Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, right? Well, when you're learning a new skill, imitation can also be a great way to hone your craft.

If you're learning guitar, you might pick up a book of Jimi Hendrix's licks, or download the chords to a couple of Bob Dylan's songs. So when you're trying to become a better investor, it only makes sense to take a peek at what the professional investors are up to.

For the Fools that don't have the time or inclination to pick individual stocks on their own, Shannon Zimmerman at The Fool's Champion Funds newsletter has put together a buffet of mutual funds that have collectively outperformed their benchmarks by 12.5%. For the rest of us, we can tune in directly to what some of the major funds are holding.

You see, the SEC requires institutional investment managers who manage $100 million or more to show their cards via quarterly 13-F filings. This week I've pulled up some of Brown Investment and Advisory's positions and, to make things even more interesting, I cross referenced its holdings against what players in The Fool's CAPS community had to say about the stocks.

Below are five Brown Investment holdings that have also been highly rated by CAPS players.


Percentage that Brown owns

CAPS Rating




Input/Output (NYSE:IO)









Intuitive Surgical (NASDAQ:ISRG)



Source: SEC Filings, Yahoo!Finance, and CAPS as of Aug. 6, 2007.

Now, before you make any hasty moves, remember that we're looking at what Brown Investments has done in the past. For all we know, since the last 13-F filing, the firm has drastically reduced its holdings in any or all of the above stocks. With that in mind, here are some thoughts on Navteq to kick off further research.

Getting on board with GPS
With just a few exceptions, GPS has been a great investment during the latest spate of market volatility. Whether you're talking about Garmin (NASDAQ:GRMN) on the consumer side, Trimble Navigation (NASDAQ:TRMB) on the commercial side, or Navteq on the software side, the last six months have been just plain sweet.

Garmin and Navteq happen to be recommendations of the Motley Fool Stock Advisor newsletter. Though both companies are in the GPS field, they know how to play nice with each other. Garmin is the GPS name most familiar to consumers, since the company makes the hardware devices that you throw in your shopping cart over at Best Buy. However, that doesn't mean that it's the more ubiquitous GPS player.

If you click over to Garmin's website and take a look at its products -- such as the StreetPilot 2820 -- you'll notice that if you scroll down in the description, there's a logo at the bottom that says, "Navteq on board." Now head on over to Google Maps. If you check out the bottom of the map, you'll see Navteq credited. In both cases, Navteq supplies the actual data on which these products rely. And they're only two quick examples.

Any GPS device worth its chips needs robust, reliable maps. Navteq's data fits the bill on both counts, and it continues to pursue both organic innovation and outside know-how to make its products more useful. Navteq has only one major competitor of note in the consumer GPS industry -- Tele Atlas -- and many consumers consider its maps inferior to Navteq's.

Making things even more interesting, Tele Atlas recently agreed to be sold to Netherlands-based GPS device maker TomTom. While TomTom will likely benefit from getting maps at a lower price, and having more control over map quality, the deal has the potential to drive Tele Atlas customers that don't want to directly support a rival to Navteq. The deal could also put pressure on TomTom's competitors, such as Garmin, to consider making an offer to buy Navteq outright.

A number of players on CAPS took notice of how hard Navteq fell last summer. One such savvy investor, CAPS All-Star JudasTouch, tagged the stock an outperformer last August and said that the "market has overreacted to typical setback for a growing company." Another All-Star, KempInTheWoods, recently quipped "20-20 hindsight: buy this stock last September," but adds that its financial growth and deep moat make it still worth a look today.

Eager to read more commentary from the CAPS community on these Brown Investment-owned stocks? Hop on over to CAPS and start interacting with the 60,000-plus CAPS players already on board. While you're checking out these stocks, you can also find out more about the more than 4,900 other stocks that are currently rated on CAPS.

More CAPS Foolishness:

Fool contributor Matt Koppenheffer does not own shares of any of the companies mentioned. Intuitive Surgical is a Motley Fool Rule Breakers recommendation. Garmin and Navteq are Motley Fool Stock Advisor recommendations. The Fool's disclosure policy invests like a pro, but has been told that it plays ball like a girl.

This article represents the opinion of the writer, who may disagree with the “official” recommendation position of a Motley Fool premium advisory service. We’re motley! Questioning an investing thesis -- even one of our own -- helps us all think critically about investing and make decisions that help us become smarter, happier, and richer.