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How “Top Stock Picks” For 2017 Have Performed

In the financial media landscape, we are constantly surrounded by predictions. As we hit each milestone, or embrace a new development, we continue to establish new hypotheses. With the halfway mark for 2017 behind us, instead of making new predictions, why don’t we look back and reflect on old ones? In December and January, new year estimates are always emerging. This time of year always brings readers various forecasts for how the stock market is about to perform in the upcoming twelve months. It’s unknown how much investing is based off these “Top Stock Picks for 2017″ posts, but instead of making new picks for Q3 and Q4, let’s evaluate these top stock picks picks from six months ago.

Our analysis includes multiple ” top stock picks ” from various media outlets where they comprised a list of 5-10 stocks that were poised to beat the market in 2017. These lists include the popular Barron’s Top 10, Zack’s Top 10, a Top 5 from CNN Money, a Top 5 from Motley Fool, a Top 10 from MSN experts, and a Top 7 from Forbes, which consisted of seven investment strategists making their top picks for the year. While assessing these picks, it is important to note that the S&P 500 has returned +8.49% over the same time frame.

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Top Stock Picks
top stock picks from various publications and comped to S&P 500 - ranking through mid-year

Barron's Top 10

Barron's Top 10 is one of the most notable of the lists that come up every year. Year to date, Barron's list has been the top performer of the six as the ten stock portfolio has returned +15.59%. All ten stocks are up this year, with Unilever (NYSE:UL) leading the way up 32.26%, followed by Toll Brothers (NYSE:TOL) up +26.84%, and Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) up +23.85%. The worst performers for Barron's were Walt Disney (NYSE:DIS) up +3.13% and Deutsche Telekom (OTCMKTS:DTEGY) up +4.68%.

Zack's Top 10

Arguably the second most notable list of the six comes from Zack's Investment Research. Zack's touts their list as one that often outperforms the market, and in the past, their Top 10 has performed well. Their first half of 2017 however, has been a bit disappointing, as the portfolio is down -1.65%. Only four of their ten stocks are up in this bull market, including FMC Corp. (NYSE:FMC) up +30.07% and Monolithic Power Systems (NASDAQ:MPWR) up 15.03%. Of the six in the red, Under Armour Class A (NYSE:UAA) posts the largest loss, down -23.30%, followed by Ritchie Bros. Auctioneers (NYSE:RBA) down -14.18% and Discover Financial Services (NYSE:DFS) down -13.62%.

CNN Money Top 5

Coming in with the next best portfolio after Barron's is CNN Money with a Top 5 that has returned +13.61% YTD. CNN's top performer has been Broadcom Ltd (NASDAQ:AVGO) up +29.98% followed by State Street Corp. (NYSE:STT) up +17.19%. The only stock from the list that is down this year is Envision Healthcare Corporation (NYSE:EVHC) down -2.99%.

Motley Fool Top 5

The worst performing portfolio of the six lists comes from Motley Fool, whose five stocks are down -4.32% halfway through 2017. As we saw Zack's portfolio dragged down by Under Armour, Motley Fool made the same mistake. However, while Zack's went with the Class A shares, Motley Fool went with the Class C shares (NYSE:UA) posting less of a loss than the Class A, but still down -18.47%. In the Top 5 was also Core Laboratories (NYSE:CLB) down -13.98% and Diamondback Energy (NASDAQ:FANG) down -10.60%. Motley Fool's only stock beating the S&P is Dave & Buster's Entertainment (NASDAQ:PLAY) up 17.10%.

MSN's Top 10

MSN's Top 10 actually comes courtesy of Investor Place and consists of ten expert picks. This portfolio is also beating the S&P along with Barron's and CNN, returning +12.63% YTD. Leading the way is NVIDIA Corp. (NASDAQ:NVDA) up +30.53%, followed by CoreSite Realty Corp. (NYSE:COR) up +29.46%, and Albemarle Corp. (NYSE:ALB) up +23.18%. The only stock of the ten that is down in 2017 is Tripadvisor (NASDAQ:TRIP), down -17.02%.

Forbes Top 7

Finally, we look at Forbes. A December post titled: How To Invest In 2017: The Best Stock Picks From 7 Pros has a negative return of -4.14% YTD. The poor performance is largely due its worst pick, Forterra Inc. (NASDAQ:FRTA) down -60.80% on the year. Excluding Forterra, the six remaining stocks are up +5.31%. Still lagging the market, this list comprises of mediocre performances from General Motors (NYSE:GM) up +2.10%, and USG Corp. (NYSE:USG) up +1.00%. IBM (NYSE:IBM) has also been a burden on the portfolio down -6.27%. Among the top performers for each of the six lists, Forbes had the worst. Dycom Industries (NYSE:DY) leads their portfolio up +13.97%.

Top stock picks - Conclusion

Of the six Top Stock Picks lists, three have outperformed the S&P 500 so far, while three have trailed. As the index is up +8.49% on the year, it is outperforming the average of the six lists which is up only +5.29%. If you use these lists to make investments, be careful which one you use. However, if you make investments from all of the "top expert picks", you might just be better off putting it in the S&P index.

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