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Here's What This Market-Beater Has Been Buying and Selling

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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.

Interesting developments
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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Longtime Fool contributor Selena Maranjian, whom you can follow on Twitter, holds no position in any company mentioned. Click here to see her holdings and a short bio. The Motley Fool owns shares of Brookfield Infrastructure Partners. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of Brookfield Infrastructure Partners. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days.

Read/Post Comments (4) | Recommend This Article (2)

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.

  • Report this Comment On September 18, 2012, at 4:54 PM, spokanimal wrote:

    Excellent opportunity to buy Clearwire 10% cheaper today than yesterday.

    Nothing has changed to cause the drop except that Time Warner is selling it's shares in clearwire... a move that's been anticipated for quite awhile given T.W.'s new relationship with Verizon.

    The bigger news is AT&T's balk at providing apple's new video phone features on I-phone 5... an application that's a bandwidth hog... like many new applications are.

    These applications are the future of wireless telephony, yet nobody has the spectrum to handle it...

    except clearwire, which has tons of spectrum for LTE.

    Clearwire's new LTE network is designed to provide excess capacity where the carriers need it most... in the cities. AT&T's spectrum crunch is just the beginning...

    ... any carrier that wants to accomodate the new, bandwidth-hungry aps that people are going to want to use on their smartphones is going to need a company like clearwire... and the transmission volumes (known as "tonnage" in the industry) should me immense for clearwire a few years from now.

    Very exciting!


  • Report this Comment On September 20, 2012, at 3:50 PM, cjmac136 wrote:

    AT&T seems very determined to show Apple who controls the spectrum and what applications end-users will get to use, regardless of Apples desire(s). I believe they also withheld an E-Wallet type application last year, which would have permitted credit card charges via the iPhone allowing everyone to leave all those pesky cards at home and still purchase things. I believe AT&T has a desire to offer that application themselves directly to AT&T network subscribers, I'm sure with the intent of improving their own margins rather than saving on tonnage.

    With the continued development in NFC (Near Field Communications), I would think many user and retail business applications are possible (imagine instant coupon discounts or daily price changes for on shelf inventory), however may not be made available if additional network loading is a side effect, as both AT&T and Verizon appear to be networked constrained.

    The good news is GOOGLE appears to be developing a way in the Kansas City area to address the network operators gauntlet by widely installing fiber which would permit a micro/pico wireless network to be established.


  • Report this Comment On September 20, 2012, at 4:10 PM, averagejoeus wrote:

    The NIHD CEO's recent 12% buying should be investigated.

    1. Why increased his stake at this time? Is there going to be some kind of new big strategies/actions for the company in the coming months? Such as cost cutting, lay off etc.?

    2. How is it related to the 8% jump two days ago with a lower than average volume.

    3. Who are the people dumping the stock today on the news?

    Bottom line is: average joe can never win over the big forces. In this world, you can not play by the rules. Fundmentals? Valuations? Risks/Returns? Forget about it.

  • Report this Comment On September 20, 2012, at 4:24 PM, fakedandfooled wrote:

    Seems selling BPZ less then ideal but really wondering if didn't buy back @ its low in July ($2.01) then missed a nice run over last 2 still in rally mode, new high today($3.21) since that July low - should recover to $4-$6 area. No one wins em all.

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