With the markets in turmoil,
Portfolio Planners could be excused for making wholesale changes to their mutual fund lineups.
But by and large, the four have opted to stick to their guns with a few minor adjustments. "If you keep changing your strategy, you're rudderless," says Roxanne Fleszar of
Financial Resources Management
in Peabody, Mass.
"Sometimes it's harder not to do anything," seconds Ron Roge of
R.W. Roge & Co.
in Bohemia, N.Y.
Still, there are indications of some queasiness from the recent jerky ride that the
has given investors.
Within technology, some of the managers are making a shift into larger-capitalization names, which held up better during the recent tech rout.
Hayden Financial Group
in Westport, Conn., for example, still likes the
family of funds, skippered by Kevin Landis. But he's jettisoning the firm's flagship
Technology Value fund from his Empty-Nesters Portfolio and substituting
Firsthand Technology Leaders, which concentrates on technology's larger players.
And Louis Stanasolovich of
Legend Financial Advisors
in Pittsburgh thinks real estate investment trusts may be poised for a comeback and wants to be ready, so he's adding a second real estate sector fund,
CGM Realty, to his Family Values Portfolio.
All of these portfolios began life on Jan. 1, 1999 with a hypothetical $100,000. But as we always point out, the goal of these portfolios is not to beat any particular benchmark but to meet the needs of their fictitious owners. For a detailed look at each of the planners' portfolios, see the
Scoreboard. And for more on the ground rules, see our
introduction to the series.
Of course, the four portfolios don't fit everyone's situation, so we occasionally ask a planner to suggest a makeover for a reader's portfolio. This time, Barbara DeMartini of
Ventur Asset Management
in Locust Valley, N.Y.,
helps fine-tune the investments of a couple nearing retirement.
Now let's take a look how each of our fictional portfolios did in the first quarter, when stocks reigned. Keep in mind that one month into the second quarter, the picture looks significantly different and many of the biggest gainers are in the red.
Unlimited Future Portfolio
Though this is the portfolio for our imaginary 28-year-old with a long time horizon, it gained the least during the quarter. It was up just 4.4% in a period of pretty amazing returns for high-growth companies. (Remember Nasdaq 5000? It happened last quarter). The portfolio was weighed down by some laggards like
Weitz Value, which lost 3.2% and
UMB Scout Worldwide, which added only 1.6% during the quarter.
Despite those results and the recent volatility (or because of it), Fleszar isn't making any changes. Instead, she's taking some gains off the table and rebalancing the portfolio back to where it was on Jan. 1.
She'll maintain an equal weighting between growth and value, represented by the
Janus Twenty and Weitz Value funds. "I'm not going to make a sector bet as to whether growth or value is better," she says.
Three months ago, Fleszar added Marty Whitman's $1.6 billion
Third Avenue Value, a deep value fund that's had better luck than its peers during a go-go growth period. It gained 17.5%
Her outlook is still for technology to do well going forward, so she's not touching the
RS Emerging Growth fund, which gained 19.4% in the first quarter but is off 31.1% in the last month.
Family Values Portfolio
In the midst of a technology selloff, Stanasolovich is hanging on to his volatile
Van Wagoner Technology fund, which he added last quarter. The fund added 13.5% in the first quarter, but is down 28% in the past month.
Maybe that's because he's already loaded up with value funds. His portfolio gained 7.2% in the first quarter, and the only move Stanasolovich is making is to take half the portfolio's holdings in the
Cohen & Steers Special Equity fund, a real estate portfolio, and direct it toward the CGM Realty fund.
It may seem like Stanasolovich is duplicating his efforts. But the way he explains it, he's taking a bold step in favor of REITs. CGM Realty has a bigger play in pure real estate investment trusts. "Right now there's nothing cheaper than REITs," he says. "Whether or not cash will start to flow into REITs is another story."
The move is also designed to cushion the portfolio from some Internet volatility, Stanasolovich says. Cohen & Steers' largest holding is
Frontline Capital Group
, a business-to-business e-commerce services company that's down more than 70% year-to-date.
Since the market turmoil began in early April, Hayden has grown uneasy about some of the speculative go-go funds of recent months that catapulted his portfolio into first place among the planners for the first quarter with a 14.7% return. So for the second quarter, Hayden is increasing stakes in his core holding, the
Thornburg Value fund, and eliminating some of the more aggressive sector plays from the portfolio.
Janus Global Life Sciences,
Janus Olympus and
Warburg Pincus Global Telecommunications. "I'm ruling out getting into the Internet," Hayden says.
Not only that, but he's picking managers who don't dabble in the Net. "Even Kevin Landis isn't into the Internet," he says about his second-quarter choice of Landis' Technology Leaders offering, which focuses mainly on hardware and chipmakers.
Hayden is also concentrating more on value by increasing his allocation to Thornburg Value, though he's still keeping half of the portfolio on the growth side of the table, as evidenced by his addition of
White Oak Growth, an aggressive growth fund with a 57% weighting in technology.
Golden Years Portfolio
Because of this portfolio's mandate to generate 8% annual income for the fictional retired couple, planner Roge says he's not making any changes, even though he says now would be a great time to buy technology stocks because they're so cheap. The portfolio met its mandate almost perfectly for the quarter, rising 8.3%.
"I think the portfolio is diversified enough, and if the market broadens out, it will participate if technology does well," he says.
Still, the fund maintains a 22% weighting in the sector through some of its holdings. Plus, the
PIMCO Convertible Bond fund has a sizable holding of technology as young companies first test the capital markets by issuing convertibles.
Though he's taking a hands-off approach for now, Roge plans to be more active in future quarters and has his eye on financial services stocks. "Once the
is done doing what it's going to do, we may increase" financials, he says. Those stocks will fall if there's another interest rate hike or the threat of one. But by the end of the summer, Roge anticipates the Fed will take a breather from its tightening mode.
The TSC Portfolio Planners series aims to provide general fund and investing information. Under no circumstances does the information in this column represent a recommendation to buy or sell