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 investing giant Carl Icahn, who has made billions, partly by taking large positions in companies and pushing for change in them. These companies have included Texaco, RJR Nabisco, and Imclone. He's also drawn to companies in or near bankruptcy, wanting to make them more valuable in order to sell them at a higher price.
Icahn's company's reportable stock portfolio totaled $10.5 billion in value as of June 30, 2012. Its top three holdings, Icahn Enterprises LP, CVR Energy
So what does Icahn's latest quarterly 13F filing tell us? Here are a few interesting details:
A key new holding is Chesapeake Energy, long reviled for abysmal leadership and governance practices. Its stock is down some 34% over the past year, leading some to wonder whether it's now attractive. Plenty of negatives remain, though, such as massive debt, which the company aims to pay down by selling off billions of dollars' worth of assets.
Among holdings in which Icahn increased its stake were CVR Energy and Navistar
Navistar, a maker of trucks, buses, engines, and more for commercial and military markets, is down about 29% over the past year, with the company offering many excuses. Part of the blame lies with production and quality problems. The company is trying to boost business by expanding into emerging markets and emerging alternative energies, as well, via some strategic partnerships. Recently, the company announced plans to reduce its workforce, and some investors are taking a wait-and-see approach.
Meanwhile, Icahn continued reducing its stake in Commercial Metals
Finally, Icahn unloaded Motorola Mobility completely, as the company was bought for $12.4 billion by Google
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.
If you'd like to invest in an energy company and you, too, have lost faith in Chesapeake, check out our special free report "The Only Energy Stock You'll Ever Need."
Longtime Fool contributor Selena Maranjian, whom you can follow on Twitter, owns shares of Google, 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 Google and Chesapeake Energy. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of Google. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.