vast cash horde in a big ex-dividend.

Cognizant Tech, CTSH. Earnings growth of better than 30% per year for more than 12 years, nice and steady. They handle software outsourcing to those go-getters in India. We really don't have enough good programmers here, and can use the help.

Surprise grower I have to research: EBIX (EBIX). 50% earnings growth since 2005. Trailing PE of 15 throughout. "Software adn Internet-based solutions for the insurance industry." It was a rotten company before that.

Express Scripts (ESRX). Thirty percent earnings growth for at least 12 years. I owned some for a while, and should have kept it. It's not too late.

Green Mountain Coffee Roasters (GMCR). 50% earnings growth annually since 2005, and the price has followed suit. This one's a bit pricey, but worth a look.

Ditto priceline (PCLN), 50% since 2003. The company has always struck me as a bit shabby, but this chart isn't.

Stericycle (SRCL), medical disposal. I have owned it from time to time, and shoudda kept it. 20% since the early 2000s.

We own a lot of AAPL and CTSH. And a chunk of Ford, who does not have the chart we usually look for, but seems to have the auto bull by the horns. Already made a nice little profit on Ford, but I am gun-shy.

Keeping an eye on CNQ

Biggest disappointment: QSII. I have owned it for a while, and it has been okay, but the earnings progress isn't so hot. I will dump it in the morning.

Not a lot of stocks in this list. Why? Most stocks are not worth owning.

What about diversification, the mantra since "portfolio theory" in the 1950s, and, of course, a lot longer ago than that? My Dad said no. "Too much of a good thing is wonderful!" (quoting Mae West) If you are going to pick 50 stocks, go for and index fund (which haven't actually been so hot since the Clinton era) or a mutual fund, and let someone else spend their evenings going through 3,000 charts. The WSJ wouldn't print the Mae West quote. "We are a family newspaper."

We do have cash in the account, which is to say, GLD, the Obama-proof kind of cash. We had a 13% mortgage in 1982 thanks to Jimmy Carter. This is going to be as bad.