I've been following Newell Rubbermaid (NWL) and its turnaround story ever since Michael Polk became CEO July 2011.
We're not involved in the position for Action Alerts PLUS, but it is one that I've always had on my radar screen to buy on a pullback. There just hasn't really been one. It returned 37.2% in 2012 and 43.3% in 2013.
This year has been more of a struggle, with the stock disappointing on 1Q earnings and the shares off 6.4% year to date. Morgan Stanley upgraded it today and I certainly wouldn't chase it, but the pullback this year is giving us a chance to get into a stock with strong management, superior organic growth and solid free-cash-flow growth.
One of the reasons the stock caught my eye back in 2011 was Polk's somewhat unconventional management style. He decided right out of the gate to host his first annual convention for the company's top 250 global executives at the Carrie Steele-Pitts Home for Abused and Abandoned Children. Usually NWL's team-building meetings were held at a golf resort, but Polk chose a shelter instead and he and his executive team spent the day painting rooms, renovating the kitchen, installing office products and other volunteer work because he thought it would bring the team together while doing something for a good cause. He also gave out $50,000 worth of various Newell products -- items we all know well like Sharpie markers, Calphalon cookware, Levelor blinds, Rubbermaid containers and other products. At the time, I was impressed with his creativity and his doing good works, compared with the prior management team, and so I have followed Polk and Co. over the last few years.