Get ready for a bumpy ride in the markets

The Long Term GARP portfolio rose 6.7% in February, better than the 5% gain of the S&P 500 Index (SPX).

As earnings reports have rolled in over the last six weeks, what investors have learned is operational performance is either rewarded or scorned in the always fickle public markets.

Just as companies are rewarded with high valuations when results are impressive, valuations get hit when earnings disappoint. The name of the game is finding companies that can grow and execute quarter after quarter, year after year.

The recent geopolitical events in the Ukraine and Japan remind us one never knows what will pop up to throw a surprise into markets. It is why owning well positioned companies in critical and necessary industries is a risk averse way to approach growing your capital.

I suspect we will see less volume and more volatility as spring and summer roll in, so buckle up your seat belts for a bumpy ride.

Here’s an update on my key portfolio holdings:

Liberty Interactive (LINTA) is the owner of QVC,, Provide Commerce,,, and large passive minority positions in other large, well known internet based business like the Home Shopping Network. Here’s a link to the company’s latest results.

Iconix Brands (ICON) owns a broad range of well known brands like OP, Mossimo, Joe Boxer, Peanuts, and Sharper Image. Iconix reported earnings on February 20 and initiated a new $500 million stock buyback.

Quest Diagnostics (DGX) is the largest health care diagnostic testing company in the United States. The company reported disappointing earnings on January 30, 2014 but increased the dividend 10%.

Intuit (INTU) is the owner of the TurboTax and Quickbooks products and reported earnings on February 20.

Starbucks (SBUX) is the largest coffee and tea company in the world.

Liberty Media (LMCA) owns a holding company that includes Starz Media, the Atlanta Braves, 50% ownership of Sirius Satellite (SIRI), almost 20% ownership of Live Nation (LYV), 16% ownership of Barnes & Noble, and a few other non-controlling positions of small public and private.

Liberty recently announced they are going to try and consolidate their stake in Sirius Satellite.

VCA Antech (WOOF), which recently reported earnings, is the second largest owner of animal hospitals in the United States and also owns the laboratories for diagnostic testing of animals.

IAC Interactive (IACI) is the owner of,, Meetic, Service Magic, Vimeo,, and the Daily Beast, among other web sites. The company recently announced a reorganization to make and the dating service a separate business unit.

Moneygram International (MGI) is the second largest money transfer and bill payment company behind Western Union.

British Petroleum (BP) is one of the five largest integrated oil companies in the world. BP has many projects in the pipeline all over the globe but the legal issues over the Macondo oil spill keep perceptions about the company’s prospects muted.

Unilever (UL) is a massive food company based in the UK that gets over half of it’s nearly $50 billion  of sales in the emerging markets of Asia and Africa. The company pays a dividend of 3.7% and has the goal of doubling its sales by 2020.

DISCLAIMER: The investments discussed are held in client accounts as of February 28, 2013. These investments may or may not be currently held in client accounts. 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.

The post Get ready for a bumpy ride in the markets appeared first on Smarter InvestingCovestor Ltd. is a registered investment advisor. Covestor licenses investment strategies from its Model Managers to establish investment models. The commentary here is provided as general and impersonal information and should not be construed as recommendations or advice. Information from Model Managers and third-party sources deemed to be reliable but not guaranteed. Past performance is no guarantee of future results. Transaction histories for Covestor models available upon request. Additional important disclosures available at