Earlier in the year, I gave you this year's forecast given by the strategists from ten investment firms, the advice from which private investors pay dearly. For the third consecutive year, we'll compare the return you'd receive from following their advice with simply buying the Standard and Poor's 500 Index.
Let's see how the quarter ended March 31 stacked up.
Oppenheimer's Brian Belski's advice would have earned you 5.26%, less commissions. You would have earned more with the S and P 500 Index, which earned 5.92% this quarter.
BofA Merrill Lynch's David Bianco's recommendations would have earned you 7.95%, more than 2% above the S and P 500.
Credit Suisse's Doug Cliggott's advice would have earned your portfolio 3.41% in the first quarter, 2.5% less than the S and P 500.
Barclay's Capital's Barry Knapp would have provided returns of 9.24% if you'd followed his advice, more than 3.3% higher than the S and P 500 Index.
Goldman Sach's David Kostin's recommendations would have returned 7.42%, 1.5% higher than the S and P 500.
JPMorgan's David Kelly's advice would have enriched your portfolio by only 3.8%, 2.13% less than the S and P 500.
Putnam's Jeff Knight's selections earned 7.67% in the first quarter, 1.75% more than the S and P.
Morgan Stanley's Henry McVey suggested investments that returned 12.25%, more than twice that of investing in the S and P 500.
Wells Capital Management's James Paulsen's advice would have returned 4.56%, about 1.3% less than the broad index.
UBS's Michael Ryan's advice was worth 7.36%, 1.4% more than the S and P.
Unlike the previous two years, a majority (six out of ten strategists) gave advice that was worth their commissions in the first three months of this year, with Morgan Stanley's advice outpacing index returns by more than 100%.
While impressive, he'd have to repeat this for two more quarters to beat a "buy and hold" strategy for the index since 2009. Nevertheless, it's an impressive feat, and we'll be watching to see if it continues into the next quarter.