Odd-Couple Stocks to Balance Your Portfolio's Qi
byAug 24th 2011 1:15PM
Over the past few weeks, it may seem like no matter what moves you've made in your portfolio, they've been all wrong. Down markets have an uncanny habit of sucking the will to invest out of even the most long-term-minded of investors.
But just as your body needs to be reinvigorated from time to time, your portfolio could benefit from an occasional "energy realignment."
Find Balance by Adding Yin to Your Portfolio's Yang
To realign your portfolio, think further outside the box than you ever have before -- beyond just a company's balance sheet and against the grain of traditional investing. Just as the old adage dictates that "opposites attract," embracing night-and-day investment opposites can bring balance to your portfolio and serenity to your mind.
Here are four portfolio pairings that under normal circumstances may make traders scratch their heads in disbelief, but might bring balance to some investors now.
The Adventurist and the Couch Potato
Chances are you fall into one of two walks of life. You either lead an active lifestyle, or you fall into the category where I'd likely place myself: one step away from clinically lazy. Both camps have corresponding stocks that can offer balance to a portfolio.
For the adventurous there's Polaris Industries (PII), a company that manufactures everything from snowmobiles to all-terrain vehicles. Polaris grew revenue by 27% in 2010 and has rewarded shareholders with 15 consecutive years of dividend increases.
Consider pairing Polaris with GameStop (GME), the one-stop shop for the dedicated couch potato. Featuring myriad video games and consoles, GameStop is the go-to for the video game industry. With video game sales cratering 26% in July -- the industry's worst performance since 2006 -- now may be the time to consider adding it to your portfolio while it trades near its lowest earnings multiples in years.
The Dumpster-Diver and the Neat Freak
Every investor would be wise to own companies that supply the basic necessities of life. One of those necessities that people will use regardless of the health of the economy is electricity, which comes in "dirty" and "clean" forms.
Coal, often referred to as a "dirty fuel" because of its contributions to poor air quality over many decades, is still the primary energy source for the United States. It's responsible for approximately half of all power generation, so it makes sense to consider a company such as Arch Coal (ACI), which supplies coal used by electric utilities. Arch is expected to grow by 26% annually over the next five years.
Coal is just one way to produce energy, so to prepare your portfolio for the world's future, think green -- specifically solar power. A perfect pairing with Arch Coal is First Solar (FSLR), which manufactures environmentally-friendly solar cells. With sales having grown annually at more than a 100% clip over the past five years, it's clear that solar power is set to become a large component of electrical generation in the intermediate future.
The Lounging Smoker and the Carb-Conscious Salad Eater
Some people are better at taking care of themselves than others. Regardless of where you fall on the health-hedonism spectrum, there's a perfect portfolio pairing in Philip Morris International (PM) and Teva Pharmaceutical (TEVA).
Focusing on markets entirely outside of the U.S., tobacco product manufacturer Philip Morris is able to avoid the negative effects that domestic anti-smoking legislation has had on its products, while providing shareholders with consistent growth and a juicy 3.7% dividend yield.
Teva -- one of the largest manufacturers of generic drugs, and arguably one of pharmaceuticals' most impervious pipelines -- is going to see its drugs only increase in demand as baby boomers continue to age. People are living longer nowadays, and Teva's more than 1,300 generic drugs under patent are going to be the driving force to growing revenue.
A May-December Coupling
Generational and ideological differences tend to doom May-December romances. But in your portfolio, a pairing of the elderly and the youthful can bloom into a successful long-term marriage.
Opposite the elderly, nothing screams of youth more than the mall -- specifically teen retailers. American Eagle Outfitters (AEO) caters to teenagers in malls and online and is currently trading at a lower earnings multiple than it has since the 2008-09 market meltdown. Stacked with a debt-free balance sheet and, much like Lincare, a substantial dividend, it could give your portfolio the boost it needs.
Got Any Odd Couples in Your Portfolio?
These four odd couples are just the tip of the iceberg of what can be done to get your portfolio back into balance. What odd couples can you think of that would make perfect portfolio pairings? Share them in the comments section below.
Motley Fool contributor Sean Williams has no material interest in any companies mentioned in this article. You can follow him on CAPS under the screen name TMFUltraLong The Motley Fool owns shares of Teva Pharmaceutical, GameStop, and Philip Morris International. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of First Solar, Philip Morris International, and Teva Pharmaceutical, as well as writing covered calls on GameStop.