Better Know a Stock Picker

Welcome, Fools, to part 13 of our several-thousand-part series, "Better Know a Stock Picker," which is loosely, but not too loosely, based on Stephen Colbert's "Better Know a District" from "The Colbert Report."

Like Stephen and his thorough investigations into America's congressional districts, each week I take a look at a fund you may want to own. What's on tap this week?

Dodge & Cox International Stock (DODFX)

Expense ratio

0.67%

Fund size

$21.2 billion in assets

1-year return

27.64%

5-year return

16.39%

10-year return

N/A

Source: Dodge & Cox

Top 10 holdings

Company

% of Assets

Sanofi-Aventis (NYSE: SNY  )

3.3%

News Corp. (NYSE: NWS  )

3.1%

GlaxoSmithKline (NYSE: GSK  )

2.5%

Royal Bank of Scotland (NYSE: RBS-PQ  )

2.4%

Hitachi (NYSE: HIT  )

2.4%

Mitsubishi UFJ Financial (NYSE: MTU  )

2.3%

Sony (NYSE: SNE  )

2.3%

Royal Dutch Shell (NYSE: RDS-B  )

2.2%

Central Japan Railway

2.1%

Infineon Technologies (NYSE: IFX  )

2.1%

Source: Dodge & Cox

Meet Bryan Cameron
The fightin' team at Dodge & Cox International is led by Bryan Cameron, whom Yahoo! Finance says has been atop the fund's eight-member team since May of 2001. But he's been running money out of Dodge & Cox's San Francisco environs for nearly a quarter of a century. And he's been very good at it. Dodge & Cox International has bested the comparable Morgan Stanley EAFE index by more than six percentage points a year.

That's not at all. Cameron is also co-research director at Dodge & Cox and part of the 10-member investment committee for Dodge & Cox Stock (FUND: DODGX  ) , which has stuck it to the Street's stockinistas by besting the S&P 500 by more than 3% annually for better than two decades.

Don't expect Cameron to gloat, though. The lack of information available about him or his career is breathtaking. He's all team, all the time. But you would be, too, if you had his team to work with. According to the Dodge & Cox website, International Stock has eight different managers who average 16 years of picking winners at the firm. Eat that, Wall Street.

Or not. Cameron comes across as exceedingly humble and generous. For example, he recently gave $1 million to his alma mater, UC Davis, to fund the campus' first chair in international economics. Check out the humility in his statement about the giving: "I am honored and blessed to be able to establish this chair. UC Davis was an important part of my education, and I want to invest in institutions committed to excellence."

Sounds Foolish to me. Perhaps we should consult him for our annual Foolanthropy drive?

How he invests
Cameron is just as interested in excellent companies as he is in excellent causes. But of course, there's more to it than that. He's cheap, and so is his team: "We are guided both in what we buy and what we sell by an ongoing search for superior relative value, steering clear of popular choices that come at a price we would rather not pay." In other words, look for Cameron at the stock market's garage sales.

Well, at least usually. International Stock occasionally ducks and weaves its way through the investapo by choosing stocks that everyone else is avoiding. Stocks like Infineon, for example. The German chipmaker has bled red for years and trades for 24 times expected earnings, a massive premium to the portfolio's average multiple of 15.

What gives? Blame RFID, or radio frequency identification. The technology allows for storing critical data in a microprocessor that can be read wirelessly. It's also a specialty of Infineon's. Recent reports suggest that the chipmaker could supply tens or even hundreds of millions of these processors for electronic passports in the United States and abroad. Plus, the Feds are expected to begin issuing digital dossiers this year, which sounds like exactly the sort of catalyst that drives Cameron and his team.

Is this fund for you?
But is he the next Peter Lynch? Maybe. He's at least in the ballpark, or so says Motley Fool Champion Funds advisor Shannon Zimmerman. He placed Dodge & Cox International in the Champion Funds portfolio during the spring of 2004. It's up more than 80% since.

Can the fund go further? History says yes. But if you're feeling reticent, the Champion Funds portfolio offers plenty of top-notch alternatives that have yet to take off. One is an international fund headed by a graduate of Harris Associates, the shop that hosts Bill Nygren's Oakmark funds. Care to learn more? Just click here to get free access for 30 days.

And that's this week's profile. See you back here next Thursday, fund nation. Good night.

Think you can't beat the market with funds? Think again! The selections in Shannon Zimmerman's Motley Fool Champion Funds portfolio are up an average of 18% vs. just 10% for their comparable benchmarks. Ask us for an all-access pass to get an unfettered look at all of Shannon's picks, manager interviews, and model portfolios. Go ahead; it's free for 30 days and there's no obligation to buy.

Fool contributor Tim Beyers is a regular viewer of "The Colbert Report." (Stay the course.) Tim didn't own shares in any of the companies mentioned in this story at the time of publication. Get the skinny on all of the stocks in Tim's portfolio by checking his Fool profile. Dodge & Cox International is a Motley Fool Champion Funds selection. The Motley Fool's disclosure policy is always championship caliber.


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