The latest 13F season is here, when many money managers issue required reports on their holdings. It can be worthwhile to pay attention, as you might get an investment idea or two by seeing what some major investors have been buying and selling.
For example, consider Lone Pine Capital, founded by Steve Mandel in 1997. Lone Pine is one of the biggest hedge fund companies, and has reportedly outperformed the S&P 500 handily since inception. Its reportable stock portfolio totaled $23 billion in value as of March 31, 2014. According to its recently released 13F statement, Lone Pine established or added to positions in AutoNation, (NYSE:AN), Michael Kors Holdings Ltd (NYSE:CPRI), and Wynn Resorts, Limited (NASDAQ:WYNN).
AutoNation knows something about making shareholders happy, with an average annual growth rate of 20% over the past 20 years and a 22% pop over the past year. Boasting a market cap near $7 billion, it's the country's first nationwide car-dealer and its largest auto retailer, with about 270 new-car franchises. As it offers both new and used cars, it can do well in a recovering auto market and also in tougher times, when people favor used cars. AutoNation's last quarterly report featured revenue up 7% year-over-year and operating income up 12%. In May its new-vehicle sales, of 30,275, jumped 15% year-over-year, to a level not seen since 2006. One downside for the company is that much of its debt has variable interest rates, so rising rates can put pressure on margins. A new partnership with Avis Budget group should bolster sales. The stock is appealing, but doesn't seem a screaming bargain at recent levels.
Michael Kors is a retailer specializing in "affordable luxury." It has posted a string of impressive quarters, with its last featuring revenue and earnings up 54% and 56% year over year, respectively. It's hard to find fault with the company's recent performance, but some are pointing to a small pullback in gross margins in its last quarter, while others would like to see a dividend initiated. Bulls are not worried, though, and see Michael Kors growing briskly abroad, with sales in China more than doubling in the last quarter. All investors should keep the fickleness of fashion in mind, though. It's hard to stay on top for a long time. Given a forward P/E ratio near 24 and strong growth rates, the stock seems attractively priced.
Wynn Resorts has also been rewarding shareholders, rising nearly 50% over the past year and boasting a 10-year average annual gain of 22%. Its stock has pulled back some in recent months, though, in part due to fears about slowing growth in the gambling haven of Macau, which dwarfs Las Vegas these days. Wynn, along with some rivals, is pursuing new business in Japan. It's looking for equity partners, and Japan's prime minister is supportive, seeing gambling as a potential boon to the nation's economy. Wynn's last quarter was solid, with revenue growing 10% year over year and occupancy rates rising -- but the company is not growing as briskly as some peers. Wynn stock doesn't appear to be undervalued, but it does yield 2.4%.