Mark Greenberg has one great job. As portfolio manager of the INVESCO Leisure Fund he gets to go fun places---like Las Vegas and Disney World---as often as he likes. All in the name of business.
Spotty trends--- looking at what people do with leisure time, where and how they spend their money---- is a big part of Greenberg's job.
"The way I define leisure is things people do because they want to do them rather than things they have to do." says the 41-year old who has been managing INVESCOs Leisure Fund (800-255-6927) for the past three years.
That means if research shows people like laying around watching TV all day, staying at particular resorts, taking cruises, hanging out with Goofy or gulping down a cold one or two every now and then, he'll have an interest in those things too.
Greenberg started specializing in the media, entertainment and leisure stock sector in 1983. Throughout the years he's developed a sense of where to invest and where not. And the fund's performance has shown it.
This year, for instance, the fund is ranked fifth out of 78 funds in Lipper's Specialty Miscellaneous category. Through Feb 11, its year-to-date total return of up 6.01 percent, while the average fund in that grouping lost 1.75 percent and the S & P 500 up 2.17 percent.
Looking back at its longer track record, and using INVESCO's performance numbers, during the last year ending January 31, the fund was up over 41 percent; over the past three years had an average annual total return of 23.52 percent; and since it's inception in January of 1984, had an average annual total return of 20.06 percent.
Why are fun stocks making money? Part of the reason is because of the economy.
"Leisure spending grows a lot faster than the economy on the whole," says Greenberg." And if you look at leisure spending as a percentage of gross domestic product, (gdp), it increases almost every single year no matter what periods you look at."
Greenberg said that in 1960 consumer spending and recreation amounted to about 1.2 percent of real gdp. While that number remained pretty constant through that decade, since then it has risen steadily and now represents about 2.6 percent of real gdp.
"The way I look at is as an investor is, it's better to invest in a growth business than a flat or declining business," he says.
With about 70 stocks in the fund's portfolio, this portfolio manager makes his picks gingerly. For instance, because of his leisure mind-set Greenberg's not likely to own Microsoft because most of they do is for businesses; but he will own Liberty Media because it's an entertainment- focused company. Or, he won't own Ford even though plenty of folks buy Ford Explorers and use to drive to leisurely places like to the mountains skiing; instead he'd prefer to own the companies that operate the ski resorts.
He's also not like to buy stock in companies that manufacture ski's. Not because they don't make great leisure items. Nope. In this case it's because of what he has learned from experience. "In most sporting goods equipment, like ski's," he says, "It's very hard to have an real competitive advantage."
See how his mind works?
What you will find in the INVESCO Leisure Fund is a blend of holdings in which the top five sector breakdowns include: Cable, nearly 30 percent of the fund's assets are invested in it; service/advertising/marketing businesses (over 9 percent); entertainment (over 8 percent); leisure time stocks (roughly 8 percent) and publishing (well over 6 percent).
The fund's top 15 holdings make up over 50 percent of where the fund's assets are invested.
If you like Greenberg's style, keep in mind that as always past performance is no indication of what the future will bring. And, that all sector funds carry extra investment risks with them---they are not for those who don't want to take on additional risks in hopes of rewards. Or for those who can't handle volatility.
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