Happy Fourth of July! The first six months of the year have provided some fireworks for the markets, and this Holiday Portfolio has also seen its share of both sparklers and smoke bombs.

When I first assembled this portfolio, I was looking for five stocks that would provide good, balanced performance in a year when I thought the economy would improve. I wanted to combine the stability of income-producing equities with companies that were poised to benefit from economic growth. For the most part, that strategy has worked, and I'd still be comfortable holding any of these stocks. (I do own ConocoPhillips ( COP) and Equity Office ( EOP).)

Before I take a closer look at the five components, let's briefly review the purpose of the Holiday Portfolio.

All Year Long

I launched the first Holiday Portfolio three years ago, hoping to craft a column for each market holiday that would track a concentrated portfolio of core equities for an entire year. In doing so, it gives me -- and you -- the chance to think longer term about the fundamentals of a company's business as well as its industry. I follow these five stocks -- regardless of their performance -- throughout the year. 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 should serve not only to provide a forum for more in-depth discussion of investment decisions and company strategy, but also to reinforce the importance of ongoing portfolio analysis. In addition, through occasional comments on the stocks in RealMoney's Columnist Conversation, it enables me to look at both short-term trading strategies and longer-term investment strategies with the same stocks.

This year's twist is the readers' selection. On New Year's Day , I asked you to review the stocks you routinely follow and send me your best idea for the portfolio. After a lengthy elimination process, you picked Pfizer ( PFE), the American Idol of the Holiday Portfolio.

Here's a quick recap of how these stocks have performed since the portfolio's inception:

Company/Ticker Recent Price Dec. 31, 2003 Price Change Current Yield
ConocoPhillips (COP:NYSE) $76.40 $65.57 16.52% 2.25%
Equity Office Properties (EOP:NYSE) 27.05 28.65 -5.58% 7.35%
First Horizon (FHN:NYSE) 44.61 44.10 1.16% 3.52%
General Electric (GE:NYSE) 32.01 30.98 3.32% 2.47%
Pfizer (PFE:NYSE) 33.93 35.33 -3.96% 1.98%
Unweighted Average Return 2.29% 3.51%
Source: TSC Research

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