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Andrew T. Gillies is Director of Communications at the Center for Audit Quality, an affiliate of the American Institute of CPAs, in Washington, DC. Based in Washington since 2002, he has also worked in editorial and communications roles at the Investment Company Institute, the World Bank, Forbes, and Vault.com. His policy-themed writing has focused on aerospace and defense, energy and environment, transportation, and financial services.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Scorecard: 2007 Beltway Stock Bets

Washington, D.C. - Investing is a focus of our Business in the Beltway coverage on Forbes.com. The proposition is straightforward--what goes on in Washington has ramifications on Wall Street, for good or ill. So we regularly serve up ideas on publicly traded companies that could get a lift from policy action, procurement or crack lobbying squads.

In 2007, this author wrote 23 stories with a view toward the Beltway-minded investor. On average, stocks highlighted in those stories show an average total return of 11%, using prices from the date of publication through market close on Dec. 13, vs. a return of 3% for the S&P 500 during equivalent time periods.

The usual caveats apply. That 11% return for these Beltway stocks is overstated by at least a couple of percentage points, since it doesn't factor in trading expenses. Also, we'll note that most folks should think about owning individual stocks for longer than one year.

Nevertheless, December is a time for retrospectives. It's also a chance for active investors to think about either taking profits or dumping stinkers to harvest a capital loss.

Full story at Forbes.com