Call it smarts or just plain good luck, but the performance of my annual list of stocks gets better and better. Most years since 1995 (I took a hiatus for three years), I've offered readers of The Washington Post and now Kiplinger's Personal Finance ten stock picks, culled from the choices of experts whose opinions I value. The list for 2005 was my personal best, returning 23%, including reinvested dividends, compared with just 5% for the benchmark Standard & Poor's 500-stock index. My 2004 list beat the S&P by 11 percentage points, my 2003 list by seven. It's time to test my good luck (or skill) once more.
Before we start, some disclaimers. First, the stocks were chosen for their likely results in 2006, even though I emphatically object to any investment strategy with such a short time horizon. Second, although these stocks vary by sector and company size, don't mistake them for a truly diversified portfolio. And third, no guarantees.