Memorial Day brings the unofficial start of summer, and with it, another look at the 2006 edition of the holiday portfolio. Spring has not been kind to most of the portfolio, but there are reasons to believe summer may provide some respite. The concept of the holiday portfolio is simple. I select a group of five stocks that deserve watching over the next 12 months, and I follow them -- regardless of their performance -- throughout the year. Then I revisit the portfolio on each market holiday. 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 longer 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 sit back and enjoy a day off in the middle of what has been a warmer-than-normal winter and a pretty volatile market, let's take a quick look at the stocks that make up the holiday portfolio and their almost midyear performance.
Until three weeks ago, the holiday portfolio was moving right ahead with the broader market. Then inflation worries, growth concerns and market jitters began to impact all stocks, especially those in the holiday portfolio. When you get market action like you have seen in the last three weeks and a group of diversified stocks begins to underperform the market, it's important to think about a couple of issues: