Billionaire Dan Loeb, Third Point Making Moves Last Quarter

Meena is a member of The Motley Fool Blog Network -- entries represent the personal opinion of the blogger and are not formally edited.

In the hedge fund universe, 13F filing season is here, and we’re bringing you up-to-date coverage of this situation. Our research has shown that hedgies’ consensus small-cap stock picks beat the market by 18 percentage points per year (use our market-beating strategy). Last year the most popular large cap stocks among billionaire fund managers outperformed the S&P 500 index by 8 percentage points as well. Dan Loeb is one of the billionaires we are tracking.

Dan Loeb, founder of the New York-based hedge fund Third Point, has built up a stellar reputation amongst his peers. With an equity portfolio in excess of $5 billion, Loeb’s stock picks are worth paying attention to, and his track record in activist investing is one of the best. Let’s take a look at some of the key moves he made last quarter, in addition to the Herbalife dramatics that we’ve previously covered (Details about that can be read here).

Cut Apple, Add Electronic Arts

At the end of the third quarter, Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) was one of Dan Loeb’s top three holdings, along with AIG and Yahoo! In his latest 13F filing, though, we’d discovered that Loeb sell his Apple position, choosing to add a range of equity investments. While many value-focused hedge funds are doubling down on their Apple positions, Loeb’s decision to cut Cupertino entirely has proven to be the correct move so far. AAPL is down more than 12% year-to-date, part of the longer swoon that has plagued shares.

Now, it’s quite possible that Loeb could become interested in this stock again, but it’s interesting to take note of one particular stock the hedge fund manager was adding last quarter: Electronic Arts (NASDAQ: EA). We’ve covered EA heavily in the past, and although the company operates in a secularly declining industry, it has managed to see its shares rise over 18% since the start of 2013.

Much of this appreciation has occurred since CEO John Riccitiello bought over 31,000 shares on Feb. 1, proving that insider trading activity is always a crucial indicator to track (see more evidence here). As we approach a new console cycle, there are more reasons for investors to be optimistic on EA’s outlook, and it’s important to recall that the company has the potential to go fully digital.

Biotech Bull

Loeb also took new positions in biotech companies Abbott Labs (NYSE: ABT) and AbbVie (NYSE: ABBV), while upping his stake in Ariad Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ: ARIA) by 85% from the previous quarter. Generally speaking, sentiment on this particular segment of healthcare is mixed, though it’s interesting to note that each member of this trio has gained at least 4.5% year-to-date.

At a 4.4% yield, AbbVie pays the highest dividend in the S&P 500’s entire healthcare sector, and Abbott offers a much more modest yield of 1.6%. Ariad, meanwhile, is not attractive for income-seeking investors, though Loeb has held the stock since the second quarter of last year. Wall Street’s average price target on Ariad represents an upside of more than 40%, though “monkeys” may be best off by considering all three of these biotech stocks in tandem.


This article is written by Jake Mann and edited by Meena Krishnamsetty. Meena has a long position in Apple. The Motley Fool recommends Apple. The Motley Fool owns shares of Apple. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. Is this post wrong? Click here. Think you can do better? Join us and write your own!

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