The first quarter of ’09 was another turbulent period for financial markets but managed to end on a positive note and through today we are in the midst of a very significant and historic five week rally in stocks. Our stocks are now up for the year to date vs the broad market averages which are still down over 5%. In our last letter we commented on what we felt were extreme valuation levels that were reflecting economic weakness worse than a mere recession. While the economy has yet to turn the corner (and won’t for several months) credit markets are thawing, consumers and businesses are acting somewhat less frightened and to the surprise of many, company specific news has had its share of positives as well as negatives. It is clear that some of the “cash on the sidelines” has moved into stocks, as investors are looking ahead to next year and an eventual economic recovery.
We are pleased to announce that Susan Akers and Kara Lewis have become minority shareholders of Winslow. They bring valuable experience and achievement over several years with us and they will have an increased role in handling the day to day responsibility of running our business (Kara as President, Susan as COO) as I continue to focus my efforts on the investment policy and managing the research process as Chairman and CIO.