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Alibaba Group Holding Ltd (BABA), Dow Chemical Co (DOW), and LyondellBasell Industries NV (LYB): Billionaire George Soros’Top Picks

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Billionaire George Soros’ Soros Fund Management has recently filed a Form 13F with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, detailing its equity positions at the end of 2014. The hedge fund disclosed a total of 186 positions in its portfolio at the close of 2014. The market value of the fund’s portfolio significantly decreased to $9.16 billion from $13.40 billion. The fund initiated over 45 new positions during the quarter, as well as upped its stakes in more than 45 companies. At the same time, the fund reported reducing positions in over 40 stocks during the quarter. In this article, we will look into the fund’s five largest holdings, in terms of value, at the fourth quarter’s close, which consists of Alibaba Group Holding Ltd (NYSE:BABA), YPF SA (ADR) (NYSE:YPF), Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd (ADR) (NYSE:TEVA), Dow Chemical Co (NYSE:DOW), and LyondellBasell Industries NV (NYSE:LYB).

George Soros

Soros Fund Management is a New York-based investment management firm founded by the legendary George Soros in 1969. Soros returned an average of 30.5% per year between 1969 and 2000. In 2007, Soros came back from retirement after the quant liquidity crunch and managed to generate a 32% return for the year. Soros even managed to return 8% in 2008, the worst year in recent memory for most hedge funds. Also, Soros returned 29% in 2009, earning $3.3 billion in fees and investment gains. In 2014, Soros Fund Management returned about 8%.

Soros Fund Management’s top holding for the quarter was Alibaba Group Holding Ltd (NYSE:BABA), a China-based online and mobile commerce company with a market cap of $216.27 billion. The investor reported holding 4.40 million shares of the company at the end of 2014. The number of shares remained unchanged over the quarter. However, the value of the holding increased to $457.34 million from $390.94 million in the third quarter. Soros Fund Management initiated its position in Alibaba Group Holding Ltd (NYSE:BABA) during the third quarter of 2014, when that company launched their IPO. Since that IPO, the stock has fallen by 7.48%, and 21.72% during the past 3 months. Currently, the stock is trading at $86.74.

Other investors that are crazy about Alibaba Group Holding Ltd (NYSE:BABA) include Dan Loeb’s Third Point, which held 10.0 million shares as of December 31, 2014. Another investor is Rob Citrone’s Discovery Capital Management, which disclosed owning around 9.25 million shares of the company at the end of 2014.

Next up is YPF SA (ADR) (NYSE:YPF), in which Soros Fund Management reduced its stake to 11.65 million shares, worth $308.38 million, from the 13.32 million shares held earlier. Argentina-based YPF SA (ADR) (NYSE:YPF) is an integrated oil and gas company, which has a market cap of $14.89 billion. The company’s stock dropped by 19.73% during the last six months. Year-to-date performance of the stock is a gain of 1.93%. Other investors betting big on the company include Mason Capital Management, led by Kenneth Mario Garschina, which disclosed holding 15.72 million shares as of the end of 2014. During the fourth quarter, Perry Capital, led by Richard Perry, upped its stake in the company slightly, to 5.09 million shares.

In third place is Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd (ADR) (NYSE:TEVA), in which Soros Fund Management cut its position to 4.86 million shares from the 6.23 million shares reported previously. The holding was valued at $279.50 million at the end of 2014. Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd (ADR) (NYSE:TEVA) is a $54.75 billion market cap global pharmaceutical company based in Israel. Shares of Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd (ADR) (NYSE:TEVA) moved up by 28.83% during the last one-year period.

Among the funds we track at Insider Monkey, Sean Cullinan’s Point State Capital is the largest shareholder of the company, holding 8.09 million shares as of the end of 2014. Arrowstreet Capital, managed by Peter Rathjens, Bruce Clarke and John Campbell also seems to be a fan of Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd (ADR) (NYSE:TEVA), with the fund boosting its stake by over 200% to 6.85 million shares in the fourth quarter.

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