Fisher Asset Management, which is managed by billionaire investor/author/Forbes columnist Ken Fisher, has released its 13F filing for December 2012, disclosing many of its long equity positions. Investors can use these filings as a way to see which stocks a manager likes or to get a more general impression of how the manager is looking at the markets. We have gone through the filing and picked out five of Fisher’s largest holdings by market value as of the beginning of the year Read on for our quick take on these stocks and compare them to previous filings.
The fund’s top pick was Pfizer Inc. (NYSE:PFE) with the fund selling a very small amount of what had been its largest holding three months earlier as well. Pfizer trades at 21 times trailing earnings but Wall Street analysts expect net income to be considerably better this year: the current-year P/E is only 12. This is the case despite double-digit percentage decreases in revenue and earnings in Q3 2011 versus a year earlier. In its most recent 13F filing, Tiger Cub Rob Citrone’s Discovery Capital Management had Pfizer as one of the top holdings in its portfolio. We think that we would wait to see if the company’s financials are actually going to be on target.
Fisher owned 4.9 million shares of Visa Inc (NYSE:V), up slightly from the beginning of October. With Visa gaining in price since that time, it moved into the fund’s top five picks. Visa is another stock where investors have to look ahead: the stock is valued at 19 times consensus earnings for the fiscal year ending in September 2014. Revenue and earnings have been up, and we like the credit card business’s exposure to payment volumes (as opposed to credit risk which is held by banks), but we think we’d avoid Visa at that multiple. Billionaire Stephen Mandel’s Lone Pine Capital owned 2.9 million shares at the end of the third quarter (check out Mandel's stock picks).
Johnson & Johnson (NYSE:JNJ) was another of Fisher’s favorite stocks with the fund reporting a position of over 10 million shares- down slightly from the fund’s 13F for the third quarter of the year. In our recent analysis of Johnson & Johnson (read our analysis of the company), we thought that it too was too dependent on seeing future growth for us to recommend buying: its trailing P/E is 24 and the business has been struggling recently. There was an abnormal increase in research and development, but even accounting for that the growth rate in pretax income was very light.
Fisher also liked two tech stocks: