Ken Fisher manages a multibillion-dollar hedge fund. Remarkably, for the past decade and a half, the billionaire's picks have outperformed the stock market by more than 5% on average annually. Each quarter, money managers like Fisher must divulge their stock maneuvers, giving humble investors -- like you and me -- an opportunity to see what the smartest money people are doing.

Let's take a more in-depth look at a few stocks that Fisher loaded up on, according to Fisher Asset Management's most recent quarterly 13-F SEC filing.

Company

Action

Percent of Portfolio

P/E Ratio

Apple(NASDAQ:AAPL)

Increased position by 995%

1.77%

13

Berkshire Hathaway(NYSE:BRK-B)

Increased position by 20,571%

0.73%

16

Mondelez International(NASDAQ:MDLZ)

Increased position by 5,158%

0.05%

14

Petroleo Brasileiro(NYSE:PBR)

New to portfolio

1.13%

6

Novartis(NYSE:NVS)

New to portfolio

0.86%

16

Sources: Whale Wisdom, The Motley Fool.

Old favorites
Arguably one of the most innovative companies on the planet, Apple is attractive for a long list of reasons, including its ability to produce wildly popular products. With nearly $30 billion in balance sheet cash and short-term investments, the company boasts some of the strongest financials around. Fisher greatly increased the fund's position in the company in the third quarter, making Apple its 10th largest holding. 

Under the stewardship of longtime CEO Warren Buffett, Berkshire Hathaway is a holding company of many diverse businesses including insurance, railroads, manufacturing, and retail. Berkshire recently announced an unprecedented share repurchase plan, which is viewed as an indicator that Buffett thinks Berkshire trades cheaply. It's the first formal program of its kind in the company's history. Fisher liked what he saw, backed up the truck, and tremendously loaded up on Berkshire stock in the third quarter.

Global snack-foods company Mondelez International boasts leading brands in the cookie, cracker, chocolate, gum, and candy categories. More than 80% of Mondelez's revenues are generated outside North America and more than 40% from faster-growing emerging markets within Asia, Latin America, and the Middle East. Consequently, Mondelez is well positioned to participate in the likely faster-growing developing markets, relative to more mature North American and European markets. As such, Fisher greatly increased his fund's position in the company.

Apple, Berkshire, and Mondelez possess price-to-earnings ratios of 13, 16, and 14, respectively, all close to the P/E of the S&P 500, currently near 15. So it appears the three stocks are trading at valuations in line with the overall stock market.

New additions
Fisher bought both Petrobras and Novartis in the third quarter. After the purchases of these stocks, they represent 1.13% and 0.86%, respectively, of Fisher's fund. A one-time monopoly, Brazilian state-run Petroleo Brasileiro is a leading oil exploration, production, and distribution company. It's suffered declining crude oil production, but it turned that around last month. Petrobras trades incredibly cheaply relative to S&P 500's current P/E of 15.

Meanwhile, Novartis trades more in line with the market. But Fisher may find extra value in the company's increased diversity. Novartis possesses one of the deepest-branded drug pipelines, including those for the treatment of cancer, but the company also houses a diverse mix of businesses. It's increased exposure to faster-growing areas -- including eye care, vaccines, generics, and consumer health products -- positions the company so less of its revenues are coming from pharmaceuticals. Novartis' diversity allows it to better navigate challenges that may arise within the health-care sector.

Foolish bottom line
I like the Apple, Berkshire, and Mondelez buys. As an investor who bought Apple five years ago at $183, I have a hard time believing there exists even more upside. But then I look at Apple's financials, walk by a jam-packed Apple store at the mall, and realize there exist just too many good things going for the company to be a cynic at this time. I also agree with Fisher's Novartis buy, but I'm not as certain about the Petrobras move.

But don't simply take Fisher's (or my) word for it. Roll up your sleeves, do your research, and formulate your own investing thesis. You'll be a better investor for it.

Fool contributor Nicole Seghetti and The Motley Fool own shares of Apple. Motley Fool newsletter services recommend Apple, Berkshire Hathaway, and Petrobras. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.