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 Southeastern Asset Management, run by respected value investor Mason Hawkins since 1975. He and his partner also manage the venerable Longleaf Partners Fund, which has a 20-year cumulative return of 613% versus 356% for the S&P 500.
Hawkins has described his investing approach as seeking out companies with "good business, good performance, and a good price."
The company's reportable stock portfolio totaled $24 billion in value as of March 31, 2012.
The fund's top three holdings, representing 24% of its total assets, are Dell, Chesapeake Energy, and DIRECTV. Along with Carl Icahn, Hawkins has been an activist investor with scandal-ridden Chesapeake, agitating for much better governance.
So what does Southeastern's latest quarterly 13F filing tell us? Here are a few interesting details:
New holdings include Republic Services
CONSOL Energy specializes in coal and natural gas and operates in promising shale fields. Some like its operating efficiency, but others don't like its debt levels and recent valuation. Metallurgical coal has become an increasingly important part of its business, too, as it's a critical component for steel. As the global economy recovers, there should be more demand for steel.
Among holdings in which Southeastern increased its stake was Level 3 Communications
Southeastern reduced its stake in lots of companies, including insurance broker and reinsurance specialist Willis Group Holdings
Finally, Southeastern unloaded all its shares of Yum! Brands
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 13F 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 Netflix, 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 Netflix and Chesapeake Energy. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of Netflix, Chesapeake Energy, and Republic Services. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.