The World's Greatest Retirement Portfolio

If you're in search of a perfect retirement portfolio, look no further. This summer, I went in search of the best long-term investments available for my portfolio, picked 10 stocks, then ensured I had $4,000 invested in each of the companies.

Like many Fools, I chose to invest over a minimum three-to-five-year time horizon, so I'm not declaring victory yet. But the portfolio's performance so far has me celebrating. Click on the purchase dates listed and you can read my original thesis for investing in each one of these companies.


Publication Date


+/- S&P 500's Return (% points)





PriceSmart (NAS: PSMT)




Activision Blizzard




Intuitive Surgical (NAS: ISRG)




National Oilwell Varco (NYS: NOV)




Coca-Cola (NYS: KO)




Whole Foods (NAS: WFM)







Apple (NAS: AAPL)




Johnson & Johnson (NYS: JNJ)




Sources:, Yahoo! Finance. All numbers as of Oct. 31 market close.

Smashing expectations
Two companies benefited from very positive earnings reports: Google and Intuitive Surgical. While Google is careful not to neglect its core search business, Android and Chrome use have ballooned, helping the company to grow adjusted earnings by 27% over last year. And as use of Intuitive's da Vinci surgery robot becomes more widespread, the company has continued taking in more money -- growing earnings per share by 42%.

National Oilwell Varco, while holding the dubious distinction of being the only stock of the 10 that's losing to the S&P 500, produced such a solid quarter that fellow Fool Rex Moore bought it for his Rising Star portfolio. Earnings per share were up 30%, revenues were up 24%, and the company has the headwinds of both the shale and deepwater industries pushing it forward.

The "middlers"
Meanwhile, a number of companies reported results that were just about in line with what was expected. Coke reported that earnings came in slightly ahead of expectations, and showed year-over-year growth of 12% as the company continues to expand abroad. The other stalwart I placed in my portfolio, Johnson & Johnson, didn't have the best quarter, but it also wasn't the worst. The company beat earnings expectations while coming up short on sales -- which were down 3.7% in the U.S.

Earnings "disappointments"
I put that word in quotation marks because I wouldn't really call the earnings misses at Amazon or Apple disappointments at all. Amazon is selling its new Kindle Fire tablet at less than cost, and while analysts may frown on the resulting losses in the short term, the company is setting itself up with a classic razor-and-blades model: increased sales of books and other goods from Amazon should more than offset any losses from tablet sales.

Apple, on the other hand, was simply affected by the timing of the release of the iPhone 4S. The main culprit in the earnings miss was a shortfall of roughly 3 million iPhone sales by the end of the third quarter. The newest iteration of the phone came out just after the quarter ended. In the phone's first weekend on the shelf, the company is said to have sold 4 million units.

Still to come...
That leaves us with three companies that will very soon be coming out with earnings:

  • Whole Foods reports on Wednesday, Nov. 2.

  • Activision Blizzard reports on Tuesday, Nov. 8.

  • PriceSmart reports on Wednesday, Nov. 9.

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At the time thisarticle was published Fool contributor Brian Stoffel owns shares in all of the companies mentioned. You can follow him on Twitter at @TMFStoffel.The Motley Fool owns shares of Johnson & Johnson, Google, Coca-Cola, Activision Blizzard, Apple, National Oilwell Varco, and Whole Foods, and has written calls on Activision Blizzard. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of Whole Foods, Google, National Oilwell Varco, Johnson & Johnson, Activision Blizzard, Apple, Coca-Cola, PriceSmart,, and Intuitive Surgical; as well as creating a diagonal call position in Johnson & Johnson, a synthetic long position in Activision Blizzard, and a bull call spread position in Apple. 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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