Here's What This $4.6 Billion Hedge Fund Company 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 Atalanta Sosnoff, which was founded in 1981 and is based in New York City. Its investment style is oriented toward growth stocks, as its managers seek earnings growth and multiple expansion. The firm's large-cap equity strategy has outperformed the S&P 500 handily over the past 10 years, growing by 123.5% versus 107.4% for the S&P 500.

The company's reportable stock portfolio totaled $4.6 billion in value as of Dec. 31, 2013.

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

The biggest new holdings are Starwood Hotels and Resorts and Yahoo!. Other new holdings of interest include Transocean (NYSE: RIG  ) , an offshore drilling rig owner and specialist in ultra-deepwater drilling. The company has been selling off some assets and focusing on particularly difficult drilling challenges that offer greater profitability. Transocean has also been charging very high dayrates, boosting its top line, and signing lucrative contracts, such as a $1.1 billion one with Chevron. It has a $30 billion order backlog, and it offers a solid 4.6% dividend yield, too. It still carries a lot of debt, though, leading to some poor ratings from Wall Street.

Among holdings in which Atalanta Sosnoff increased its stake were Philip Morris International (NYSE: PM  ) and Gilead Sciences (NASDAQ: GILD  ) . Philip Morris International yields 4.6%, and its dividend looks rather secure with its substantial free cash flow. It has been challenged by many smokers quitting or switching to value brands, as well as increased regulations and taxes. Philip Morris International still has many fans, though, who like its international growth prospects, its innovation, its share buybacks, and its embrace of electronic cigarettes ("e-cigs").

Gilead's all-oral hepatitis-C treatment, Sovaldi (sofosbuvir) reported cure rates topping 90% in clinical trials, and has received FDA approval. Gilead Sciences is well known for its success with HIV drugs, and it has also recently reported promising clinical trial results for drugs treating lymphomas and blood disorders. With the stock up more than 80% over the past year, some wonder whether it's time to sell Gilead. Many on Wall Street don't think so, as Piper Jaffray and Barclays have named Gilead Sciences one of its top stocks for 2014, and Bank of America Merrill Lynch has reiterated its buy rating for it.

Atalanta Sosnoff reduced its stake in lots of companies, including IBM (NYSE: IBM  ) . The company's third-quarter results featured estimate-topping earnings, but revenue about a billion dollars lower than was expected. IBM has been shifting its focus from hardware sales to software and services, which can deliver fatter profit margins. It's also involved in cloud computing. IBM has many opportunities (supercomputers, cybersecurity) and some threats (competition, sluggish hardware spending), but is poised to do well over the long run. For patient believers, IBM stock offers a dividend yield of about 2%. The company reports its fourth-quarter results on Jan. 21.

Finally, Atalanta Sosnoff's biggest closed positions included Anadarko Petroleum and AmerisourceBergen. Other closed positions of interest include Ford (NYSE: F  ) , which has recently been yielding 3.1%. There's a lot to like about Ford, especially with U.S. auto sales having had a strong 2013 and now facing a promising 2014. Even the European car market is showing signs of life. Ford recently upped its dividend by 25%, and its sales in China have been growing briskly. The fact that well-regarded CEO Alan Mulally is sticking around through the end of the year is another plus. Ford recently unveiled its new F-150, with 95% of its body panels made of military-grade aluminum alloy.

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

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  • Report this Comment On January 16, 2014, at 12:19 PM, spokanimal wrote:

    Transocean is a favorite of "contrarian" investors, who are attracted by it's strong, nascent turn-around, but it's residual image as a red-headed stepchild.

    With it's CEO now replaced and Carl Icahn riding herd on the company, they are now shedding obsolete assets, cutting costs, and building 7, new, state-of-the-art 6th-generation drill ships.

    In Q3, we got our first taste of good financial results from the company's efforts. As the results continue to improve, and Macondo is settled, anyone buying at this price today will be hansomely rewarded in the years to come with this company.


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Selena Maranjian

Selena Maranjian has been writing for the Fool since 1996 and covers basic investing and personal finance topics. She also prepares the Fool's syndicated newspaper column and has written or co-written a number of Fool books. For more financial and non-financial fare (as well as silly things), follow her on Twitter...

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