It's the halfway point in the Halftime Portfolio competition and, with all but two competitors far outperforming the S&P 500 this year, our experts are kicking off the second half with a fresh look at their strategies.
The year-long Halftime Portfolio competition gives each trader a theoretical $100,000 to invest in up to five securities and allows up to 52 trades. The performance is tracked and the winner takes home the title of "Trader of the Year."
Josh Brown is making waves and put on three big trades last week propelling himself into first place past the competition's previous leader, Jim Lebenthal. Brown started off the year focusing on big cap market leaders and plans to hold onto his lead by doing more of the same.
Lebenthal spent most of the first half of the year at the front of the pack only to slip behind Josh Brown and Stephanie Link on the final trading day in June.
Lebenthal began his portfolio with plays on unloved consumer discretionary and old-line tech names like JC Penney and IBM but does not have any plans to stray from that trend. "I like the portfolio holdings right now and I am going to stick with them for a while." He currently holds J C Penney, Apple, BP, General Motors, and Staples.
Stephanie Link's portfolio in contrast has remained largely constant with only one move early in the year, but she too doesn't feel the need to overhaul her strategy just yet.
"There's no real big change for me. I'm still looking for names with different stories within themes that I like, like the financials, tech, and industrials," Link said. She currently holds HD Supply Holdings, Lululemon, Red Hat, Morgan Stanley, and Allison Transmission.
The constant caboose in this year's competition so far is Pete Najarian, finishing the first two quarters with only one trade under his belt, selling Baxter International and buying Apple. He is down two percent but has his sights on becoming a much bigger player in the second half of the year.
His brother, Jon Najarian, made far more trades and is seeing considerably more upside than his younger brother, something he hopes to continue by ramping up his activity and focusing more on the micro picture. He's holding Harley-Davidson, eBay, Accuray, the TLT, and VXX.
"I want to start sticking to short-term trades and limit my holding periods to two weeks max. I've been too overweight ETF's and that's what killing me, so I'm going to be getting out of ETF's," Najarian said.
One outlier for the competition so far is last year's first place finisher, Joe Terranova. Terranova has occupied all positions except last place this year while leading the pack in number of trades with 20 so far. That pace of trading is slowing in recent weeks as his bearish positioning forced him to move into all cash. Last week he sold out of JetBlue and Interactive Brokers.
The second half of the competition is underway so make sure to stay up on all the action by watching Halftime Report and checking for updates on CNBC.com/Pro.