One Person's Trash Is Another Person's Treasure Portfolio

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Last November, I announced my intention to create a portfolio of 10 companies that investors had effectively thrown away and given up on, in the hope of showing that deep-value investing, and contrarian thinking, can actually be a very successful investing method. I dubbed this the "One Person's Trash Is Another Person's Treasure" portfolio and, over a 10-week span, I highlighted companies that I thought fit this bill and would expect to drastically outperform the benchmark S&P 500 over the coming 12 months. If you're interested in the reasoning behind why I chose these companies, then I encourage you to review my synopsis of each portfolio selection:

Now, let's get to the portfolio and see how it fared this week:


Cost Basis


Total Value



























Arkansas Best





Arch Coal 










France Telecom 














Dividends receivable




Total commission




Original investment





S&P 500 performance



Performance relative to S&P 500



Source: Yahoo! Finance.

This week's winner
Should it really surprise anyone that portfolio superstar Arkansas Best led the way with a 6.3% gain on the week. During the week, upgraded Arkansas Best from sell to hold, citing increases in sales and income as the impetus for the upgrade. More so than that, trucking company Arkansas Best is being seen as a takeover target, with YRC Worldwide expressing serious interest in acquiring the company. Let me not forget that we collected $0.03 per share from Arkansas Best in the form of a dividend as well!

This week's loser
This week's rotten apple was electric utility provider Exelon , which fell 8.5% following a downgrade from Deutsche Bank. The reason for the downgrade is Deutsche's belief that capacity pricing will fall in the future and hurt Exelon's revenue in 2017 and beyond. As for me, I believe Exelon's diversification into solar and the prospect that the U.S. government will step in and encourage nuclear power via subsidies will drive growth and keep its costs reasonable.  

Also in the news...
In this week's episode of "Dell's  of our Lives," it was less of a focus on the buyout talk so much as comments made by research firm IDC regarding the health of the PC sector. On Tuesday, IDC drastically cut its full-year view of PC shipments from a 1.3% to a 7.8% decline as smartphones and tablets make desktops obsolete. Further, IDC expects PC shipments will dip another 1.2% next year. That's bad news for Dell, which already badly missed on Wall Street's EPS forecasts and will need one of its buyout deals to go through if any near-term shareholder value is to be created.

Office supply chain Staples retraced slightly this week but still sits near a 52-week high despite receiving a price target hike by UBS to $15 as the research firm believes management's changes should yield positive results. If you recall, Staples stuck to its full-year EPS forecast last week and could be poised to impress analysts in the coming quarters as it picks up domestic customers from OfficeMax and Office Depot as those two condense their operations and close stores.

Finally, even with the precipitous decline in Dendreon shares, all eyes would be wise to keep an eye on the company with the American Society of Clinical Oncology meeting this weekend. ASCO, for short, is the single most-important event for cancer drug developers and it could give Dendreon a chance to show off its experimental immunotherapy line of products and impress analysts. If anything is said with regard to Provenge and its current status in Europe, you'll be sure to know by next week if not sooner!

We can do better
It certainly wasn't a mind-numbing gain by any means, but this marks the fourth straight week that this contrarian and value portfolio has outperformed the broad-based S&P 500 and moved higher. Admittedly, we still have a long way to go to catch up, but this isn't a sprint -- it's a marathon. Over the long run, I believe investors will recognize the value in these despised names and allow this portfolio to easily outperform the S&P 500.

Check back next week for the latest update on this portfolio and its 10 components.

Can this stock charge up your portfolio?
As the nation moves increasingly toward clean energy, Exelon is perfectly positioned to capitalize on having the largest nuclear fleet in North America. This strength, combined with an increased focus on balance sheet health and its recent merger with Constellation, places Exelon and its resized dividend on a shortlist of the top utilities. To determine if Exelon is a good long-term fit for your portfolio, you're invited to check out The Motley Fool's premium research report on the company. Simply click here now for instant access.

The article One Person's Trash Is Another Person's Treasure Portfolio originally appeared on

Fool contributor Sean Williams owns shares of QLogic, Dell, Skullcandy, and France Telecom, but has no material interest in any other companies mentioned in this article. You can follow him on CAPS under the screen name TMFUltraLong, track every pick he makes under the screen name TrackUltraLong, and check him out on Twitter, where he goes by the handle @TMFUltraLong. The Motley Fool owns shares of Dendreon, France Telecom, Skullcandy, and Staples, and recommends Exelon and France Telecom. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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