Utility and energy stocks performed well for the portfolio

The Ironwood SMID Cap Value portfolio had a strong February. The strategy advanced 6% for the month. The strategy’s materials and processing, producer durables, utility and energy stocks drove the strong performance.

Within those sectors some of the better performing stocks were Platform Specialty Products (PAH), Carrizo Oil & Gas (CRZO), Weatherford International (WFT), Xylem (XYL), Zynga (ZNGA) and Dynegy (DYN). The one thing all of these stocks have in common is that the management team is executing on the transition strategy that we outlined when we first purchased the stock.

We did not initiate any positions in February. Here are the positions eliminated in February.

Itron (ITRI): We owned Itron as of our January 1, 2013 inception date as we believed the new CEO Philip Mezey, hired in November 2012, would renew the company’s focus on advancing its technology and rationalizing its cost structure after a series of mergers. This transition was needed as the company was facing a period of reduced levels of new orders.

However, increased competition, leading to pricing and unit volume pressure particularly in the electric metering business (40% of revenues), is worse than we expected and will likely impair the long-term value of Itron overall.

Further, the size and pace of improvements the company will likely make to its overall cost structure is more limited than we expected, and we were too optimistic around the timing and likelihood of meaningful increases in overall revenues. Given the combination of these factors, we determined the transition story was impaired and sold the stock in February.

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.

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