With shrewd investments in chaotic markets, George Soros' hedge fund increased investors' investment roughly 4,000-fold between 1969 and 2000. When investors' out-of-control emotions drive stock prices into bargain territory, the Hungarian-American multibillionaire's fund pounces. What can we learn from his latest investments?
Why Fools follow hedge funds
At The Motley Fool, we believe in creative investments that capitalize on opportunities the overall market may be missing. Like us, hedge funds go against the current, investing in stocks that the market may consider less valuable -- or, in Soros' case, even risky. These types of strategies have helped hedge fund managers make billions. A little insight into their holdings can help average investors find unorthodox investments that might pay off handsomely.
Every quarter, any fund managers overseeing more than $100 million must publicly disclose their holdings through the Securities and Exchange Commission on Form 13-F. The form lists all U.S.-traded securities the fund's manager held at the end of the quarter. Although the form doesn't disclose short positions or intraquarter trades, it can illuminate long stock bets.
To better decipher this 13-F data, we turned to Motley Fool partner AlphaClone, a research and investment management firm that develops investment strategies based on hedge funds' public disclosures.
Meet George Soros
George Soros founded Soros Fund Management in 1969. Starting from modest roots, the hedge fund has expanded to a market value of $5.34 billion across 677 holdings, according to the latest filing on March 31, 2011.
During the first quarter, the fund cashed in on part of its holdings in Adecoagro
Soros' fund also ventured into Visteon
The fund made some big investments in bank stocks. Wells Fargo
The fund's 10 largest positions (by value) and associated share-count changes as of March 31 were:
- Adecoagro -- new (was privately held)
-- reduced 8.7% (NYSE: IOC)
-- increased 1.5% (NYSE: MSI)
-- reduced 19.2% (NYSE: MON)
-- increased 11.3% (Nasdaq: DNDN)
- Visteon -- new
- Citigroup -- increased 174.2%
-- increased 22.6% (Nasdaq: WPRT)
-- reduced 8.2% (NYSE: EM)
- Wells Fargo -- increased 516.2%
Outside the top 10 holdings:
- Rising positions: The fund increased its positions in CVS Caremark and Danaher.
- Falling positions: The fund reduced its exposure to Apple and Novagold Resources.
- Eliminated positions: During the quarter, the fund sold out of its stock positions in Best Buy and Wal-Mart.
Selected Q1 2011 commentary
Soros Fund Management has a highly diversified portfolio. Sectors like technology, basic material, energy, consumer cyclical, financial services, and health care contribute more or less equally to the fund's top 10 holdings. Here's where Soros' firm is winning and losing, and making new bets, at the moment:
- Current winner: Emdeon did well, increasing 19% in the first quarter. The stock constitutes 2.2% of the total portfolio.
- Current loser: Citigroup lost almost 7% of its value during the quarter.
- New bets: Among many others, new additions include Adecoagro and Visteon, which respectively comprise 6.9% and 2.5% of the total portfolio.
So there you have it -- the blow-by-blow of Soros Fund Management's latest moves. Tell us what you think in the comments section below.
Company data provided by AlphaClone LLC, a San Francisco-based research and investment-management firm that tracks hedge-fund public disclosures. For more information on the firm's investment approach, visit AlphaClone.
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