A report published by MapLight, a “nonpartisan research organization that reveals money’s influence on politics,” revealed the top stocks held by members of Congress and their families. Every year, members of Congress must disclose certain details about their personal finances and those of their spouses and dependents.
For once, Congress actually got something right. Three of the stocks in MapLight’s report have outperformed the market recently.
In fact, as a group, the following five stocks owned by Congress have outperformed the S&P 500 of late. They are:
No. 1 Stock Owned by Congress: General Electric (NYSE: GE)
General Electric is the clear loser in this group even though it is the most widely held stock among members of Congress and/or their families. Sixty-nine members of Congress reported a stake in General Electric stock.
The stock pays a dividend that is nearly double that of the S&P 500. Still, shares of General Electric are up less than 7.5% year-to-date and 25% in the last two years. Over the same periods the S&P 500 is up 11% and 46%, respectively.
No. 2 Stock Owned by Congress: Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT)
Boring ol’ Microsoft is the second most widely held stock by members of Congress and their families. Fifty-seven members of Congress reported having a position in the technology giant on their 2013 personal financial disclosures.
The stock is up nearly 30% year-to-date and more than 80% since the beginning of 2013. Both numbers have outpaced the S&P 500 by a substantial margin. Microsoft also pays a 2.5% dividend, significantly higher than the 1.9% average dividend yield.
No. 3 Stock Owned by Congress: Proctor & Gamble (NYSE: PG)
Proctor & Gamble has been lagging recently. Struggling to find growth, the company has decided to reduce its massive portfolio of brands, focusing on a core group of brands. It recently agreed to sell its Duracell battery division to Warren Buffett in exchange for all of his shares of P&G. That means that Buffett would rather own one of P&G’s divisions outright than own a significant chunk of P&G itself.
I tend to think that’s a bad sign for P&G.
The stock continues to underperform the S&P 500, though not by much. Fifty-five members of Congress and/or their families own shares of P&G. Together, they have enjoyed 11% gains year-to-date and 35% gains since the beginning of 2013.
No. 4 Stock Owned by Congress: Wells Fargo (NYSE: WFC)
Wells Fargo has been one of the stock market bright spots for Congress.
Shares of the popular bank are up almost 19% year-to-date, almost 60% since the start of 2013 and almost 100% over the last five years, outperforming the S&P 500 over every period.
Fifty members of Congress and/or their families own some stake in Wells Fargo and this investment shows no signs of turning sour for them.
No. 5 Stock Owned by Congress: Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL)
Apple is the real winner in this group. Though it is only the fifth-most widely held stock among members of Congress and/or their families with 48 reported positions, its inclusion in the top five stocks owned by Congress gives me hope for the future of our country.
The stock is up around 45% year-to-date, 59% since the start of 2013 and 305% over the past five years. Compare that to the S&P 500’s performance of 11% YTD, 46% since the beginning of 2013 and 88% over the past five years.
Congress may not agree on much but at least some of its members can agree on stocks. If you held the top five stocks owned by Congress in your portfolio you would be outperforming the market. Maybe Congress’s ability to beat the market is a sign of good things to come.
But probably not.
Disclosure: I personally own shares of Apple.
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