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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 Columbia Wanger Asset Management. Founded in 1992 , it mainly serves other investment companies, as well as pension and profit-sharing plans. As a subsidiary of Ameriprise Financial, it manages mutual funds and favors small- and mid-cap companies.
The company's reportable stock portfolio totaled $23.4 billion in value as of Sept. 30, 2012.
So what does Columbia Wanger's latest quarterly 13F filing tell us? Here are a few interesting details:
The biggest new holdings are Singapore-based agricultural company Olam International Ltd. and Turquoise Hill Resources (NYSE: TRQ ) . Turquoise Hill is majority-owned by U.K.-based mining giant Rio Tinto (NYSE: RIO ) and focuses primarily on mineral mining in central Asia and Australia. Its Oyu Tolgoi mine in Mongolia, which was 96% completed at the end of last quarter, is set to become one of the world's largest copper producers. The $7 billion company used to go by another name , Ivanhoe Mines, and its stock is down more than 50% over the past year, making it more attractive to its fans.
Among holdings in which Columbia Wanger increased its stake were Silver Wheaton (NYSE: SLW ) and ARIAD Pharmaceuticals (Nasdaq: ARIA ) . Silver Wheaton is a strong performer with a profitable business model, financing other miners in exchange for a cut of their business. It's poised to profit from a rise in silver prices, but some would like to see more of a dividend payout. In the meantime, it has been making some lucrative deals.
ARIAD bulls are happy about its leukemia drug ponatinib winning early FDA approval, which will help with its cash-burn concerns. But its bone-tumor drug ridaforolimus was rejected in Europe. All isn't lost for that formula, though, as it might still prove effective against other cancers. The company's recent quarterly results were mixed, and it has been spending heavily on research and development.
Columbia Wanger reduced its stake in lots of companies, including optical-networking specialist Infinera (Nasdaq: INFN ) and TriQuint Semiconductor (Nasdaq: TQNT ) . Some good news for Infinera recently was its CEO snapping up lots of shares. Some think the company just needs a big customer in order to turn itself around, but in the meantime, cash burn is a concern.
TriQuint's main draw right now is its status as a supplier to Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL ) . Its recent earnings report was disappointing, though, and bears worry about competition -- from the likes of Skyworks Solutions (Nasdaq: SWKS ) . They also don't like that so much of TriQuint's fortune rests with one customer, especially now that Apple's sales look like they may be a bit lower than expected. Bolstering the company's performance are its less-focused-on networking and defense operations. Another auspicious bit of news was its CEO buying $100,000 worth of stock several weeks ago.
Finally, Columbia Wanger's biggest closed positions included Ryman Hospitality Properties (NYSE: RHP ) and AboveNet, which was acquired by Zayo Group.
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. 13-F forms can be great places to find intriguing candidates for our portfolios.