A few of the secret portfolios Goldman gives clients are doubling the market’s return this year


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Financial professionals sit in the Goldman Sachs booth on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange.

Goldman Sachs apparently knows the key to beating the market, but the bank is only telling its elite club.

Along with good track records this month, the baskets also have solid long term track records. However, the bank doesn’t suggest buying and holding the various baskets all at the same time. They recommend certain baskets at certain times based on the type of market environment.

For example, Goldman warned clients at the end of last week about companies with big revenues from China, and specifically Nvidia, days before the chipmaker released surprise disclosure on China slowdown and blew up its stock. In the note, Goldman told clients to avoid its international sales basket and recommended its domestic sales basket instead for investors wanting to hedge against international risks.

High revenue growth

One of the best-performing baskets this year consists of 50 companies in the S&P 500 that have the highest expected sales growth based on the Street’s consensus. The equal-weighted portfolio has returned 10.7 percent so far in January and 143.4 percent since its inception in May 2011, versus the S&P 500’s 5.4 percent and 137.3 percent respectively.

“This basket focuses on companies positioned to use top-line revenue generation instead of margins to drive bottom-line earnings,” Goldman’s chief U.S. equity strategist David Kostin said in the note.

It’s actually no surprise that this portfolio has performed well this year as fewer and fewer companies are able to continue drive organic sales growth on the heels of a global economic slowdown. Many companies have voiced concerns this earnings season about the impact from the slowing demand and weaker consumer confidence.

Netflix, Align Technology, Amazon, Autodesk are among the dozens of stocks in this winning basket.

High Sharpe ratio

Another winning factor this year is the Sharpe ratio, a measure of a stock’s performance relative to its volatility. Goldman uses consensus price targets and options six-month implied volatility to measure Sharpe ratios.

“The inclusion of a risk metric has led to consistent outperformance on an absolute basis. The median stock in our basket offers almost double the expected return than the median S&P 500 stock with similar risk,” Kostin said.

The portfolio has returned 11.5 percent year-to date and a whopping 238.8 percent since its inception in December 2009. Stocks selected in this basket include PVH, Conagra Brands, Western Digital and Assurant.

— With reporting by Michael Bloom

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