Here's What This 149-Bagger Has Been Selling

This company has averaged 28% gains annually over two decades.

Feb 27, 2014 at 5:31PM

The latest 13F season is commencing, when many money managers issue required reports on their holdings. It can be worthwhile to pay attention, as you might get an investment idea or two by seeing what some major investors have been buying and selling.

For example, consider Appaloosa Management, founded by investing giant David Tepper and known for investing in the debt of companies in distress. Tepper's investing history includes debt and stock in companies such as Enron and Worldcom. He made billions on bank stocks in 2009, buying after they imploded but before they recovered. More recently, he invested in many housing-related companies. In a letter to shareholders last year, Tepper noted that had one invested $1 million in his hedge fund in 1993, that investment would have grown to $149 million over the past 20 years. Investing in the S&P 500 instead would have left you with $5.3 million. Tepper's performance reflects an average annual net gain of 28%. Wow.

Appaloosa Management's latest 13F report shows that it reduced its positions in Freeport McMoRan Copper & Gold (NYSE:FCX), Broadcom (NASDAQ:BRCM), and Qualcomm (NASDAQ:QCOM).

Freeport McMoRan Copper & Gold offers substantial diversification beyond gold, as it's the world's second-largest copper-producer. In fact, it even acquired several big oil and gas exploration and drilling companies, which helped offset challenges from low copper prices. Bulls will point out that despite lower copper and gold prices, Freeport enjoys relatively low production costs, which prop up margins. Better still, these prices have been recovering. In its last quarter, earnings dipped 13% but still topped expectations, while revenue's 5% hit was disappointing. Freeport stock yields 3.8%.

Communications chipmaker Broadcom also exceeded earnings expectations in its last quarter, as it focuses on high-speed wireless networking, improved high-quality digital-video signals, and faster wired-networking equipment. The company's LTE business is growing, with Samsung having recently signed on. Broadcom has been rather underappreciated in the market, but low expectations can work in its favor. Broadcom has been developing chips for wearable technology, too, such as fitness devices. Its stock yields 1.6%.

Qualcomm is the leading mobile chipmaker, supplying iDevices and Android devices with chips and making a lot of money licensing its technology. Its Snapdragon 805 chip impressed at the Consumer Electronics Show recently. Qualcomm is poised to profit from China (though it also faces some regulatory challenges there), and it has been growing in the health care and networking arenas, as well. It's also facing strong competition in the mobile arena, including from Intel and its LTE modems. Qualcomm has been hiking its dividend aggressively for a decade now, and its yield is at 1.9%.

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Selena Maranjian, whom you can follow on Twitter,owns shares of Intel and Qualcomm. The Motley Fool recommends Intel. The Motley Fool owns shares of Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold, Intel, and Qualcomm. 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.

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