At The Motley Fool, we understand that it often pays to zig when Wall Street zags, but that doesn't mean that we don't pay attention to what leading fund managers are buying and selling. And funds that aren't always in lockstep with the broader market can be a particularly valuable source of insight.
Every quarter, fund managers overseeing more than $100 million must disclose their quarter-end holdings publicly by filing Securities and Exchange Commission Form 13-F. The form lists all U.S.-traded securities the manager held at the end of the quarter. Although the form doesn't disclose the manager's short positions or the manager's intra-quarter trades, it can shine a bright light on his or her "long" stock bets.
Q3 2011 update
Donald Yacktman founded Yacktman Asset Management in 1992. He isn't as well known as investors such as 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. According to the folks at GuruFocus.com, Yacktman gained about 206% in the first decade of this century, compared with just 16% for the S&P 500.
The total market value of Yacktman Asset Management's disclosed equity holdings as of Sept. 30, 2011 -- the latest quarter for which data is available -- was $9.9 billion across 59 holdings. The company's 10 largest positions and associated changes in number of shares held as of Sept. 30 were:
-- increased 29.7%. (NYSE: PEP)
-- increased 16.3%. (NYSE: NWS)
Procter & Gamble
-- increased 12.6%. (NYSE: PG)
-- increased 2.3%. (Nasdaq: MSFT)
-- increased 7.9%. (Nasdaq: CSCO)
-- reduced 3.7%. (NYSE: KO)
Johnson & Johnson
-- increased 8.3%. (NYSE: JNJ)
-- increased 19.9%. (NYSE: SYY)
-- increased 3.6%. (NYSE: PFE)
-- increased 3.2%. (NYSE: VIA-B)
During the quarter, Yacktman Asset Management also increased its position in Corning
Corning stock got a haircut recently, when the company warned of lower earnings due to the loss of a major customer in Korea. But supply and demand for the specialized glass it makes for TV displays and computing tablets, among other things, is finally offering investors something to smile about. PepsiCo's relatively stagnant stock over the past few years has presented a good opportunity, as the company expands abroad with its drinks and salty snacks.
Selected Q3 2011 commentary
Yacktman Asset Management has more than 55% of its assets in consumer stocks, with technology and health care making up most of the rest. Tech's share has grown noticeably over the past few years. Here's where the firm has been winning and losing and making new bets:
Coca-Cola was a rare winner in the third quarter, gaining 1% while the S&P 500 sank by about 14%. Its strong brand and worldwide recognition give the company a big defensive moat and the power to command higher prices than many of its competitors. Its revenue has been growing both domestically and globally. The company has a five-star rating (out of five stars) at Motley Fool CAPS.
Many holdings sank during the quarter, such as News Corp., down 13%. Given that you'll find the company discussed in articles with words like "ethics cancer" in their headlines, it's not a surprise. Even if the Murdochs are ejected, troubling aspects of the corporate culture are likely to remain. The company has a two-star rating in Motley Fool CAPS.
The largest new addition was Avon Products. While the company isn't growing briskly in North America, it has high hopes for global sales. Latin American growth has been solid, but the company hit a speed bump in China recently, enough to worry some investors. But the folks at Yacktman seem to have faith that problems will be worked out. The company has a two-star rating at Motley Fool CAPS.
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. 13-F forms can be great places to find intriguing candidates for our portfolios.