Tuesday, December 31, 2013

My Great 2013 stock investments

My portfolio did so well -- so much better than the stock indexes -- in 2013 that I have to keep telling myself, my wife, and anyone else who cares to know that this is not repeatable. This qws a once in a lifetime year.

I am a long term investor, and for the most part just held the stocks I began the year with. I did trade, trimming in and out, a bit more than usual. One stock, Onyx Pharmaceuticals, was acquired by Amgen. I added positions in just two stocks, Agenus (AGEN) and (PLX). I dropped my position in FNHC, mainly because it had a big runnup and I cover it, so I was worried about maintaining objectivity.

On the whole I was up 79%. Just plain stocks. No options, leveraging, or shorting.

So here's the list of companies I owned both at the beginning of 2013 and at the end:

Symbol end price 2012 end price 2013 % change
ADEP $2.38 $16.89 610%
AMAT 11.20 17.68   58%
AMD 2.40 3.87   61%
BIIB 146.37 279.57   91%
CELG 78.47 168.97 115%
CMN 19.82 33.91   72%
CYCC 6.06 4.02 -34%
DNDN 5.29 2.99 -43%
GILD 36.72 75.10 104%
HILL 0.85 3.37 296%
HNSN 2.08 1.73 -17%
INO 0.46 2.90 530%
MCHP 31.80 44.75   41%
MRVL 7.08 14.38 103%
SGI 10.23 13.41   31%
STX 29.80 56.16   88%
TTMI 9.19 8.58    -7%

I've written extensively about most of these stocks, so here I'll just make brief year-closing comments on the 3 best percentage gainers, and the 3 worst. Worst first.

Proving I am not prescient we have Dendreon (DNDN). I once made a lot of money on Dendreon, but 2013 was a rough year. Its single approved therapy, Provenge, is not doing well against competition. In addition, Provenge is very expensive to make. Even approval for sale in Europe did little for the stock.

Cyclacel (CYCC), which is in a pivotal Phase III trial for leukemia (AML) in elderly people too old to do chemotherapy, lost 34%. That is surprising because the data during 2013 was pretty good: the independent data monitoring agency allowed the trial to continue after the half-way point, indicating the data so far shows the drug to be safe and effective. It is still a gamble, but it is a company to watch in 2015.

Hansen Medical (HNSN), a maker of surgical robotic catheters, had a mediocre year as sales did not ramp as well as expected. Maybe the Q4 report will be better. The technology is promising, but I'd be surprised if they get in the black in 2014.

As to the winners, from 3rd to 1st place:

Dot Hill (HILL), up 296% this year, is a little-train-that-could story. The data storage equipment maker landed a number of new clients in 2013, got back into the black after years in the red, and looks to be headed to a good 2014.

Inovio (INO) was up 530% when people finally realized that its DNA vaccine technology could be a major breakthrough. However, they don't even have successful data from a Phase II trial yet. What works in the test tube and in animals and Phase I trials may not ever make it to commercialization. I like the company, but I'd like it better with more concrete data.

Who, at the beginning of the year, would have thought Adept Technology (ADEP) would have a 610% year? The stock started cheap because they had a bad 2011-2012, with customers cutting back on orders of their industrial robots. So they cut expenses and in 2013 introduced new lines of robots and landed new customers. The price has also been driven up by momentum traders. Check it out, but you might want to see Q4 results before you take a plunge.

I am a professional researcher, analyst, and writer. I write about my personal experience with investing for fun. You can follow me at this blog site, at www.openicon.com, or at William Meyers at Seeking Alpha.

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