Every quarter, many money managers have to disclose what they've bought and sold. Their latest moves can shine a bright light on smart stock picks.
Today let's look at investing giant John Paulson. Founded in 1994 and owned by its employees, Paulson & Co. has specialized in merger arbitrage, among other things, profiting when one company buys or merges with another (or merely announces plans to do so). It has grown into one of the largest hedge fund companies in the world.
Is Paulson really worth paying attention to, though? Very much so. According to the folks at GuruFocus.com, Paulson gained about 263% over the past 15 full years, compared with just 124% for the S&P 500. He more than doubled the market's return over the past five and 10 years, as well. That certainly gets my attention.
Paulson's latest quarterly 13F filing shows that as of March 31, 2012, his top holdings, making up roughly 30% of his portfolio, were the gold ETF SPDR Gold Shares, Delphi Automotive, and AngloGold Ashanti. Overall, the portfolio was valued at $14.8 billion, with 82 holdings.
So what does Paulson's latest quarterly 13F filing tell us? Here are a few interesting details:
New holdings include Ireland-based Covidien
Among holdings in which Paulson increased its stake were InterDigital
NovaGold has sold off various assets to focus on gold, with high hopes for its Donlin mine in Alaska. NovaGold has a 50% stake there, and has referred to it as "arguably the most important gold development project in the world." Some investors aren't happy with a recent share offering that has diluted existing shares, but others are interested in NovaGold because they see it as a possible acquisition target.
Paulson reduced its stake in nearly 30 stocks, including American Capital
Finally, Paulson unloaded several companies, including Transocean
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.
Our analysts dig into Transocean in a special free report: "3 Stocks for $100 Oil." Check it out to learn more and to meet some compelling candidates for your portfolio.
Longtime Fool contributor Selena Maranjian, whom you can follow on Twitter, holds no position in any company mentioned. Click here to see her holdings and a short bio. The Motley Fool owns shares of Transocean. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of InterDigital and Covidien. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.