Here's What One of the Richest Americans Has Been Buying

Every quarter, many money managers have to disclose what they've bought and sold via "13F" filings. Their latest moves can shine a bright light on smart stock picks.

Today, let's look at Fisher Asset Management, founded in 1979 by Ken Fisher. You may know Fisher by his longtime column in Forbes magazine, where he's also No. 263 in the magazine's list of the 400 richest Americans, with a net worth of $1.7 billion. You may know his father, as well: Phil Fisher wrote the seminal investing text, Common Stocks, Uncommon Profits.

The reportable stock portfolio of Fisher's company totaled a whopping $33.8 billion in value as of June 30, 2012. It manages money for more than 100 large institutions, and its strategy involves macroeconomic research and fundamental analysis.

Interesting developments
So what does Fisher's latest quarterly 13F filing tell us? Here are a few interesting details:

New holdings include Las Vegas Sands (NYSE: LVS  ) , which has seen its stock fall from around $60 a few months ago to near $40 recently. That makes it seem like a bargain to some, but others are fretting over its recent earnings report that suggests its properties in Macau might be taking business from each other. With business sluggish in Las Vegas itself, high hopes have been pinned on locations such as Macau and Singapore, but some of that is slowing, too.

Among holdings in which Fisher Asset Management increased its stake were McDonald's and Diamond Foods (Nasdaq: DMND  ) , the first in a big way, the second in a smaller way. McDonald's has been suffering some due in part to a strong dollar weakening its substantial international revenue, as well as from rising food prices. Diamond Foods, with its shares having plunged by about 75% over the past year, has been plagued by an accounting scandal and has seen big executive turnover. While some see it as a bargain now, others are waiting for it to restate past financial reports.

Fisher Asset Management reduced its stake in lots of companies, including Cliffs Natural Resources (NYSE: CLF  ) and JDS Uniphase (Nasdaq: JDSU  ) . Cliffs, which recently hit a 52-week low, is feeling the pain of a weak coal and steel industry. Bulls see long-term promise, though, especially once the auto industry is firing on all cylinders again. China's continuing growth is another catalyst. Telecom equipment maker JDS Uniphase has also been socked by the world's sluggish economy, but with smartphones and tablets in an explosive growth mode, infrastructure building and upgrades can't be put off too long.

Finally, Fisher Asset Management unloaded several companies, such as Crane (NYSE: CR  ) , a maker of engineered industrial products. In its recently reported second quarter, revenue rose 4%, but income from continuing operations dropped 14%, with margins shrinking, as well. In a sign of confidence, though, the company hiked its dividend by 8%.

We should never blindly copy any investor's moves, no matter how talented the investor. But, it can be useful to keep an eye on what smart folks are doing, and 13-F forms can be great places to find intriguing candidates for our portfolios.

If you're not suffused with confidence about Diamond Foods or Las Vegas Sands, learn about three stocks that can help you retire rich in the Fool's latest special report. It's absolutely free, but don't miss out -- click here and read it today.

Longtime Fool contributor Selena Maranjian, whom you can follow on Twitter, owns shares of McDonald's, but she holds no other position in any company mentioned. Click here to see her holdings and a short bio. The Motley Fool owns shares of McDonald's. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of McDonald's. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days.

Read/Post Comments (3) | Recommend This Article (1)

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  • Report this Comment On August 08, 2012, at 2:51 PM, cp757 wrote:

    Selena Ken Fisher invests in Las Vegas Sands because he knows Sheldon Adelson is building Integrated Resorts that will bring in billions of dollars every quarter. Adelson made hundreds of millions of dollars when he started COMDEX (an abbreviation of Computer Dealers' Exhibition). That was a computer expo held in Las Vegas, Nevada, and held each November from 1979 to 2003. He used that experience to design the Integrated Resort in Singapore we now know as The Marina Bay Sands.

