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 investing giant Daniel Loeb, founder of the Third Point LLC hedge fund. Loeb is a well-known activist investor, famous for publicly airing his opinions about companies in which he invests and not mincing words when he's displeased. Loeb was instrumental in pointing out discrepancies in former Yahoo! CEO Scott Thompson's biography -- paving the way for Yahoo!'s new CEO, Marissa Mayer. More recently, he's looking to break up Sony.
His activity bears watching, because the guy seems to know a thing or two about investing. According to the folks at GuruFocus.com, over the 15 recent years ending in 2012, Loeb racked up a cumulative gain of 758%, compared with just 94% for the S&P 500.
The company's reportable stock portfolio totaled $5.3 billion in value as of March 31, 2013.
So what does Third Point's latest quarterly 13F filing tell us? Here are a few interesting details:
The biggest new holdings are Virgin Media and Tiffany. Other new holdings of interest include TIBCO Software (NASDAQ:TIBX), a Big Data operator that posted mixed results recently as it invests in a more cloud-computing-oriented future. It's been adding recurring-revenue contracts and some speculate that it may end up acquired by another.
Third Point reduced its stake in lots of companies, including Murphy Oil and Yahoo! Among holdings in which it increased its stake were AbbVie (NYSE:ABBV) and ARIAD Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ:ARIA). AbbVie was split off from Abbott Labs (NYSE:ABT) and kept the pharmaceutical business. Detractors don't like its heavy debt or the impending patent expiration of its rheumatoid arthritis drug Humira, which is expected to generate more than $10 billion in annual sales. It has other drugs on the market and in its pipeline, tackling Hepatitis C, among other conditions. (A Hep C treatment just received FDA breakthrough designation.) It also sports a 3.5% dividend yield, and its chief scientific officer is retiring, which should interest investors.
ARIAD received FDA approval for its leukemia drug Iclusig, though its launch hasn't been as strong as some had hoped. The company's bone-tumor drug ridaforolimus was rejected in Europe, but it might still prove effective against other cancers. ARIAD needs some more success from its pipeline. Investors are hoping for European approval for Iclusig and eventual approvals for other treatments.
Finally, Third Point's biggest closed positions included Tesoro and Morgan Stanley. Other closed positions of interest include Herbalife (NYSE:HLF) and Abbott Labs. Herbalife has some high-profile critics, such as David Einhorn of Greenlight Capital and Bill Ackman of Pershing Square Capital Management, though others, such as Carl Icahn, have been buyers. The company has been reporting solid results, with its first quarter featuring revenue up 17%, net profit up 10%, and expectations for double-digit, near-term growth. Some worry about its multilevel-marketing strategy, but those who believe and are patient can collect a dividend yield near 2.5%.
Meanwhile, Abbott Labs is now focused on medical, diagnostic, and nutritional products. Its first-quarter results were solid, with the nutrition division especially strong, particularly in emerging markets. Its devices business was less strong, but it has just had a new stent approved. Wall Street analysts such as David Roman of Goldman Sachs have upped the company's rating recently.
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.
Longtime Fool contributor Selena Maranjian, whom you can follow on Twitter, has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends TIBCO Software and has the following options: long Jan. 2014 $50 calls on Herbalife. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not 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.