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 the D.E. Shaw company, founded by David E. Shaw and with a reportable stock portfolio totaling nearly $37 billion in value as of March 31, 2012.
Shaw is known as a math wizard, and a quantitative investing pioneer. His firm is reportedly extremely selective, hiring less than 1% of applicants -- and Amazon.com CEO Jeff Bezos once made the cut.
The fund's top three holdings (out of thousands), making up 5.3% of the portfolio's value, were Apple, Berkshire Hathaway, and El Paso.
So what does D.E. Shaw's latest quarterly 13F filing tell us? Here are a few interesting details:
New holdings include Exelon
Among holdings in which D.E. Shaw increased its stake were Halliburton
Seagate, up a whopping 78% over the past year, is a major player in hard drives and got whacked by flooding in Thailand. It has turned that lemon into lemonade now, hustling to meet demand and strengthening its position by buying back shares, as well. Also promising is the company's movement into improved technology, such as solid-state drives. Still, there's always a new technology, and these companies compete in a rapidly changing environment, which presents risks for those that don't keep adapting and innovating.
D.E. Shaw reduced its stake in a lot of companies, including Cognizant Technology Solutions
Finally, D.E. Shaw unloaded several companies, such as U.S. tobacco giant Altria
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, and 13-F forms can be great places to find intriguing candidates for our portfolios.
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Longtime Fool contributor Selena Maranjian, whom you can follow on Twitter, owns shares of Amazon.com, Apple, and Berkshire Hathaway, but she holds no other position in any company mentioned. Click here to see her holdings and a short bio. The Motley Fool owns shares of Amazon.com, Apple, and Berkshire Hathaway. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of Apple, Berkshire Hathaway, Exelon, Halliburton, and Amazon.com, as well as creating a bull call spread position on Apple. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.