Stock Gumshoe Update — Winners and Losers

By Travis Johnson, Stock Gumshoe, February 13, 2008

I have finally gotten around to editing the spreadsheet to add some consistency, and to update with all the teaser stocks I’ve written about through the end of January.

The bad news? If you have invested in each one of those stocks on the day the email first came out (there are a few hundred of them, so not so likely), you would have had an average loss of about 10%.

The good news? There have been some spectacular picks as I get close to the one-year anniversary of publishing this information, and I have enough data about some of these newsletters that it might be possible for those of you who like to play with spreadsheets to make some generalizations about the teaser stocks from particular newsletters.

The link to the tracking sheet, both the web version and the Excel download, is in the sidebar about halfway down, so you can check it out for yourself if you like. The prices are live with a 20 minute delay, but it’s always possible that I’ve missed a stock split or something like that for some of these, so let me know if you notice any anomalies.

To let you know the big winners and losers so far, Ann Sosnowski remains atop the rankings for teaser stocks with her pick of Lynas, one of the very early Gumshoe writeups. That’s a 200% gain as of the last pink sheet clearing price.

And that should shock us all, frankly: The VERY BEST of all of the teased stocks I’ve covered here, more than 200 stocks, has a 200% return.

How many teasers have you seen in the past year that promised returns of several thousand percent, “in a matter of months”?

So just a word to the wise — 200% or a little bit better is the very best performance that any stock that has ever graced this spreadsheet has had, even in a short term pop. Not a single one has ever hit a 300% return (yet).

Other winners? As might be expected, there are several Robert Hsu picks in the top couple dozen stocks — but they’re not his China Strategy picks, the direct China plays, they’re Asia Edge picks, the ones that use a “Greater China” strategy that are supposed to benefit from the growth in China but are not necessarily Chinese themselves. The best two performers there have been Mosaic, the fertilizer company, and VimpelCom, the Russian cellular provider.

Many of the newsletters are quite volatile in their teaser picks — Bottarelli Research Small Cap, for example, has teased two great performers (World Water and Solar and China Unicom) and two unbelievably bad stinkers (Big Cat Energy and Dendreon).

The worst overall performer? Ian Cooper’s Early Alert Trader did poorly, thanks to just two stocks that are both unsuccessful gambling plays. Another one that has gotten light coverage from the Gumshoe has been Emerging Capital Report, which has teased a few pretty obscure companies — all of whom are down by at least 60%.

Breakaway Investor, from Andrew Mickey, is the one that we’ve covered the most that has probably done the most poorly, just from a scan of the list. From seven picks of his that I’ve written about, only one is in positive territory.

Not many folks stand out on the positive side — not surprising, since about 2/3 of the Gumshoe tracked picks are in negative territory. Motley Fool Global Gains actually has most of their picks in the green still, which is saying something, and Robert Hsu’s China Strategy has overall done fairly well, too, though with some big losers.

This is, of course, not to make any assessments on the quality of these newsletters overall. These are just the stocks they’ve teased us with in their ads. One might assume that these are their favorite picks, and that they’re putting their reputations on the line by recommending them so heavily in their advertising, but it’s just as likely that they’re the stocks that just have exciting stories that lend themselves to marketing. And of course, this assumes that as an emotional investor you bought the shares the day you got the teaser email, and then held them forever (since I’ve no way of reliably knowing if or when these stocks might have been sold).

Feel free to peruse the list, do your spreadsheet tinkering, and let us know what your impressions are. I’m hoping to upgrade the tracking in the next few months to include r