Top stocks to sell, updated

The market has calmed down since introducing Top Stocks to Sell for 2009. How do those stocks look now?

By InvestorPlace Nov 20, 2009 11:36AM

The beginning of 2009 wasn't exactly a time of comfort for investors. Mitigating risk was top of mind, as former blue chip stalwarts took nosedives, many even becoming penny stocks at the time.

  The 5 Best Performing Stocks of the Decade

That's why my approach in naming my top stocks to sell was to follow an absolute return strategy. There is no sense in guessing where the market will be down the road.


Instead, buy cheap stocks, and sell stocks that are expensive. Then blend the two approaches together in one portfolio, and chances are you will make money.

It has worked for us so far. Here is an update on three of my key stocks to sell for 2009. (You can see the complete update, on my Top Stocks to Sell for 2009 here.

#1 - DuPont

Dupont (DD) lagged the market for the first half of the year, but that changed during the third quarter. DD exploded during the period and finished the first nine months up more than 27%. From market deadbeat to market star all in one quarter. Not bad, considering oil prices, a key component in most Dupont products, increased at the same time.

Of course, the improvement in the economy helped this cyclical company greatly. At 4 times book value and more than 40 times trailing earnings, the stock is a bit rich at current levels. Even if the company meets expectations in 2010, the valuation is still rich given growth is likely to be in the low double digits at best. There are better opportunities out there.

#2 - Boeing

There is a reason many investors remain skeptical of stocks during this most impressive run. When a market pushes all stocks higher no matter the underlying fundamentals, investors cannot help but to question the validity of the rally. For example, aircraft maker Boeing (BA) has seen a number of setbacks, including delays in the much anticipated dream liner. No matter to investors, as BA has appreciated by nearly 27% in 2009.

At current levels BA is priced for perfection. Given the delays we have already seen, is it reasonable to assume 2010 will go off without a hitch? I would not bet on it.

#3 - United Technologies

Like 3M, United Technologies (UTX) has been on a straight shot higher since shares bottomed in March. The difference is in the velocity of the move. Despite the strong rebound, UTX is up a modest 13% as of the end of the third quarter.

Analysts do not expect much growth in 2010, even though the economy has improved. One would expect UTX to benefit greatly from a weaker dollar, but that is not the case based on earnings estimates. Certainly between now and the end of the year, UTX is likely to tread water.

If stocks take a step back, UTX can be expected to follow suit and possibly then some. I would stay short this stock through the end of 2009. I would avoid in 2010 as well, though I would not be short.

 

Don't miss the complete list of Top Stocks to Sell Before the End of the Year.

Related Articles:

The 5 Best Performing Stocks of the Decade - Still Buys?
Why These 7 Stocks Are Worth the Big Bucks
Is Warren Buffett Playing It Safe with Wal-Mart?

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