Monday, November 9, 2009

The "Stuff White People Like" Portfolio

There is this humorous blog (and now a book) called "Stuff White People Like" that was a big hit a few months ago, may be even last year, I do not remember. The author has a running list of over 100 items that he describes as "stuff white people like": things like "sea salt", "unpaid internships", "graduate school" and "co-ed sports." There are many, many more things there. Chances are you know people who are guilty on almost all counts.

So, why not a "Stuff White People Like" portfolio? I browsed through the list and came up with several stocks that are "on trend." Obviously, this is blog is not financial advice, so we are doing this just for fun. Some "stuff" has a direct corresponding stock (i.e. Apple) while other "stuff" does not (like "Scarves"). I am also laboriously giving the YTD return on each stock.

#1 Coffee: GMCR (YTD +174%), can't go wrong with Vermont, "green", "mountain", coffee and "social responsibility" in one

#4 Assists: Cablevision, CVC (+51%) Owners of the NY Knicks (soon to be spun-off with the MSG business)

#6 Organic Food, #32 Vegan/Vegetarian: WFMI (+202%) Despite their CEO writing an editorial in the WSJ (Murdoch and Wall Street in one!!), still the gold standard

#8 Barack Obama: a double-header here, F (+257%) autos-Michigan-unions, can't be beat under this administration, and, from the First Lady, J.Crew, JCG (+254%); of course, they also have one of the best CEOs in the industry

#11 Asian Girls: another double-header here, IAC (+26%), owners of among others, and, for a real immersion, JALSY, the Japan Airlines ADR (-58%)

#13 Tea: HAIN (+1%); makers of the Celestial lines of tea

#15 Yoga: LULU (+244%); Lululemon Athletica has the yoga thing locked up

#19 Traveling: double-header again, PCLN (+136%) and OWW (+40%). Obviously, this is real travel, not going to the NASCAR races at Talladega for 3 days with the camper in the back of the truck.

#23 Micro-breweries: well, SAM does not qualify any more, now that they are the largest US brewer (what, you did not know that BUD and TAP ain't American no more??) so we have to go with HOOK, formerly known as Red Hook Breweries, that has bubbled up to +195% YTD.

#24 Wine: STZ (+4%), Constellation has a large wine brand portfolio (yes, the wine you're drinking might have come from a multinational; not some independent vineyard started by people who had the dream and the tenacity to create the perfect wine, or whatever else it says on the label)

#25 Manhattan, now Brooklyn, too!: another double-header here, SLG (+58%) and ALX (+8%) are both REITs with a heavy NYC focus.

#26 Marathons: double-header, ING (+35%) sponsor the NYC event, and ADDYY, the ADR for adidas, returning 36%. Of course, you investing in NKE would have meant FAIL in the entire SWPL concept.

#31 Snowboarding, #128 Camping: JAH (+142%) Jarden owns both the K2 and Coleman brands.

#33 Marijuana: CBIS (-51%) Cannabis Science Inc. Yes, there is such thing.

#39 Netflix: Easy. NFLX (+91%)

#40 Apple Products: Also easy, AAPL (+136%)

#45 Asian Fusion Food: PFCB (+52%) has ~360 restaurants under the PF Chang and Mei-Wei banners

#46 The Sunday NYC: of course, NYT (+18%), not bad at all for a paper

#48 Whole Foods and Grocery Coops: I mention WFMI above, so you might as well add UNFI (+42%), a distributor focused on natural foods to get the exposure to the grocery coop business

#51 Living by the water: try St Joe's, they've got plenty of land in Florida to develop, JOE (+10%)

#53 Dogs: PetSmart is doing well, PETM (+33%)

#54 Kitchen Gadgets: lots to choose from, so why not go with Williams-Sonoma, WSMI (+155%); they have all those wonderful cookbooks, too, and classes, and cutting boards made from exotic wood, and chrome toasters

#58 Japan: the first ETF in the SWPL portfolio, EWJ (+1.6%). Still better than a savings account. Just imagine saying at a party "I own Japanese equities". Cooler than cool.

#59 Natural medicine: Nutraceutical International Corp (+52%). Never heard of this small cap, but they are certainly with the program

#60 Toyota Prius: TM (+21%)

#61 Bicycles: Try Dorel (ADR is DIIB, +37%), a $1 bn cap Canadian company that makes Cannondale, Schwinn and others.

#63 Expensive Sandwiches: PNRA (+20%) certainly fits the bill in my book, they have managed to do very well at the $6.99-7.99 price point, while the giants have been hammering the $0.99 price point for 2 years now.

#64 Recycling: RSG (+11%), like it or not, the two titans there (WM and RSG) are likely to benefit the most from any recycling mandates (as is often the case with incumbent heavyweights)

#67 Standing still at concerts: LYV (+28%) gives them the opportunity to do just that as the largest concert promoter one can buy in the public markets.

#71 Being the only white person around: here's an interesting pick, try Anglogold Ashanti AU (+53%). They have gold mines in South Africa. That would be a good place, judging by the photos in National Geographic.

#75 Threatening to move to Canada: now you can do that from the comfort of your living room with the second country ETF in the portfolio, EWC, with a cool, crisp +49% YTD return.

#76 Bottles of water: this is tough, but I will have to go with the owners of all #1 water brands in the US, Nestle SA, and their ADR, NSRGY, at 20% YTD.

#78 Multilingual children: start them early with RST, "Rosetta Stone Inc", at -28%.

#82 Hating corporations: for the passionate, I recommend shorting them all, indiscriminately, at double strength with SDS. This year hating has not worked though, with SDS at -48%.

#84 T-shirts: I have already written why APP is a bad idea, but APP is just the SWPL thing, at +31% YTD (and still solidly at $2.61/share, can't even buy half a t-shirt from them).

#87 Outdoor performance clothes: check out Columbia, COLM, up a cozy +12% YTD.

#88 Having gay friends: Planet Out, ticker LGBT was public but was taken off NASDAQ earlier this year.

#89 St. Patrick's Day: IRL (+70%) is a tiny closed-end fund investing in Irish companies; also try Diageo (makers of Guiness and Bailey's) ADR is DEO (+22%), and, if you can trade the ISE, see PWL, aka Paddy Power, a solid bookmaking business. Even try K (Kellogg), makers of Lucky Charms, +20% YTD.

#92 Book deals: McGraw-Hill, MHP, is up 31% if you do not mind owning a rating agency on top.

#94 Free health care: don't we all like free? Since it can't be free, who is making money from it? Pharmaceuticals are evil, insurance companies are evil, so may be medical devices? IHI, the ETF, is up 30%ish.

#102 Childern's games as adults: bet on Hasbro, HAS, -1.4%: Cranium, Trivial Pursuit and other games WPL.

#103, #111, #118 Sweaters, Peacoats, Ugly Sweater Parties: the #1 sponsored ads for both "sweaters" and "pea coats" on Google is Macy's, so M it is, +88% YTD.

#112: Hummus. PEP has it, +14% YTD; they bought the Sabra brand a few years ago.

#115 Promising to learn a new language: see RST, from above.

#117 Political prisoners: Do you think there are too many Leonard Peltiers locked up in some dungeon? Then buy Corrections Corp. of America, CXW, +60% YTD, owner/operators of private prisons.

Obviously, with the S&P being at +20% YTD, a SWPL portfolio would have handily outperformed the index if all stocks were equally weighted.

Who needs to read footnotes about changed pension actuarial assumptions and estimate their effect on EBIT next year when you can think big, be cool and invest in the products and services you and your friends know and love???

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