When it comes to big funds, Fidelity Contrafund (NASDAQMUTFUND:FCNTX) is undoubtedly one of the largest. With more than $100 billion in assets and a record that puts it among the best-performing funds over the last 15 years, investors certainly pay attention to what the Contrafund is buying and selling.
Thanks to public disclosures, we can do just that. Here are three stocks this top-performing fund has been snapping up lately.
1. Alphabet soup
The Contrafund doubled down on Alphabet (NASDAQ:GOOG)(NASDAQ:GOOGL), the parent company of search and online advertising king Google. The fund snapped up the Alphabet's Class C shares, understandingly finding value in buying the least expensive share class. (Currently, the C shares trade at an 2% discount to the A shares.)
Alphabet has enjoyed a stellar 2015. Shares are up about 45% year to date, helped by growing earnings and a new corporate structure that is designed to better outline the company's approach to capital allocation. Though search and online advertising remain Alphabet's bread-and-butter -- non-advertising revenue makes up about 10% of total revenue -- the company's so-called "moonshot" investments in driverless cars, robotics, and even life sciences will likely shape its future.
Alphabet put up impressive third-quarter earnings, reporting revenue growth of 13%, and non-GAAP earnings-per-share growth of 18%, year over year. Making a bet on Alphabet is making a bet that Google will continue to intelligently allocate the piles of cash it generates from online advertising into the next big thing.
2. A tech stalwart
The tech-heavy Contrafund didn't stop at search engines -- it also increased its stake in software giant Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) in the second quarter. The fund now owns just over 18.7 million shares valued at just under $1 billion.
Microsoft is no slouch. It recently reported that its new Windows 10 software is running on 110 million devices, and its cloud products are bringing in revenue on an $8.2 billion run-rate. Microsoft also announced that Office 365 now has more than 18 million subscribers, adding 3 million subscribers in a single quarter.
Often seen as slow to innovate, behind the times, and occasionally an over-eager acquirer, Microsoft's recent results have been impressive. The Office 365 subscription business is turning legions of its software users into a source of highly profitable recurring revenue. The key will be to continued innovation to keep its cash cow Office suite ahead of less expensive competition, like Google's free Docs programs.
3. A value play
Though it focuses on growth first and foremost, Contrafund occasionally finds value, too. This quarter it expanded its stake in global megabank Citigroup (NYSE:C), increasing its position by roughly 10%.
Citigroup is the least expensive of the four largest U.S. banks by assets, trading at less than tangible book value. Perhaps cheap for a reason, Citigroup's earnings have been slow to recover coming out of the financial crisis and its history suggests it often suffers the worst in downturns.
Past missteps do make it a little more attractive today, however. The company's losses from the financial crisis are shielding its profits from taxes. Recently, the company posted earnings that brought its return on assets to just a hair shy of 1% annually, a return most banks need to achieve to justify a price equal to tangible book value. This may underpin Contrafund's increased stake. With Citigroup seemingly on path to earn 1% on its assets, Citi may have simply been too cheap to pass up.