Scraping together enough coin to win the annual luncheon auction with Warren Buffett is probably beyond most investors' means. With the proceeds going to charity, this year's winning bidder forked over $2.63 million for the privilege.
Feast or famine
While we likely can't afford to break bread with the greats, we can peek at their stock ideas through their SEC filings. Here, we'll pore over some of the top investors' reports, to see which stocks they've chosen as their best investments. We'll then check in with Motley Fool CAPS members to learn whether they agree.
First, a few caveats...
- There's a delay between when the stocks were bought and when these investors filed their paperwork, so they might have sold out since.
- These legends may be hot investors now, but that can change in an instant. Bill Miller was a wunderkind after beating the market 15 years in a row. Then he went cold for three. He came back in 2009, but we don't know what 2010 will bring.
In short, Fools, make sure you do your own due diligence to back up these ideas.
Contrary to popular opinion
In the meantime, let's take another look at famous investor Bruce Berkowitz, whose Fairholme Capital Management we last surveyed back in July. Over the past decade, his famed Fairholme Fund has outperformed the market by more than 250 percentage points.
- Company: Fairholme Fund
- No. of Stocks Owned: 22
Top 5 Holdings: American International Group
(NYSE: AIG), Sears Holding, Berkshire Hathaway, Goldman Sachs (NYSE: GS), Citigroup
- Top Sectors: Financials, consumer services
Like a number of the investing legends we've looked at, Berkowitz has a highly concentrated portfolio. His bet on financial stocks seems to be paying off; that sector has done well during the recovery. And he's added to his positions there, with AIG and Goldman stock now representing two of his biggest positions. Berkowitz loaded up on troubled bond insurer MBIA
Price is what you pay
For interested investors, it's no surprise that Ambac Financial
Now, after just missing a bond payment, Ambac says bankruptcy is in the cards by year's end if it can't work out an agreement with its bondholders. MBIA is in dire straits, too, though not nearly as bad as Ambac at this point, but it's not nearly as well off as Assured Guaranty
CAPS member Futurenhldad believes that as long as MBIA keeps making incremental improvements it has, it will end up surprising everyone -- especially the short sellers:
Their earnings are tied to businesses and banks, both of which are doing pretty well on the earnings front, unlike PMI, MTG or RDN. If they continue to watch costs and keep earnings growing, this could be the short squeeze of the century. 13% or 20.08 million shares short(although declining over last several mnths). I also like the 2.62 BILLION in shareholder equity.
Insiders have been buying MBIA shares, indicating a level of confidence that's more than just bluster. Berkowitz himself has suggested that of all the stock purchases he's made of late, he has the most confidence in this insurer's shares.
Because of MBIA's depressed valuation, Fairholme can only take a small position in the company relative to the size of the fund. However, Berkowitz thinks the market is mispricing the company; its adjusted book value of $36 per share at the end of the first quarter doesn't factor in any new business MBIA writes. If and when MBIA begins underwriting municipal bonds again, that income will be an added bonus.
Even though financial stocks have done well lately, is MBIA right for your portfolio? You can put the insurer into Fool.com's free portfolio tracker, My Watchlist, and deposit your opinion on the MBIA CAPS page, too.
Value is what you get
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