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Here's What This 2,115% Gainer Has Been Buying

Selena Maranjian
September 6, 2013

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 Gardner, Russo & Gardner, a hedge fund company with a record that speaks for itself. Over the past 25 years, according to the folks at, it has posted a cumulative gain of about 2,115%, vs. 920% for the S&P 500. Over the past 10 full years, it gained 179%, vs. 100% for the S&P 500.

The company's reportable stock portfolio totaled $8.6 billion in value as of June 30, 2013.

Interesting developments
So what does Gardner, Russo & Gardner's latest quarterly 13F filing tell us? Here are a few interesting details:

The only new holding is energy company Dominion Resources (NYSE: D), which yields 3.9%, and has paid 342 consecutive quarterly dividends. Facing a decline in demand for electricity, Dominion is shuttering a nuclear plant. Bulls like its transmissions business and its aspirations for LNG exportation. Dominion has also recently completed a coal-to-biomass plant conversion, and has been beefing up its renewable energy operations, buying solar farms, for example.

Among holdings in which Gardner, Russo & Gardner increased its stake was DuPont (NYSE: DD), yielding 3.2%. There's talk it might spin off its performance chemicals business, and it has been experiencing weakness in agriculture, and demand worries over titanium dioxide.

Gardner, Russo & Gardner reduced its stake in companies such as Hasbro and Washington Post – which was recently bought by founder and CEO, Jeff Bezos.

Finally, Gardner, Russo & Gardner's biggest closed positions included Novartis and Alnylam Pharmaceuticals. Other closed positions of interest include Exact Sciences (NASDAQ: EXAS), Rite Aid (NYSE: RAD), and Corning (NYSE: GLW). Exact Sciences is developing a colon-cancer test, which isn't proving to be as exact as some might have hoped, though it still has value. The company has been issuing new shares, to raise funds for further product testing and development. Some think it might end up bought out. In its second quarter, revenue was flat, and losses shrank.

Rite Aid stock has been soaring lately, and the company is poised to profit from Obamacare, which should deliver more insured Americans demanding more medications. But Rite Aid is still bearing more debt than competitors, and has been addressing that in part by closing some stores. But it's posting growth and net gains instead of losses lately, so there is reason to be hopeful. Its August comps showed improvement.

Corning's second quarter was solid, with c