Track the companies that matter to you. It's FREE! Click one of these fan favorites to get started: Apple; Google; Ford.



This $12 Billion Hedge Fund Bought Cisco, Microsoft, and Xerox

The latest 13F season is here, 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 Bridgewater Associates, one of the world's largest hedge fund companies. According to its recently released 13F statement, the company has increased or initiated positions in Cisco Systems, (NASDAQ: CSCO  ) , Microsoft Corporation, (NASDAQ: MSFT  ) , and Xerox Corp (NYSE: XRX  ) .

Cisco Systems's stock has averaged 16% annual gains over the past 20 years, but only 6% over the past five. Once a rapid grower, the company has experienced shrinking gross margins and lumpy earnings in recent years. Cisco's networking equipment business has been challenged by software-defined networking (SDN), and the company is investing heavily in cloud-computing and the "Internet of things," though it faces serious competition there. Its last quarter was mixed, with revenue and earnings topping expectations but both still declining year over year and emerging-markets revenue declining. Cisco's stock yields 3.1%, and it has been upping that payout aggressively. Shareholders can also benefit via stock buybacks: The company has spent some $2 billion on them and is ready to spend $10 billion more. It seems undervalued, too, with its forward P/E near 11.

Microsoft Corporation may have lost some of its momentum and dominance, but it's not standing still. It posted solid third-quarter results in April, with new CEO Satya Nadella noting the company's focus: "This quarter's results demonstrate the strength of our business, as well as the opportunities we see in a mobile-first, cloud-first world." Microsoft is forging strategic partnerships with industry leaders, SAP, and others as it aims to boost its cloud and marketing efforts. It's also looking to offer smartwatches and is taking on the mobile market with its new Surface Pro 3, which is a bit of a tablet-laptop crossover. There's even talk of making its operating system a subscription product, which would long-lasting revenue streams and address the problem of satisfied customers waiting to upgrade to newer versions. Another winning move is letting Xbox 360 users access entertainment apps without purchasing Xbox Live Gold subscriptions. Microsoft stock yields 2.8%, and it has been growing its dividend by an annual average of 16% over the past five years. Still, bears worry about strong competition, the weak PC market, and shrinking profit margins.

Xerox Corp, like Microsoft, is also transforming its business model, moving from a hardware focus to higher-margin services as it sheds some non-core assets. Obamacare has delivered business for Xerox, and it has been inking long-term contracts, such as processing all of California's Medicaid claims and, more recently, New York's Medicaid management (in a five-year deal worth about $500 million). On the other hand, Xerox was recently dropped as the operator of Nevada's troubled health exchange. The recent purchase of ISG Holdings for $225 million will boost Xerox's workers' compensation operations. Xerox bears may not like a first-quarter drop in revenue and profit over year-ago levels or management's lowering of near-term projections, but bulls love its hefty free cash flow (topping $2 billion annually) and see lots of growth and promise in the company. With a forward P/E near 10 and a 2% dividend, the stock is appealingly priced.

Top dividend stocks for the next decade
The smartest investors know that dividend stocks simply crush their non-dividend-paying counterparts over the long term. That's beyond dispute. They also know that a well-constructed dividend portfolio creates wealth steadily, while still allowing you to sleep like a baby. Knowing how valuable such a portfolio might be, our top analysts put together a report on a group of high-yielding stocks that should be in any income investor's portfolio. To see our free report on these stocks, just click here now.

Read/Post Comments (0) | Recommend This Article (0)

Comments from our Foolish Readers

Help us keep this a respectfully Foolish area! This is a place for our readers to discuss, debate, and learn more about the Foolish investing topic you read about above. Help us keep it clean and safe. If you believe a comment is abusive or otherwise violates our Fool's Rules, please report it via the Report this Comment Report this Comment icon found on every comment.

Be the first one to comment on this article.

Sponsored Links

Leaked: Apple's Next Smart Device
(Warning, it may shock you)
The secret is out... experts are predicting 458 million of these types of devices will be sold per year. 1 hyper-growth company stands to rake in maximum profit - and it's NOT Apple. Show me Apple's new smart gizmo!

DocumentId: 2984896, ~/Articles/ArticleHandler.aspx, 9/4/2015 10:47:44 AM

Report This Comment

Use this area to report a comment that you believe is in violation of the community guidelines. Our team will review the entry and take any appropriate action.

Sending report...

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...

Today's Market

updated Moments ago Sponsored by:
DOW 16,180.78 -193.98 -1.18%
S&P 500 1,928.65 -22.48 -1.15%
NASD 4,711.28 -22.22 -0.47%

Create My Watchlist

Go to My Watchlist

You don't seem to be following any stocks yet!

Better investing starts with a watchlist. Now you can create a personalized watchlist and get immediate access to the personalized information you need to make successful investing decisions.

Data delayed up to 5 minutes

Related Tickers

9/4/2015 10:32 AM
CSCO $25.57 Down -0.33 -1.27%
Cisco Systems CAPS Rating: ****
MSFT $42.85 Down -0.65 -1.49%
Microsoft CAPS Rating: ***
XRX $9.98 Down -0.05 -0.45%
Xerox Corp CAPS Rating: ****