    The Statue of Liberty was a gift from France of the Roman Goddess of Freedom to the United States of America. It was a business card for entrepreneur's around the world. Every dreamer knew the statue represented the ability to earn riches. It meant, if he or she had an idea and could work hard, they could go to that harbor and gain the tools needed to win. Sheldon Adelson built the Iconic Marina Bay Sands in the harbor of Singapore.

    Why is the Marina Bay Sands in Singapore, important ? The Government of Singapore was looking for a way that they could develop their economy. They wanted to help develop corporations in Asia to gain access to markets. Sheldon Adelson the CEO of Las Vegas Sands was the man that had pioneered business conventions in the United States. Singapore recognized this and wanted him to help them. He was responsible for building convention center venues since 1979, and made billions helping to develop corporations through company meeting's,

    Why is the location important ? It sits on a peninsula across a bay from downtown Singapore. The view of the city, is of the largest financial districts in Asia. The city is the cleanest and is known for its modern architecture. The pristine lines of the structure were created by the world famous architect Moshe Safdie and to stay sensitive to the Asian culture was approved by its feng shui consultants, Master Chong Swan Lek and Master Louisa Ong-Lee. Sheldon Adelson wanted this to be an Asian experience. A new beginning. This is the start of an economic race that the world finds itself in and the Marina Bay Sands has become a symbol.

    What does this time in our world economic development have to do with the Marina Bay Sands ? The tax structure that Singapore has put in place rewards the efficient use of capital. They have 200 thousand millionaires in Singapore. They have come to Singapore to develop businesses and continue to grow that capital. Singapore gains by having those businesses hire the people and that gives Singapore a very low unemployment rate. It is expected to gain another 200 thousand millionaires in the next few years because these entrepreneurs can see the advantages Singapore offers. A year after Marina Bay Sands opened, tourism to Singapore shot up 20% and the economy expanded by 15%. No other company makes the kind of bottom line profit in the gaming sector as Las Vegas Sands.

    What the Marina Bay Sands offers besides the convention center is sporting events. In the 2012 London Olympics, Feng Tianwei beat Kasumi Ishikawa from Japan 4-0 in the Bronze Medal Match, winning Singapore's first individual Olympic medal. Singapore competes in sporting events and the Marina Bay Sands has events for the people to see. Boxing aficionados got the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to watch the World Boxing Association (WBA) Featherweight Champion, Chris John defending his title against Japan’s Shoji Kimura. The Marina Bay Sands Skating Rink was Christened by World Champion and Olympic Medalist Michelle Kwan, the skating rink is a family-friendly space that's perfect for the novice to the intermediate skater.

    The Marina Bay Sands and the Statue of Liberty may not look the same but they are both symbols of enterprise. They represent development, enterprise, and ingenuity. They also represent pride.

    This is a link that show's you Las Vegas Sands Integrated Resort in Singapore . Its called " Big Spenders: Marina Bay Sands, Singapore"

  • Report this Comment On August 08, 2012, at 3:25 PM, JF125780 wrote:

    Thanks Selena, I have a lot of respect for Ken Fisher and his columns in Forbes magazine.

    He gives good solid information you can trust.

    Also a thanks to cp757 whose comments always cheers me up when LVS drops in price for no apparent reason.

    Danny Kowkabany

  • Report this Comment On August 08, 2012, at 6:01 PM, cp757 wrote:

    Dan I am glad I cheer you up when the price drops for no reason, but the truth is the market will do what the market will do until we have conformation of higher revenue. I can post the numbers that are being put on the financial statement but then what. I can write that the hotel has a 99.1% occupancy and made 80 million dollars in the last three months. Mass gaming volumes reflected steady growth on Rolling win increased 6.9% to $267.5 million Slot win increased 12.7% to $143.9 million. In the last three months. What good does that do. Look this is the deal the Marina Bay Sands set up provisions for accounts receivable of almost 40 million dollars. I don't think they will use all those funds. I think the third quarter will be the biggest they have ever had but guess what, I said that last quarter. I still believe the stock is way over sold but we need proof from the figures we will get in a few months. I just think its better to look at what is really going on.

    Las Vegas Sands will be over 55 in a few months. They still make more money than all the rest.


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