It's time for a little barrel-cleaning.
After a year of toiling in the world of small, underfollowed companies, we have built a list of more than 40 winners and losers. All of the companies have unique stories, some remain more relevant than others.
Thus, on this first anniversary of
Bottom of the Barrel
, we take an opportunity to bid adieu to a group of companies that no longer fit neatly into our barrel of stocks.
The criteria for elimination were completely subjective. However, last week I asked for your input regarding stocks to keep in the portfolio, and I didn't eliminate any stocks that received a dozen or more votes for inclusion.
I removed some companies for which there were no likely catalysts for meaningful movement in either direction in the coming months. I also took out those companies for which meaningful or recent information is difficult to come by.
In addition, I eliminated stocks that were in industries with other representatives in the portfolio, as well as stocks that were, in my mind, not compelling enough to write about further. Also, I tried to rebalance the portfolio in the above-average, average and below-average performance categories.
Finally, I pulled
from the portfolio because the stock has been halted since Aug. 22 amid a plethora of regulatory inquiries.
Following is a quick look at the names I pulled from the portfolio and my reasons.
is a nice play on the upscale, casual-dining space, but the economy has investors thinking its growth plan won't hold up. I love to eat at Champps, but I'll keep
, the owner of Longhorn Steakhouses, in the portfolio.
are both specialty technology companies with intriguing stories. VitalWorks has held nice gains, while Witness Systems started strong out of the
gate but fizzled. Both likely will remain near their current prices for the coming months.
, a specialty medical-malpractice insurance company, was destined to become a real winner when
cut back on its own medical-malpractice insurance business. But FPIC has failed to gain significant investor interest.
I hate to let
go, as it was the original barrel stock, but this roadway construction-equipment and technology company has been stuck at $18 as state highway-construction budgets have dried up. Doesn't look like that'll change anytime soon.
, the marketing logistics company, has never been on track since it was profiled in June. Hence, I remove it from the underperformers' club to make room for a more interesting name.
fits in the same category. And, from the beef jerky sector, we remove
was an idea play on the spring gardening season that never bloomed. Again, a recent member of the underperformer's club, this company can grow flowers but hasn't been very good at growing profits.
Finally, we remove
because the stock doesn't appear to have any catalyst to rebound after the 84% thrashing it has taken.
There you have it. The first dropout scorecard from the
Bottom of the Barrel
portfolio. Although we won't track these names week to week, I will update the performance on a quarterly basis in the quarterly report card.
The table of the remaining members of the portfolio and their performance from the date of the original profile follows. Next week, a look ahead to quarterly results for the remaining portfolio members and an outlook for the last three months of the year.
Christopher S. Edmonds is vice president and director of research at Pritchard Capital Partners, a New Orleans energy investment firm. He is based in Atlanta. At time of publication, neither Edmonds nor his firm held positions in any securities mentioned in this column, although holdings can change at any time. Under no circumstances does the information in this column represent a recommendation to buy or sell stocks. While Edmonds cannot provide investment advice or recommendations, he welcomes your feedback and invites you to send it to