January 21, 2015
FROM THE EDITOR
by Nancy Zambell
Editor of Dividend Digest and Investment Digest
from Investment Digest, Issue 765
Happy New Year! The markets in 2014 continued on their bullish path. Investors enjoyed double-digit gains from both the S&P 500 and NASDAQ indexes, and the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 7.5%.
Nine out of 11 Morningstar sectors were positive for the year, with healthcare, real estate, technology, utilities and financial services stocks leading the way. The only two losing sectors were basic materials and energy.
Earnings growth continued to support the market. According to FactSet, the industries that produced the highest earnings gains in 2014 were telecom, healthcare, industrials and utilities, while consumer discretionary, financials, consumer staples and energy brought up the rear.
Market momentum and earnings increases were just two of the positives that made 2014 a great year. We saw unemployment reduced significantly, a very good recovery in most housing markets, continued low inflation, and the Michigan Sentiment survey just came in at 98.2, reflecting a marked increase in sentiment during the course of the year.
Most of our contributors continue to be bullish, although, as you’ll see in our Market Views, they’ve begun looking beyond the U.S. market, and they also see gold as a possible comeback kid this year.
Our contributors added to their stock-picking successes last year, with our Top Five Picks averaging a return of 36.6%, trouncing the gains of the broad markets! Congratulations to all of our advisors, but a special shout-out to #1 Kevin Kennedy of The Coolcat Explosive Small Cap Growth Stock Report, for his winning trade of Abraxas Petroleum (up 75.90%).
In this 2015 Top Picks issue, you’ll find that our contributors have gathered another wide-ranging selection of stocks to help you repeat your successes of last year. Technology was a favorite choice for the new year, with a mix of software, hardware, Internet and social media companies recommended. Healthcare remains a top pick for 2015, especially biotechs and technology-driven companies.
With most energy companies trading at rock-bottom levels, you won’t be surprised to find an array of energy stocks in this issue—from household names to very small caps.
Our contributors also went bargain-hunting in other industries that underperformed last year—such as the financial and consumer sectors—finding a nice selection of companies for your review.
Gold continued to be volatile last year, ending the year close to where it started, though two of our contributors have opposing viewpoints for its fate in 2015. Our value selections include a turnaround company, a business that provides important services to the healthcare industry, and a worldwide hospitality company. Retail sales rose about 4% in 2014, and industry pundits expect them to increase by 4.5% this year. That bodes well for our three retail picks.
Our Funds and ETFs section includes a bet on rising rates and a recommendation for mid- and large-cap stocks.
Our Value stocks continue to look attractive, and you’ll find a nice array of funds and ETFs to help you diversify your portfolios.
We hope you enjoy this issue, and invite you to share your investment strategy questions and comments with us. And don’t forget to visit our website for a growing library of educational articles and videos.
P.S. If you’ll be in Florida in February, I invite you to join me at the MoneyShow in Orlando, February 4-7 at the Gaylord Palms Resort. I hope you’ll stop by our kiosk to say hi. And I’d love to see you at my programs, Investing in Special Situations on Friday, February 6 at 5pm, and How to Find the Highest Yielding (and Safest) Stocks on Saturday, February 7 at 12:30 pm.