Every quarter, fund managers have to disclose what they've bought and sold. Their latest moves can shine a bright light on smart stock picks.
Today let's look at investing giant Carl Icahn, who has made billions, partly by taking large positions in companies and pushing for change in them. These companies have included Texaco, RJR Nabisco, and Imclone. He's also drawn to companies in or near bankruptcy, wanting to make them more valuable in order to sell them at a higher price.
Icahn's stock portfolio totaled $11.7 billion in value as of Dec. 31, 2011, with just 11 holdings. Its top three holdings, Icahn Enterprises, El Paso
So what does Icahn's latest quarterly 13F filing tell us? Here are a few interesting details.
New to the portfolio is CVR Energy
Given this new purchase and the fact that nearly 17% of Icahn Capital's money is in El Paso, another energy company, it's clear that Icahn sees some value in the industry. El Paso is in a bit of flux, as Kinder Morgan plans to buy it, and its exploration and production business might be sold off.
Icahn Capital more than doubled its stake in WebMD Health
Icahn Capital's stake in Motorola Mobility
Finally, Icahn sold out of Vector Group
We should never blindly copy any investor's moves, no matter how talented he or she may be. 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.
For instance, Icahn's energy picks jibe well with what our Fool analysts believe about the future of the energy industry. We've recently called out three companies that will benefit the most from $100 oil -- check out our special free report to see which.