Bill Gunderson

Why are mediocre stocks so popular when there are so many great ones out there ready to be discovered?

That is the one question I keep posing to myself day after day after looking at so many portfolios full of stocks like Cisco, Johnson & Johnson, Lowes, Intel, Microsoft, and on and on.

They might be good companies: I shop at Lowes. But if you are looking for growth or income or even just staying even with the market, they just are not going to do it for you anymore.

But investors keep stuffing them into their portfolios, and this has to be at least one reason why: No investment advisor ever got fired for recommending GE or Wal-Mart.

So most investors really have to make two decisions: Which stock to buy, and which guru to follow.

There’s no doubt lots of investors feel way more comfortable with those big, stodgy names. Ditto for the televised pundits.

But some of these companies are so big, they have long since run out of room to grow. Attention Wal-Mart investors: I’m talking about you.

What about Tractor Supply (TSCO)? Tractor who?

Unless you are reading my newsletter, or listening to my radio show, you’ve probably never heard of it. The pundits are certainly not touting the fortunes of a TSCO, chain store whose major claim to fame is selling farm implements and goat food to yuppies.

If that is the case, you have missed out on one of the great stocks of the decade. A stock that continues to hit new all-time highs and blow away the performance of Lowe’s and Home Depot.

And is still a stock to consider.

Performance

Over the last ten years, TSCO has delivered total returns of almost 24% per year to investors while the market has delivered 5.4%.

Over the last five years they’ve delivered 46% per year while the market has delivered only 8% during the same time frame.

Over the last three years TSCO has delivered a whopping 51% per year to investors while the market has delivered 14%. And over the last 12 months, TSCO is up 37% while the market is only up 17%.

I’ve interviewed the CEO of TSCO on my radio show. He may not get the attention of his lesser-performing colleagues, but he sure impressed our listeners with what he was doing to grow his company – and their share prices.

Valuation

But it doesn’t all end with performance. Stocks also have to also make sense from a valuation standpoint. Now that doesn’t mean I’m going to go eliminating biotech stocks from my list of companies I’d consider buying, but I also own boring stocks like TSCO.


Bill Gunderson

Bill Gunderson is the CEO and Chief Market Strategist of Gunderson Capital Managment in San Diego, CA. He is also a professional money manager, former research analyst, author of Best Stocks Now. http://www.pwstreet.com