In 2013, equity markets advanced in most parts of the world to finish with an overall gain of 24.59% as measured by the Dow Jones Global Index. The equity markets in Europe, Asia, North and South America all finished in the plus column with the United States Dow Jones Industrial Average up about 26.49%. As we enter 2014, I continue to overweight stocks versus bonds.

Regarding our investment portfolios on Covestor, Fundamental Growth portfolio finished in the plus column for 2013. However, the Hard and Soft Commodities model experienced declines. Looking forward, in my opinion fourth quarter earnings will be solid and may be a catalyst to move the markets higher in 2014. I have no way of knowing this for sure, but as long as car buying and home purchases remain strong, the stock market should continue to perform well.

My investment approach is to buy companies with consistent earning performance and high return-on-equity, while employing little or no long-term debt. I also aim to buy companies, if possible, with a high margin of safety.

I use a system that filters thousands of stocks on a weekly basis using the Sparrow multi-point checklist that screens the highest quality companies, which are then reviewed and considered for purchase in your portfolio.

As always, my family and I have almost all of our equity investments in the stocks that are in your portfolios, this does not guarantee a return, but it does focus my attention on things that matter to you as an investor.

DISCLAIMER: The reader should not assume that any investments identified were or will be profitable or that any investment recommendations or investment decisions we make in the future will be profitable. Past performance is no guarantee of future results.