Recovery Work

Eric McKissack more than doubled the gains of the Dow and S&P

If 2005 confirmed anything for Eric McKissack, CEO and Chief Investment Officer of Channing Capital Management, it’s that the buy-and-hold strategy he advocates is still one of the best ways to approach investing.

That approach worked well for the portfolio of stocks he selected for our readers a year ago. Over the 52-week period, from Nov. 22, 2004, to Nov. 21, 2005, McKissack’s stocks gained 14.32%. By contrast, the Dow Jones Industrial Average jumped 3.15%, and the S&P 500 grew 6.59% over the same period.

Of the four stocks McKissack chose, Sybron Dental Specialties Inc. (NYSE: SYD), which manufactures and markets dental products, was a solid performer, gaining 30.87% as it moved from $34.11 to $44.64 per share. “The phenomena of an aging population that is more interested in cosmetic dentistry and dental products plays to the stock’s strength,” McKissack says.

Another McKissack pick, SunGard Data Systems Inc., was acquired by a consortium of private equity investment firms, including Goldman Sachs Capital Partners, the Blackstone Group, and Providence Equity Partners. Under the terms of the agreement, SunGard (NYSE: SDS) paid stockholders $36 for each outstanding share of stock. The close of the acquisition in July 2004 gave SunGard investors a 37.25% increase over its $26.23 price at recommendation.

Markel Corp. (NYSE: MKL), which markets and underwrites specialty insurance products, grew a modest 2.72%, increasing from $310.50 to $318.95. However, McKissack says, “This is the kind of stock that is a longer-term investment. We’ve increased our price target to $485.”

The worst performer for McKissack was Interface Inc. (Nasdaq: IFSIA), which manufactures, markets, and installs carpets, floor covering, and related products. The stock dropped 13.55%, decreasing from $9.96 to $8.61, due to a sluggish commercial real estate market and rising oil prices. McKissack says the company will recover. Our target price is $12.50 to $13.”

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