Falk concedes, "In selecting stocks for the portfolio, we go through pretty much the same process of fundamental analysis, discounted cash flow, and projecting out the value of the stocks, but no matter how accurate those may be, any number of things can happen. Things can't be predicted to a certainty."

'Really Look at These Companies'

But that's not the only lesson this quarter's SIM class is taking home with them. "I would advise students coming into the program next year to sit down and really look at these companies," says David Drago, an undergraduate SIM student following the consumer staples sector.

Drago remembers an instance where he and fellow student analysts started looking at a company highly touted by others, only to find that it looked like a mediocre investment. "Don't follow the widespread feelings about a company," advises Drago. "Market sentiment doesn't always tell you how a company is going to perform."

What's next for SIM's portfolio? Drago and John Dingle, SIM's other consumer staples analyst, just presented and convinced the group to sell Wal-Mart ( WMT) and replace it with Sara Lee ( SLE) and Kraft ( KFT). With the new SIM class at the reins now, we'll soon see how that decision and others stack up for the group's performance during the upcoming summer quarter.
Jonas Elmerraji is the founder and publisher of Growfolio.com, an online business magazine for young investors.

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