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 D. E. Shaw & Co., founded by David E. Shaw. It has a reportable stock portfolio totaling more than $39 billion in value as of June 30, 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 company's top three holdings (out of thousands), making up 4.7% of the portfolio's value, were Apple, IBM, and Berkshire Hathaway.
So what does D. E. Shaw's latest quarterly 13F filing tell us? Here are a few interesting details:
New holdings include Phillips 66
First Solar has fallen close to 80% over the past year, facing tough competition, supply-and-demand issues, threatened government subsidies, and ever-changing technologies. On the bright side, it recently posted strong results after a string of ugly quarters -- but then it announced a slowdown at an Arizona solar power plant, and got investors worried that the company may have gotten ahead of itself and may even have recognized some revenue prematurely.
Among holdings in which D. E. Shaw increased its stake was Alpha Natural Resources
D. E. Shaw reduced its stake in lots of companies, including solid-state storage specialist Seagate Technology
Finally, D. E. Shaw unloaded many companies, such as VIVUS
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.
The growth of solar energy has been bumpy, but it maintains a lot of potential. For a more detailed look at First Solar and its enormous opportunity, check out our detailed research report on it. It comes with a year of free updates, too. Find out more.
Longtime Fool contributor Selena Maranjian, whom you can follow on Twitter, owns shares of Berkshire Hathaway, Amazon.com, and Apple, 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, Berkshire Hathaway, and IBM. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of Amazon.com, Berkshire Hathaway, and Apple, as well as creating a bull call spread position in Apple and a synthetic long position in IBM. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.