I apologize for not updating you on my portfolios. Yes, I have been busy, but also I have been a bit reluctant to speak, given the poor performance of some of my picks. But today, I will go over the Core Portfolio and offer my opinions and updates on each stock:
- Dow – I am maintaining my position in this one. I believe that Andrew Liveris is a competent CEO and that the DuPont merger will be successful.
- IBM – I am sticking with this dog as I have little choice. All I can say is that Ginny Rometty has got to go! The company needs new direction and dynamic leadership. She has disappointed us for too long. For evidence on how a new CEO can turn things around, just look at one of my other core holdings – McDonald’s. As far a replacement for IBM as a core holding, Microsoft is a safer bet.
- McDonald’s – I am maintaining my position in this one. Steve Easterbrook has turned the company around and I am glad held on. As I said, a good leader can make a real difference in the success of a company.
- Kraft and Mondelez – These consumer staples stocks are still a good holding. I trimmed my holdings in Kraft but still hold some. You may want to consider a beverage company like Coke (KO) or maybe a spirits maker like Constellation Brands (STZ) in this area as a replacement or supplement to your holdings in this area.
- Altria and Phillip Morris – I trimmed a bit of Altria but still have significant positions in both of these excellent dividend payers. Stay with these for income!
- Pfizer – I added to my position in this drug powerhouse. Pfizer is a no longer a growth stock but the dividend is solid and safe.
- Pittsburgh National – I sold my position in PNC as I am less than sanguine on financials. I think a position in an insurance giant like Travelers (TRV) is probably a better bet.
- Southern – A good utility holding is always a good bet so I would stay with Southern. You may want to consider PPL Corp (PPL) as well.
- United Technologies – I sold my position in UTX at 100 several months ago. I replaced UTX with General Electric (GE). I like GE’s divesture of the bulk of their financial assets and it pays a better dividend than UTX.
- Exxon Mobil – As most of you know, I have held Exxon for many years. It is the best managed oil major and oil prices will eventually recover. Plus, its dividend is safe (despite what some pundits may say).
Well, this was the core portfolio. I will produce a new, improved “fundamental” portfolio within a few days.