Thursday, February 14, 2008

2008 Barron's Roundtable review

For anyone who didn't get a chance to fully read the three-part 2008 Barron's Roundtable issues, we're posting them here. All three parts from Barron's Online.

You may want to bookmark this post and refer back to it at your convenience. Especially if you missed out on one or two of the January Barron's Roundtable issues, as I did. Now let's get started with a quick overview of what you'll find inside.

First off, the Roundtable participants. Regular readers of the Barron's Roundtable will note that 2008's panel is made up of most of the usual suspects. Namely, Marc Faber, Art Samberg, Oscar Schafer, Felix Zulauf, Archie MacAllester, Meryl Witmer, Abby Joseph Cohen, Bill Gross, Scott Black, Mario Gabelli, and Fred Hickey.

An all-star cast, no doubt, but I'm sure that, like me, you have your favorites among this crowd. So let's jump in and get an idea of what each of them are saying in this year's Roundtable.

This year's Roundtable found most of the participants rather bearish on the markets and the economy, at least as far the first part of 2008 is concerned.

Part I introduces us to the overall sentiment that prevailed at this year's panel, while offering investment ideas from Bill Gross and Oscar Schafer. You'll also find online videos with Bill Gross and Oscar Schafer, sharing their ideas with Barron's reporter Michael Santoli.

Part II brings us the investment ideas of Art Samberg, Meryl Witmer, Fred Hickey, and Mario Gabelli. Samberg's picks for 2007 turned out to be big winners overall, with a few individual picks yielding triple-digit returns and only one significant loser among them.

Fred Hickey was defending a couple of prominent tech-stock shorts in Apple and Research in Motion that would have been very painful to keep on, had he been short the stocks themselves with no stop limits. Both stocks went up over 100 percent from their January 2007 price when the shorts were put on.

Fortunately for Fred, his short trades were executed through puts. The "four horsemen" of tech have started breaking down since last December, but are still far above their price of early 2007. His long positions in Gold and Silver ETFs fared much better.

Meryl Witmer notes that she's having an easier time finding value in this market, and Mario Gabelli offers his picks as well. Video clips of Witmer, Hickey, and Gabelli are included.

Part III, the final issue in this year's Roundtable series, highlights the market outlook and investment picks of Scott Black, Abby Joseph Cohen, Felix Zulauf, Marc Faber, and Archie MacAllester.

Zulauf was flawless in last year's Roundtable; all his long picks yielded healthy gains. We look forward to tracking his ideas from 2008 as the year progresses.

Marc Faber added some interesting ideas, as always. This year's picks highlighted currency trades and the future investment potential in Cambodia. Archie MacAllaster likes financials and a leading natural gas play. Video clips of all these panelists are included.

You'll find everything in the issue links above, including the scorecard for each investor's picks at the 2007 Roundtable. Enjoy.