When the housing bubble burst back in 2008, many investment managers were completely taken by surprise, and lost big as a result. But a savvy few were able to capitalize on the losses of others, and actually came out the other side all the richer for it.

One could reasonably argue that none did this quite so well as John Paulson: In 2008, he started a new fund under the umbrella of Paulson & Co., in order to lend money to investment banks and other hedge funds facing more than $345 billion of write-downs resulting from their under-performing assets.

Paulson also wisely placed his bets against four out of Britain's top five banks, seeing profits near 280M pounds after reducing his firm's short position in the Royal Bank of Scotland in January 2009. And by putting his lot in gold, to the tune of securities representing about 96 metric tons of it, Paulson made $5 billion in 2010.

Given the remarkable foresight Paulson has shown, it would be interesting to get a sense of what market trends he expects to pan out, and see where he's putting his assets. And because of the Securities and Exchange Commission's 13F filing regulation, we can, at least four times a year. Institutional investment managers that oversee $100 million or more are bound by law to report their holdings once a quarter, which puts their portfolios in the public domain.

A look into the Paulson & Co. portfolio reveals that as of year's end 2010, he's maintaining his positions in SPDR Gold Trust (NYSE: GLD), as well as in Citigroup (NYSE: C) and Bank of America (NYSE: BAC), two banks he rightly bet on to recover when the market crashed.

Paulson & Co. also increased its holdings in biotechnology firm Genzyme, expected to be acquired by pharmaceutical giant Sanofi Aventis, and energy company Anadarko.

Here are Paulson's top 10 holdings for the last quarter of 2010. (Click here to access free, interactive tools to analyze these ideas.)

Company

Shares Held-09/30/2010

Shares Held-12/31/2010

% Change in Shares Held

% of Portfolio

SPDR Gold Shares

31,500,000

31,500,000

0.00%

15.41%

AngloGold Ashanti (NYSE: AU)

41,000,000

40,949,437

-0.12%

7.11%

Citigroup

424,000,000

413,525,641

-2.47%

6.9%

Bank of America

137,794,296

123,860,951

-10.11%

5.83%

Anadarko Petroleum (NYSE: APC)

13,400,000

21,277,761

58.79%

5.72%

Hartford Financial Services Group (NYSE: HIG)

44,000,000

43,950,701

-0.11%

4.11%

SunTrust Banks (NYSE: STI)

29,380,700

34,358,412

16.94%

3.58%

Comcast (Nasdaq: CMCSA)

40,000,000

40,000,000

0.00%

3.1%

Capital One Financial (NYSE: COF)

15,000,000

18,000,000

20.00%

2.7%

MGM Resorts International (NYSE: MGM)

43,800,000

43,800,000

0.00%

2.29%

Interactive Chart: Press Play to compare changes in analyst ratings over the last two years for the top six stocks mentioned above. Analyst ratings sourced from Zacks Investment Research. Note: The numbers on top of items represent the forward P/E ratio, if available.


Kapitall's Eben Esterhuizen and Alicia Sellitti do not own shares of any companies mentioned.

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