MILLBURN, N.J. (Stockpickr) -- The horses, horsemen, jockeys and high society have returned to Saratoga Springs, N.Y., once again to enjoy thoroughbred racing at its finest at the 148-year-old Saratoga racetrack.Piggybacking (horsebacking?) on past articles such as " 5 Investing Tips I Learned From the Track," I thought I'd take a different approach to portfolio-building and model it off the key players you might find in a horse stable. With that, here are six picks to build a winning racing stable of stocks. Trainer Every horse needs a trainer, its hands-on manager. Training, preparation, feed, workouts, jockey selection, race selection -- all are tasks performed by the trainer. From top to bottom, the trainer makes all major decisions. Furthermore, the trainer makes strategic decisions that will affect the professional life of a racehorse. In investing, we need to seek out that manager -- usually a CEO -- who has the leadership and foresight to set a company on a road to success. In today's investing world, there is one such individual: Apple's ( AAPL - Get Report) Steve Jobs. Related: 5 Sin Stocks for a Rough Market Since returning to Apple, Jobs has transformed the computer company that he founded into a technology and entertainment giant. Apple is an industry leader and envy of the competition. The company recently reported another stellar quarter. When trainer Todd Pletcher brings a new colt or filly to the track, you know that horse has a great chance to win. People will bet with Pletcher based solely on his reputation. Similarly, when Steve Jobs brings a new product to market, investors will certainly follow. Look out for the next generation of iPhones and iPads to hit the market before the end of the year -- and other Apple entertainment products rumored to be in development. Go with a winning trainer and bet with Jobs and Apple. Apple was recently highlighted in " 5 Confident Stocks for a Shaky Market" and " 5 Blue-Chips to Ride Out a Double-Dip." Jockey On the back of his horse, the jockeys steers that 1,000-pound thoroughbred machines around a dirt or turf track in less than two minutes in the middle of a pack of many other 1,000-pound thoroughbreds. It's not easy. I would say that it's risk management at the ultimate level. Straying the slightest bit one way or another could separate winning from coming out of the money or even life from death. It takes someone with steely nerves, grit, determination and strategic focus to be a jockey.
FillyFemale horses are referred to as fillies until they're 4 years old (at which point they are called mares). In the corporate world, we have had many women who have in their own right become champion CEOs of companies. There was Meg Whitman of eBay ( EBAY) and Carly Fiorina of Hewlett Packard ( HPQ). Currently, we have Ursula Burns of Xerox ( XRX) and the disappointing Carol Bartz of Yahoo! ( YHOO). The female CEO that you need to invest in is Indra Nooyi of Pepsico ( PEP - Get Report). Nooyi has helped to guide Pepsico through difficult economic times when the consumer was experiencing the ill effects of a deep recession. Carbonated beverage sales in the U.S. declined, and market share and sales of Pepsi's Quaker Oats and Gatorade brands slumped. Nooyi has turned the company around by fixing up the Gatorade brand and focusing on expanding its beverage and snack sales abroad. Latin America and Asia are growth engines for Pepsico. Nooyi is a straight shooter and is not afraid to tell the truth to investors and analysts, whereas other CEOs might dance around a subject or sugar coat issues. Acquisitions of its bottlers and Russian Wimm-Bill-Dann were astute transactions. Recognizing that commodity costs are an issue, Nooyi took the initiative to raise prices to maintain margins while realizing that that could hurt short term profit growth. Nooyi is the best at what she does in the beverage and snack industry and is one of the best female CEOs we have today. I recently heighted Pepsi in " 6 Low-Volatility Stocks for a Volatile Market." Mudder A mudder refers to a horse that races race well over muddy or sloppy tracks. It takes a special type of horse to excel in those conditions. Our investment portfolios also need mudders -- stocks that will perform well when the stock market is performing poorly and investment conditions are not good. My buddy Paul likes to say that in depressions, three products always sell: alcohol, tobacco and movies. Well, my investment mudder, Altria ( MO - Get Report) has two of those three: alcohol and tobacco. Some call Altria a sin stock, but I don't care about that. What I care about is that when the economy is bad, Altria continues to pump out solid earnings. On top of that, during sloppy economic times, investors can rely on its above-market dividend, currently at about 6%. Altria, one of the highest-yielding tobacco stocks, is also one of TheStreet Ratings' top-rated tobacco stocks. -- Written by Scott Rothbort in Millburn, N.J.
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