The Value Investing Congress is the biggest investing event of the fall. Top value-centric minds like Bill Ackman and David Einhorn gathered to pitch their top investing ideas to a tough crowd of hundreds of like-minded pros. We made our predictions on the top stocks and biggest themes of this year's event before we headed up to New York to catch it in person. These, though, are the best of the guru's pitches that jumped off the PowerPoint slide and left us itching to do further research:
Joe Magyer, Inside Value: Greenlight Capital's David Einhorn laid out a great case for a stock I predicted would be pitched: General Motors
I was also intrigued by turnaround specialist Lloyd Khaner's case for juice-slinging Jamba
Michael Olsen, CFA, Special Ops and Million Dollar Portfolio: If nothing else, give Alex Roepers, head of Atlantic Investment Management, credit for the courage of his convictions. He's earned that right; his Cambrian Fund has averaged 18.5% annualized returns from inceptions. Yesterday, Roepers somewhat boldly proclaimed: "Coal consumption may be declining in the states, but it's a growth market globally." Of the fossil fuel trifecta, coal is roundly maligned these days. Recently depressed natural gas prices prompted power companies to switch from coal to natural gas feed, and its reputation as the dirty fuel hasn't helped.
Coal consumption concerns and fears of a global slowdown have pushed shares of Joy Global
Most significantly, maintenance revenue streams equaling 60% of sales bring some ballast to cash flows, reducing the risk posed by a nasty recession and the mining industry's sometimes erratic capital spending patterns. With the stock trading at eight times earnings, I'll be giving this one a closer look.
Joel South, Fool.com: With natural gas prices just off 10-year lows, it seemed inevitable that either an out of favor explorer and producer or a value play with exposure to a natural-gas-based feedstock would find its way into the Value Investor Congress. As it turned out, two firms pitched companies with exposure to gas but neither one was chosen for the reasons I suspected. The much revered JANA Partners pitched Agrium
Bryan Hinmon, Pro and Options: Glenn Tongue of Deerhaven Capital Management thinks AIG
But today, AIG looks much different. Its derivative exposure is virtually nonexistent and will be run off completely over time. The bulk of the company's profits comes from two respected insurance businesses, Chartis and Sun America, that operate in the mundane property and casualty and life insurance markets. Tongue points out that AIG is perhaps the most scrutinized company ever, with multiple government agencies requiring additional layers of disclosure, so the AIG of today has actually been scrubbed clean. The government has exited the bulk of its position, making AIG pretty close to just another insurer. But it isn't priced that way. Tongue believes AIG should be valued at least like an ordinary insurer (at about one times book value) and probably more. From today's price, that would be a doubling, and it will be a moving target as AIG grows its earnings and book value. AIG is a B-U-Y.
Joe Magyer owns shares and warrants of General Motors. The Motley Fool owns shares of American International Group and Joy Global. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of American International Group and General Motors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days.