Imitation is the best form of flattery, right? Well, when you're learning a new skill, imitation can also be a great way to hone your craft.

If you're learning guitar, you might pick up a book of Jimi Hendrix's licks or download the chords to a couple of Bob Dylan's songs. So when you're trying to become a better investor, it only makes sense to take a peek at what the professional investors are up to.

For those of you who don't have the time or inclination to pick individual stocks on your own, Shannon Zimmerman at the Fool's Champion Funds newsletter has put together a buffet of mutual funds that have collectively outperformed their benchmarks by more than 15 percentage points. But for the rest of us, we can tune in directly to what some of the major funds are holding.

You see, the SEC requires institutional investment managers who manage $100 million or more to show their cards in quarterly 13-F filings. This week I'm looking at one of the top-performing institutional managers that's tracked on CAPS, Fortis Investments. I've dug in to see what kind of moves Fortis has been making. And to make things even more interesting, I cross-referenced its stocks against the opinions of The Fool's CAPS community.

Below are three stocks in which Fortis increased its holdings between its March and June filings ...


Percentage Change in Fortis' Position

Current Market Value of Fortis' Position

CAPS Rating



$135 million




$31 million


Lehman Brothers (NYSE:LEH)


$48 million


Source: CapitalIQ, Yahoo!Finance, and CAPS as of Oct. 22, 2007.

... as well as stocks in which the firm lightened its position:


Percentage Change in Fortis' Position

Current Market Value of Fortis' Position

CAPS Rating

General Electric (NYSE:GE)


$69 million


Gilead Sciences (NASDAQ:GILD)


$15 million


Merck (NYSE:MRK)


$11 million


Source: CapitalIQ, Yahoo!Finance, and CAPS as of Oct. 22, 2007.

Now before you jump to it and make any hasty moves, remember that we're looking back at what Fortis has already done. For all we know, since the last 13-F filing, the firm may have drastically changed its holdings in any or all of the above stocks. With that in mind, here are some thoughts on Fortis' increase in its Google holdings to kick off some further research.

The Google battleground
Google has garnered a lot of coverage lately, thanks to its heady 28% run from the low $500s in late July to its price tag today. Investors also seem to be a bit obsessed with the high nominal price of Google's stock.

Google's two-star rating on CAPS reflects the high level of disagreement in CAPS over the stock's prospects for beating the S&P 500. Although there are more than 5,000 CAPS players who think Google will outperform, there are nearly 2,000 who think the opposite. Both sides have convincing arguments.

  • CAPS All-Star and former Top Fool TMFEldrehad is one of the Google bears, claiming, "As good as Google is, I just find it hard to imagine how a $100B+ market cap company can grow into a 50+ trailing P/E valuation."
  • MCKIrobert is on the same page and gave Google the thumbs-down, saying that "Google is going to have to post incredible earnings growth in order to justify this stock price."
  • Falling on the bull side of the debate is the very Foolish TMFBreakerJava, who recently called Google "the dominant player in the hottest market in the largest economy in the world" and noted that "there is no end in sight to the growth of the Internet and none to the growth in the use of their services."
  • Similarly bullish is yippiekiyeh, who looked at the competitive landscape and said, "I think Google can fight off Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) and dominate the search engine world (oh wait they already have!)."

So who's right here: is Fortis' continued accumulation of Google a wise move? Or is the stock just too darn expensive? Hop on over to CAPS and start interacting with the other 70,000-plus CAPS players. While you're weighing in on these stocks, you can also find out more about more than 5,000 other stocks that are rated on CAPS.

More CAPS Foolishness:

This article represents the opinion of the writer, who may disagree with the “official” recommendation position of a Motley Fool premium advisory service. We’re motley! Questioning an investing thesis -- even one of our own -- helps us all think critically about investing and make decisions that help us become smarter, happier, and richer.