One Bad Apple

Theodore Parrish's portfolio of A-rated companies had a minor flaw

The performance of the relatively conservative portfolio of stocks Theodore L. Parrish picked exclusively for BLACK ENTERPRISE was stymied by the underperformance of a single healthcare concern. His stock picks delivered a 3.43% return, while over the same time frame, Sept. 25, 2003 to Sept. 24, 2004, the Dow Jones Industrial Average scored a 7.53% increase and the S&P 500 Index rallied 10.65%.

Parrish is the co-portfolio manager of the $133 million Henssler Equity Fund at G.W. Henssler & Associates Ltd. in Marietta, Georgia. He favors stocks in the healthcare, pharmaceutical, consumer staples, and technology sectors. He and his team buy companies with an A rating or better and long-term earnings growth of 12% or more, plus dividend yield.

Parrish stands behind the selections he made last year. “A big loser really ruined it. But these are very solid companies with strong fundamentals, forward growth strategies, and excellent targets,” he says. His selection of Pfizer Inc. (NYSE: PFE), the world’s largest research-based pharmaceuticals firm, fell slightly. The $45 billion company that produces Viagra, the renowned erectile dysfunction therapy drug, dipped 0.94% from $29.94 to $29.66. Parrish is still high on the stock because the firm’s one-year sales growth figure increased 39.6% even though its stock price slid almost one percentage point. “Pfizer has a young and growing pipeline [of drugs]. By 2006, it will have replaced 25% of its line with new products and it’s on target to have a 25% incremental increase in revenue,” explains Parrish, who rates the drug giant a “buy” with a two-year price target of $51.

Parrish’s misstep came with Cardinal Health (NYSE: CAH), the second-largest distributor of pharmaceuticals and medical supplies and equipment in the U.S. “We sold the stock,” says Parrish. The company’s growth outlook was destroyed when it had to restate some of its earnings. Cardinal lost 20.85%, falling from $57.75 to $45.71. Parrish says, “The firm’s growth profile has changed; they are no longer a straight middleman. Now they’re charging a fee for their services.”

Even the summer hurricanes couldn’t stop American International Group Inc. (NYSE: AIG) from increasing its dominance in the insurance industry. In spite of the devastation wrought by Hurricanes Charley, Frances, Ivan, and Jeanne, the $81 billion insurance giant’s stock price spiked 19.68%, jumping from $57.76 to $69.13. “It’s the best global insurance company in the business. It’s a buy and could reach $91 [in two years],” says Parrish.

Parrish made a good call with Affiliated Computer Services (NYSE: ACS). The company provides IT outsourcing and business process services for commercial clients and government agencies worldwide. Parrish says, “This is an inexpensive technology stock and it is positioned to benefit from outsourcing from government contracts.” The stock price of the $4.1 billion firm rose an impressive 11.44%, climbing from $49.99 to $55.71. Parrish gives ACS a buy rating with a two-year target of $67.

PepsiCo (NYSE: PEP), one of the world’s top manufacturers of soft drinks, climbed 7.78% from $44.83 to $48.32. The division of the company that produces non-carbonated beverages, including

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