Harris Associates’ Top Stock Picks for 2013 Include Intel

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There are a number of ways to use quarterly 13F filings from major investors such as hedge funds in order to improve the investment process. One way is be aggregating these filings and using them to devise large-scale investing strategies. For example, we have found that imitating the most popular small cap stocks among hedge funds can be profitable; in our August newsletter, we listed the most popular names in this category and on average these stocks outperformed the S&P 500 by 18 percentage points between September and January (read more about our hedge fund strategies). We also like to review individual 13Fs, treating them as recommendations from fund managers. If our brief overview of the stock sounds appealing, then an investor can go on to do further research. Read on for our thoughts on Harris Associates’ five largest holdings by market value as of the end of December 2012:

Harris’s top pick was Mastercard Inc (NYSE:MA), reporting a position of 2.6 million shares in the credit card company. Mastercard reported a 10% increase in revenue last quarter compared to the fourth quarter of 2011, and earnings were up as well. While the trailing earnings multiple of 24 is high, the sell-sde expects high earnings growth to continue resulting in a forward P/E of 17. Renaissance Technologies, founded by billionaire Jim Simons, was buying shares of Mastercard during the third quarter of 2012 and owned about 550,000 shares at the end of September (see Renaissance's stock picks).

Intel Corporation (NASDAQ:INTC)

The fund also liked Intel Corporation (NASDAQ:INTC), with almost 59 million shares in its portfolio according to the 13F. At a market capitalization of about $100 billion, Intel trades at 10 times earnings whether we consider trailing results or analyst consensus for 2014. This is because the company is expected to be hit hard by the continuing shift towards tablets and smartphones rather than PCs. The stock price is down 22% in the last year, roughly in line with the decline in earnings. Intel does pay a high dividend yield. It was also still one of the most popular tech stocks among hedge funds in the third quarter (find more tech stocks hedge funds loved).

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