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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 investment management company Avenir. Founded in 1980 and based in Washington, D.C., it oversees accounts for families, individuals, trusts, institutions, foundations, and retirement plans. The investors there seek a margin of safety in their investments, and eat their own cooking, putting their money where their mouths are.
Why should you look at Avenir's moves? Well, according to TickerSpy, Avenir has outperformed the S&P by more than 27 percentage points since the middle of 2007.
The company's reportable stock portfolio totaled $704 million in value as of June 30, 2012.
So what does Avenir's latest quarterly 13F filing tell us? Here are a few interesting details:
New holdings include Macquarie Infrastructure (NYSE: MIC ) , which offers a wide range of services, such as parking and hangar services at airports, waste distribution, and even the manufacturing and distribution of gas products. Its stock got a nice bump in August, when the company reported estimate-topping cash flow, raised its projections for 2012, and upped its dividend by a whopping 213%.
Among holdings in which Avenir increased its stake was Latin American telecom provider NII Holdings (Nasdaq: NIHD ) . The company lowered expectations recently, and has been investing in its network, but it's a bit behind the times, offering 3G technology in a world increasingly interested in 4G. Meanwhile, Brazil's growth seems to be slowing, and competition is tough. Still, some see the stock as attractively priced right now.
Avenir reduced its stake in several companies, including Clearwire (Nasdaq: CLWR ) and Brookfield Infrastructure Partners (NYSE: BIP ) . Wireless broadband provider Clearwire made some regrettable bets on a WiMAX 4G standard and is seeing its subscriber growth rates slow. It also has a hefty debt load (recently more than $4 billion) that has been growing in the past few years -- and it might need to sell some of its spectrum to help pay it down. On the plus side, it renegotiated a deal with Sprint Nextel and is making sure its new LTE standards are compatible with offerings in China.
Brookfield has much to like about it, encompassing a diverse range of infrastructure properties such as port terminals, timber, power plants, coal terminals, and so on. These tend to hold up in economic downturns, too, as people are not going to use much less electricity from year to year. Revenue has been exploding in recent years, but earnings have not kept up.
Finally, Avenir unloaded several companies, such as independent oil and gas exploration and production specialist BPZ Resources (NYSE: BPZ ) . The company operates mainly in Peru and depends on stability there, which isn't guaranteed. It recently reported net losses and rising costs.
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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