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Holiday Portfolio: Give Thanks for Gains

Happy Thanksgiving.

On this day reserved for the three F's -- family, friends and football -- it's time to revisit the Holiday Portfolio. After a slow start, the summer and fall have been good to equity investors. For that, we give thanks.

Before diving into specifics, let's review the purpose and process of the Holiday Portfolio.

Six Stocks, 12 Months

The concept is simple: I select a group of five stocks that I believe deserve watching over the next 12 months, readers pick one and I follow them -- regardless of their performance -- throughout the year. I'll revisit the portfolio on each market holiday and, at times, make comments about the stocks on RealMoney's Columnist Conversation. The only way a stock is removed from the portfolio is if it merges with another company or ceases to trade on a major exchange.

The portfolio serves two purposes. First, it follows the fundamental progress of a group of stocks over a lengthy period of time. My hope is that the portfolio will serve as a forum for in-depth discussion of investment decisions and company strategy and reinforce the importance of ongoing portfolio analysis. Second, it provides an opportunity to look at both short-term trading strategies and longer-term investment strategies with the same stocks.

So, as you enjoy that extra turkey leg or second piece of pumpkin pie, take a look at the stocks in this year's bountiful basket.

Banking Profits

The leading performer in this year's Holiday Portfolio is Compass Bancshares (CBSS), a Southern regional bank that has gotten a boost from a strong regional economy and a solid rally in many of the larger regional banks.

The stock has come in just a bit since Labor Day , but remains a solid performer. Regional banks should continue to perform well, although Compass shares now trade more in line with its peers. Banks like Compass, especially with a strong branch network and good expense and bottom-line management, will likely keep getting attention into the new year.

Company & Ticker Recent Price Price 12/31/2005 Change YTD Dividend Yield at Cost Current Yield
Altria (MO:NYSE) $84.11 $74.72 12.57% $3.44 4.60% 4.09%
Chesapeake Energy (CHK:NYSE) $32.90 $31.73 3.69% $0.24 0.76% 0.73%
Compass Bancshares (CBSS:Nasdaq) $57.10 $48.25 18.34% $1.56 3.23% 2.73%
Microsoft (MSFT:Nasdaq) $29.92 $26.15 14.42% $0.36 1.38% 1.20%
Pfizer (PFE:NYSE) $26.95 $23.32 15.57% $0.96 4.12% 3.56%
General Electric (GE:NYSE) $35.80 $35.05 2.14% $1.00 2.85% 2.79%
Portfolio Performance Y-T-D 11.12% 2.82% 2.52%
S&P 500 Y-T-D 12.38%
Source: TSC Research

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