Exxon Mobil (XOM), the $400 billion market cap oil juggernaut, is falling today after reporting lower-than-expected profits for the first quarter. The Dow component reported profits of $2.00 per share, missing the average analyst estimate by $0.10. Blaming weak production and increased operating expenses, it was Exxon's first sequential quarterly miss since 2009.
Exxon's stock is down slightly in early Thursday trading, erasing virtually all of its gains for 2012. Over the last five years Exxon stock has gained around 7%, ex dividend.
Apple (AAPL) boot-stomped quarterly estimates on Tuesday evening, driving shares some 10% higher for the day. Apple shares are higher by some 50% thus far in 2012, and 564% in the last five years.
Exxon and Apple have two things in common. First, they both have market caps over $400 billion, adding up to just short of $1 trillion total. Second, Todd Schoenberger, managing principal at The BlackBay Group, thinks they are the only two stocks most investors need in their portfolio.
"Nobody ever got rich off of asset allocation, Jeff, so let's put that right on the table," says Schoenberger, dismissing everything you've ever heard about portfolio management. The better way to invest is to hold a "core and an explorer," meaning a conservative and speculative holding.
Clearly Exxon is Schoenberger's explorer; the question is why. He says he loves Exxon because of its dedication to shareholder value. Exxon has "bought back $125 billion of its stock over the last five-year period, paid $25 billion in cash in dividends to its shareholders, and they just upped their dividend yesterday."
A $0.57 per quarter dividend is nice, but only about a third of Exxon's stock has fallen today. Exxon isn't the only stock where shareholders are being "paid to wait" for a stock to rise—which could more accurately be called "being mollified by yield as the stock goes nowhere."
Apple is far more about immediate gratification. The oft-mocked, slavishly devoted Apple "enthusiasts" can easily justify their love simply by pointing to the scoreboard. Apple has had one of the greatest runs in history, gaining just over $600 per share since April 1997.
That works out to a cool 13,000% return, about 37.5% annualized. Bernie Madoff only had the gall to promise about one-fourth of what you could have made, legitimately, over the last decade in a half just by holding Apple.
Schoenberger uses all of the appropriate superlatives to describe Apple as a company: "category killer," "global operation," etc.
All of that aside, when forced to pick just one stock investors should buy and keep in their portfolios for the foreseeable future, Schoenberger sticks with Exxon Mobil. "Oil is as important to people as oxygen!" he proclaims.
Schoenberger's right, but the real question is whether or not oxygen is more important to people than Apple's rumored iTV.
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