Here's What Smart Investor George Soros Has Bought and Sold

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.

George Soros is known to some folks these days for his politics and philanthropy, but his fame stems from his wealth, which is a result of his outstanding investing prowess. He founded Soros Fund Management back in 1973 and, under its umbrella, the Quantum funds racked up an amazing record, reportedly averaging close to 20%.

As The New York Times has explained:

His huge gains have come from macro bets, which aim to profit from global economic trends by trading currencies, commodities, bonds and other securities. Mr. Soros made his name, however, betting on currencies.

The company's reportable stock portfolio totaled $9.3 billion in value as of September 30, 2012.

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

New holdings include Turquoise Hill Resources (NYSE: TRQ  ) , majority-owned by U.K.-based mining giant Rio Tinto (NYSE: RIO  ) and focusing primarily on mineral mining in central Asia and Australia. Its Oyu Tolgoi mine in Mongolia is set to become one of the world's largest copper producers. If you're wondering why you haven't heard of this $7 billion company, until recently it used to go by another name, Ivanhoe Mines.

Among holdings in which Soros Fund Management increased its stake was Freeport McMoRan Copper & Gold (NYSE: FCX  ) . Freeport has been hurt by low copper prices, higher costs of production, and global economic slowdowns, such as in China. On the plus side, though, it's a low-cost producer of copper and molybdenum, positioned to benefit quickly from upturns in metals pricing. Freeport has a balance sheet that's unusually strong, and an attractive valuation. It has a lot to offer patient investors, including a 3.3% dividend yield.

Soros Fund Management reduced its stake in lots of companies, including Westport Innovations (Nasdaq: WPRT  ) . Westport designs low-emissions engines that run on natural gas, among other things. Its future seems bright, thanks to a growing interest in alternative fuels and currently low prices for natural gas. Some think those prices may stay low, benefiting Westport. New government mandates for vehicle makers to boost their average fuel efficiency can also boost Westport. In the meantime, though, it remains unprofitable, with even revenue dipping in its last quarter.

Finally, Soros Fund Management unloaded several companies, such as Amarin (Nasdaq: AMRN  ) and PotashCorp (NYSE: POT  ) . Amarin, a late-stage cardiovascular-focused biotech company, has bulls excited about its newly approved drug, Vascepa. There could be more good news if the drug is approved for other treatments. In the meantime, there has been a lot of speculation lately about it being acquired by a big pharmaceutical company, with names such as AstraZeneca (NYSE: AZN  ) and Teva Pharmaceutical (NYSE: TEVA  ) being bandied about.

Major potash producer Potash has a lot going for it, but low natural gas prices have helped its fertilizer rivals produce nitrogen-based fertilizers inexpensively. A rise in those prices will help Potash, as will a global economic recovery, as some big contracts have been delayed recently. Some aren't too patient, though, as the company recently received a Wall Street downgrade due to lower expected production in the near-term.

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. Therefore, 13-F forms can be great places to find intriguing candidates for our portfolios.

The biotech space can make or break investors overnight and, while Amarin might not disappear into thin air, the success of its new triglyceride-lowering drug is key to the company's future success or failure. The company has huge potential, but don't invest a dollar before reading everything you need to know about Amarin. You can start now with top Fool.com analyst Max Macaluso's premium research report. Click here now to keep reading.


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  • Report this Comment On November 18, 2012, at 10:18 PM, CappinQ wrote:

    SOROS PLAYED THE CONSERVATIVE TRADE:

    Quarter ended March 31, 2012

    No AMRN shares

    Quarter ended June 30 2012

    300,000 AMRN shares

    Quarter ended Sept 30 2012

    No AMRN shares

    He owned his shares from somewhere between 3 months and 6 months. He bought somewhere around $11 and probably was able to sell around $14.

    It would appear that his sole goal was to cash in on the run-up to FDA approval. Investing around $3 Million Dollars, he probably earned about $1 Million Dollars in 3-6 Months with almost NO risk.

    Sure there are still huge gains possible in AMRN, but there are also some risks. If you don't have the time, you might not want to risk waiting for Amarin to be bought.

    If I was investing $3 Million in AMRN, I probably would have cashed out with a 30% gain as well. Maybe I would have left the Million gained in the stock though. I do still expect big things coming for AMRN. But you can't blame Soros, he got a very nice gain.

  • Report this Comment On November 19, 2012, at 8:15 AM, NoPanicBill wrote:

    Everyone is writing about NCE as the reason AMRN has not been sold. That is rediculus. Joe Z is as smart as they come. He has everything to gain by not selling AMRN until mid to late next year. In his earnings report he stated that the NDA (new drug application) for the Anchor study >200<500 would be presented to the FDA before the end of February. This places approval before the end of the year. This will enhance the value of the company to over $8 billion from just under $2 billion from the Marine stuffy >500 only. The NCE is not important because of the extension of time from each new drug application that is approved by the FDA. The Anchor study will extend eclusitivity to 4 years. Then there is the Reduce-it study for Statins. This study was requested from AMRN by the FDA at a cost of $125 million to complete the study. This will not be completed until well into 2015. Approval would not happen until some time in 2016. Add 3 years to that and you now have soull exclusive rights for 6 full years. So the real catalyst is not NCE. It is the first positive report on Reduce-it that will apart big pharm. Ito action. Look for that to happen mid to late next year. This will propel AMRN to extraordinary and proper price ranges that Joe Z will sell the company. There are 2 ways to play it. Buy the stock unmargined and ride the ups and downs for the duration or buy call options starting at June 15 strike price and if there is no deal by then rolling over into a January 2014 $15 call. The key is patience and good results from Reduce-it not NCE on Marine, but I would like to add that the longer the FDA takes the better it is for AMRN as a positive sign that it will be granted. Just remember that the key is Reduce-it for the optimum selling price.

  • Report this Comment On November 19, 2012, at 9:19 AM, NoPanicBill wrote:

    I apologize for the spelling errors. My thumbs didn't wake up so well this morning. A correction also is that AMRN would have 7 years not 6 years of protection. Thanks. Never panic. Leave your emotions at the door when you check in at the trading floor. You will find a lot more success.

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