Click here to get a PDF of this post

 

 

 

 

 

As College’s NCAA Final Four teams have made it through their brackets and the games are getting under way to crown a champion. I am reflecting on stock market leaders and the great year to date performances many have had. I have traded a few different  stocks this year, some were quick losses, others I had mixed results with, but then there were a few that gave me the bulk of my returns year to date.

Here are the things I look for in a stock:

  1. I look for only the best stocks in the market, these are almost always found on either Investor’s Business Daily’s IBD 50 or the top ten S&P 500 companies for earnings and sales growth.
  2. The stock’s chart price action must respect key moving averages 5 day ema, 10 day sma, 50 day sma and 200 day sma.
  3. I prefer the stock to have liquid stock options to trade with to prevent big ask/bid spreads.
  4. I want the underlying company to have a special product or service that is not easily duplicated.
  5. I like the stocks to meet the CAN SLIM criteria.
  6. I really like stocks of company’s that are changing their industry or the world.
  7. I like stocks that are the most popular and are household names with huge growth potential and staying power.

My Final Four Picks in order are:

1. Apple $AAPL Over a 200 point run for the world’s biggest company, it is still hard to believe that happened and that I caught 9o% of that move.
2. Priceline $PCLN A monster parabolic move that I caught the last 50 points of after earnings.
3. Chipotle Mexican Grill $CMG While I missed this one due to being so heavy in other top leaders it’s chart is about as close to perfect as it gets for respect of the 10 day sma.
4. Google $GOOG This old trusted leader is still showing great trends (sometimes in the wrong direction) but allows great entries at the 50 day and 200 day simple moving averages for great gains. This was a great winner for me early in the year.

Which one will emerge as the greatest stock of 2012? We have 3 quarters to go, so we will have to wait and see. But remember facebook $FB will be entering this tournament soon and looking to take the crown.

Thanks to these stocks and in the money call options my brokerage account is up 50.7% year to date. I tweet out all my open positions each morning and when I close them at @SJosephBurns on twitter.