Every quarter, many money managers have to disclose what they've bought and sold via "13F" filings. Their latest moves can shine a bright light on smart stock picks.
Today, let's look at investing giant Donald Yacktman, who founded Yacktman Asset Management in 1992. He isn't as well known as investors like Buffett, Soros, Berkowitz, and the like, but his track record is right up there with them. Yacktman is a value investor, aiming to achieve the highest possible risk-adjusted long-term return on his investments. The company's flagship Yacktman Fund has gained 817% since its 1992 inception (as of the end of December) compared with 586% for the S&P 500 during the same period. Annualized, that's 10.9% vs. 9.4%.
The company's reportable stock portfolio totaled $24.4 billion in value as of Dec. 31.
So what does Yacktman's latest quarterly 13F filing tell us? Here are a few interesting details:
The only new holding is a small position in the SPDR S&P 500 ETF, an exchange-traded fund that tracks the performance of the S&P 500.
Among holdings in which Yacktman Asset Management increased its stake were its biggest holding, PepsiCo (NYSE:PEP), along with Cisco Systems, (NASDAQ:CSCO), Oracle Corporation (NYSE:ORCL), and Coca-Cola Company (NYSE:KO). PepsiCo's soft-drink market share of about 28% may be smaller than Coke's 42%, but PepsiCo is about much more than just beverages. It dominates the salty-snack market (think Frito-Lay, Doritos, Cheetos, etc.), and snack sales have been growing more briskly than drink sales. And carbonation aside, in overall beverages, PepsiCo actually leads Coca-Cola in retail sales. In recent news, PepsiCo is spending $5 billion to expand in Mexico, and after facing some lawsuits, the company has changed the name of its line of "Simply Natural" Frito-Lay chips to just "Simply." PepsiCo stock yields 2.8% and the company reports its fourth quarter on Feb. 13.
Cisco Systems has lost some of its luster in the past few years, but bulls see it as appealingly priced. Investors must accept a lot of uncertainty as the company enacts new strategies. An article in Barron's recently suggested that fears are overblown and that the stock might jump 20% in 2014, and analysts at Cowen like its big pile of cash and equivalents that can fund acquisitions as well as Cisco's prospects due to a surge in capital expenditure spending. JPMorgan Chase analysts, though, have downgraded Cisco, seeing weak emerging markets growth. Cisco Systems yields 3.1%, and it has been growing its newish dividend aggressively in recent years. It reports its second quarter on Feb. 12.
Data management software giant Oracle, yielding about 1.3%, isn't the fast grower it once was. It has made some competitive compromises and partnerships, as well as some acquisitions, such as online marketing specialist Responsys and cloud player Corente. One thing that hasn't changed is CEO Larry Ellison's generous and controversial compensation, which has often been in the tens of millions and in 2013 topped $150 million. Oracle is facing significant competition from other tech titans, but its second quarter still featured estimate-topping results. Oracle has doubled its dividend while announcing big stock buybacks and generating prodigious free cash flow that tops $14 billion annually. The stock seems appealingly valued at recent levels, with Deutsche Bank upgrading it in late January.
Coca-Cola is looking to the growing global middle class to help it double its revenue in the next seven years, but it won't be easy. The stock underperformed the market in 2013, facing weak international growth and challenges from regulators and health advocates. Coca-Cola is a favorite among dividend fans and yields 3%. Bulls are pleased with recent marketing successes and management's capital priorities, and Barron's has suggested that the stock could jump 20% in 2014.
Yacktman Asset Management reduced its stake in companies such as Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) and closed out positions in Dell, Inc., Pfizer, and Janus Capital Group, Inc. Microsoft also yields 3% and is getting close to naming its new CEO. Bears see limited growth prospects in the face of strong competition and don't love its Office pricing, but bulls have high hopes for Microsoft's cloud computing moves and they also note that PCs aren't' exactly dead yet. Meanwhile, many are waiting to see how the company's purchase of Nokia's core assets will work out. Microsoft's fourth quarter was strong.
We should never blindly copy any investor's moves, no matter how talented the investor. But it can be useful to keep an eye on what smart folks are doing. 13F forms can be great places to find intriguing candidates for our portfolios.