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What I’ve Been Buying and Selling This Quarter (Feb): Covidien plc (COV), Colgate-Palmolive Company (CL), Cognex Corporation (CGNX)

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It’s the start of a new month and time to review quarterly performance and more importantly whether the process of writing investment thoughts out here and on my blog is helping performance or not. It was a decent performance in the quarter, up 12.3% vs. 6.9% for the S&P 500. For the sake of brevity I’m not going into my strategy, but you can find out more in the last write-up linked here.

In truth this month was a titanic struggle to make a positive return and I eked out a positive .5% leasing to a 73% year on year return. It was tough because so many stocks hit price targets and most of the cheap stuff (or rather what I found) was in technology. For risk management reasons I don’t like to be overweight any one sector or theme. I’ll update the current portfolio on my blog in the next few days.

Covidien plc (NYSE:COV)As usual I will assess the stocks written about in November with the performance since the article, a link to the article and then some commentary. The stocks I took positions in are in bold.

Company View+Link Performance Since Article (%)
Nice Systems Buy 5.2
Wabtec Buy 18.2
Covidien (NYSE:COV) Buy 12
Allergan Buy 18.2
Home Depot Buy 9.7
TJX Companies Buy 5.6
Intuit Buy 7.7
Williams-Sonoma Buy 3.2
Cree (NASDAQ:CREE) Positive 32.5
Autodesk Positive 13.8
Lowe’s Companies Positive 7.8
Perrigo Evaluation 10.1
Colgate-Palmolive (NYSE:CL) Evaluation 8.3
Sirona Dental Systems Evaluation 11.5
Beacon Roofing Supply Evaluation 16.6
Coach Caution -17.3
ADP Caution 10.5
Cognex (NASDAQ:CGNX) Caution 17.8
Rackspace Caution -12
Agilent Caution 10.3
Whole Foods Caution -9
Heinz Caution 20.1
Campbell Soup Caution 12.4
Dover Corp Caution 13.5
Pall Corp Caution 12.6
Yum Brands Caution -2.3

The ‘buy’ stocks performance averaged 10% with the ‘positive’ stocks hit 18.1%. Meanwhile, the ‘evaluation’stocks returned 11.7% while the ‘caution’ stocks returned 5.1%. Of course the index was up 6.9% so we should expect good returns. In general I’m pleased with the results. I avoided some underperformance with caution but missed on some returns by being overly strict on evaluation. As for the outperformance of the positive stocks (things I liked but was trying to be a smart arse and get a better entry point for) this a lesson I never seem to learn!

Stocks Commentary, Those I Liked

Westinghouse Air Brake Technologies Corp (NYSE:WAB), Covidien plc (NYSE:COV) and Allergan, Inc. (NYSE:AGN) were all part of the complex of stocks sold off after they hit their price targets. All three are great companies, and their recent results confirmed their strong long term growth prospects. Covidien plc (NYSE:COV) is probably the most interesting. It raised guidance recently, and with General Electric Company (NYSE:GE) and others reporting good growth in health care within emerging markets I think Covidien plc (NYSE:COV) is well placed. Its Minimally Invasive Surgery (MIS) solutions help clinics reduce costs and its key Energy, Endomechanical and Vascualar products are reporting high single digit growth. It has a nice mix of near and long term growth drivers.

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