Bruce Berkowitz is an accomplished mutual fund manager. His $19 Billion Fairholme Fund managed to return 12.9% annually since 2000. Some of his returns are attributed to his value investing bias, and some to his long bias, but almost half of his returns were pure alpha. Even during the past 3 years, Berkowitz managed to generate a 3% annual alpha. His most notable recent investments were General Growth Properties, frpm which his investors made $1.4 Billion and Pershing Square walked off with a hefty return as well, and AIG, which beat the SPY by more than 50 percentage points since Berkowitz started to invest. Last year Steve Eisman publicly recommended shorting AIG, but it seems like Berkowitz was right about AIG.
Insider Monkey, your source for free insider trading data, is curious about Berkowitz’s new stock picks and their performance. We like to imitate fund managers who demonstrated some skill in stock picking. During the fourth quarter Berkowitz bought four new stocks. He also had to start reporting his GGP investments in his 13F filings.
|AT&T INC COM||T||-1.3%||276|
|VERIZON COMMUNICATIONS INC COM||VZ||3.7%||265|
|BANCO SANTANDER SA- ADR||STD||20.7%||50|
|ROYAL DUTCH SHELL PLC-ADR||RDS-A||7.6%||12|
His new stock picks returned 2.9% so far in 2011, vs. SPY’s 7.0% return. His high dividend telecom investments didn’t yield much in terms of capital gains. During the fourth quarter Berkowitz received a lot of new money for Fairholme. The value of his portfolio increased by 40%. As a result, he put more money in his old stock picks. Here is how these stocks performed:
|AMERICAN INTERNATIONAL GROUP INC||AIG||-14.0%||2552|
|BANK OF AMERICA CORP||BAC||10.6%||1229|
|C I T GROUP INC NEW||CIT||-8.1%||942|
|GENERAL ELECTRIC CO||GE||17.2%||292|
|ST JOE CO||JOE||28.6%||585|
|M B I A INC||MBI||0.5%||461|
|MORGAN STANLEY DEAN WITTER & CO||MS||14.1%||1050|
|REGIONS FINANCIAL CORP NEW||RF||11.3%||871|
|SEARS HOLDINGS CORP||SHLD||26.1%||1100|
These 10 stocks returned 5% since the end of December, underperforming the SPY by 2 percentage points. His $2.5 Billion AIG investment caused this underperformance. Excluding AIG, these stocks had a weighted average return of 11.9%, beating the SPY by nearly 5 percentage points. Berkowitz added nearly 22 million shares of Bank of America during the fourth quarter. Lee Ainslie’s Maverick, David Tepper’s Appaloosa, John Paulson’s Paulson & Co are other hedge funds with Bank of America (BAC) investments. Warren Buffett sold all his BAC holdings during the fourth quarter (see Warren Buffett‘s new stock picks). David Einhorn’s Greenlight Capital, Dan Loeb’s Third Point, and Paulson & Co also have CIT Group in their portfolio. Berkowitz also has significant investments in Berkshire Hathaway and Eddie Lampert’s Sears Holdings.
During the fourth quarter Berkowitz started to reduce some of his holdings. Here is how these 8 stocks performed since the beginning of 2011:
|CITIGROUP INC COM||C||3.8%||1122|
|GOLDMAN SACHS GROUP, INC.||GS||-0.1%||990|
|LEUCADIA NATL CORP COM||LUK||16.7%||555|
|SPIRIT AEROSYSTEMS HLDGS INC C||SPR||23.9%||362|
|RSC HOLDINGS, INC.||RRR||42.1%||143|
|WELLCARE HEALTH PLANS INC COM||WCG||27.2%||108|
|WINTHROP REALTY TRUST||FUR||-1.3%||32|
|HUMANA INC COM||HUM||12.2%||0.5|
Interestingly, these 8 stocks Berkowitz was selling performed much better than the stocks he was buying. The weighted average return of these stocks was 9.4%, beating the SPY by 2.4 percentage points. Bruce Berkowitz is really bullish about his financial holdings, including Goldman Sachs and Citigroup. This is what Fortune wrote about Berkowitz’s Citigroup investment:
“Fairholme’s $450 million investment in Citigroup in the fourth quarter of 2009 was his first sizable bet. Citi lost almost $30 billion in 2008 alone, and its shares fell more than 90% during the credit crisis. But by the fall of 2009, Berkowitz could see that good, conservative loans were replacing bad ones in Citi’s lending businesses — and even its so-called toxic assets were yielding more than 5%. “You have to normalize the environment — that’s the arbitrage,” he says. “Are they going to make it through the tough times? And what are they going to look like in more normal times?” So far in 2010, Citi shares are up 34%, and Berkowitz believes they could easily double from here.”
Lee Ainslie’s Maverick Capital, George Soros, Bill Ackman’s Pershing Square, David Tepper’s Appaloosa, Daniel Loeb’s Third Point, Andreas Halvorsen’s Viking Global, Richard Perry’s Perry Capital, Joseph DiMenna’s Zweig-DiMenna, Leon Cooperman’s Omega Advisors, and John Paulson’s Paulson & Co are among the other hedge funds that are bullish about Citigroup.