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Stockpickr: You Can Beat the 'Spinoff' ETF

Editor's Note: Stockpickr is a new joint venture with TheStreet.com that lets you see the stocks that hedge funds, mutual funds and other investors are holding, and every day James Altucher goes through various portfolios that he believes can be of value to investors. To make use of the full features of Stockpickr, please check out our introductory article, which describes all of the site's features.

I think I'm in love.

If I were 30 years old again, I might ask the Claymore/Clear Spinoff (CSD) ETF to marry me.

Exchange-traded funds are no longer the run-of-the-mill, let's-buy-every-stock variety like the Spyder Trust (SPY) (the S&P 500 ETF) or the Nasdaq 100 Trust (QQQQ) (the Nasdaq 100 ETF). The latest exchange-traded funds to be released to the public have upped the ante a notch and are now playing for bigger stakes. They want to enter the arena of discretionary allocations that big pension funds give to mutual funds and hedge funds. They want to be players.

However, I believe we can examine these ETFs and pick and choose from their holdings the stocks we like best. One way to do that is to look at the hedge funds, mutual funds and other investors who are accumulating each stock in the ETF.

One recent entrant into the ETF race that has been the source of my "stock idea lust" is the Claymore/Clear Spinoff ETF. Spinoffs are companies that are subsidiaries or used to be subsidiaries of other public companies. They get spun out to the public through an initial public offering, and oftentimes there is artificial selling pressure.

This was famously pointed out in super-investor Joel Greenblatt's book You Can Be a Stock Market Genius. He stated that selling pressure could arise because people who wanted to hold the parent company (for instance, an ETF that follows an index) might not be allowed to hold the spinoff stock (because the spinoff is not part of the index the ETF is following), so they are forced to sell off the shares. (As an aside, here's a look at Joel Greenblatt's top holdings, which I plan to discuss at some point in the future.)

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