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Stick with the staples and Wall Street will always be on your side — that’s what this portfolio showed. Anthony Epps, CEO of A.G. Epps Financial Group in Rye, New York, crafted this portfolio for BLACK ENTERPRISE readers that climbed 15.55% within a 12-month time frame. In comparison, the S&P 500 netted a scant 4.35%.
Epps manages about $40 million in equity assets for his clients, including large institutions, small- and medium-sized family-owned businesses, and high-net-worth individuals. He says he wanted to be consistent and efficient, have a solid dividend, which all of these picks pay, and not lose money.
No one lost money on Epps’ first pick. Apple Computer Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL) skyrocketed 46.06% by manufacturing personal computers and other products including the ubiquitous iPod digital music player. “I love Apple Computer — these guys have their niche,” notes Epps. The tech giant was recommended at $38.10 and rose to $55.65 within a year. “It’s a ‘buy.’ Every time the analysts say they can’t make any more money, the company proves them wrong.”
Occidental Petroleum Corp (NYSE: OXY) sprouted 27.53% despite “the sector getting kind of beat up,” Epps explains. Nonetheless the stock was recommended at $39.99 and hit $51.00 (adjusted for an August 2006 stock split). And that was despite the government of Ecuador seizing the assets of the $15.2 billion titan as part of a national drive.
The Irving, Texas-based ExxonMobil Corp. (NYSE: XOM) jumped a respectable 8.87%, and Epps rates it a “buy.” “Everyone is freaking out about oil and gas prices, but if you owned the stock you would have received record dividends. Diversification is important, and an oil company must be in the portfolio,” Epps explains.
A household name, Westport, Connecticut-based Procter & Gamble (NYSE: PG) grew 8.42% from $52.51 to $56.93. “I still like P&G; they have excellent management and a competitive edge. It is definitely a ‘hold’. They are consistent, and I love their dividend.” Sales of skincare products jumped 27% to $85.6 million for the household products giant.
New Brunswick, New Jersey-based Johnson & Johnson (NYSE: JNJ) slipped 4.10%, from $63.37 to $60.77. The company manufactures medical devices, skin care products, women’s healthcare products, baby care, and just about every kind of personal care product. “The whole sector was down, but I believe in it still. It did not hit my target of $75. Right now it’s a ‘hold,’ but don’t count it out, especially since it acquired Pfizer Inc. in the summer.”