John Burbank’s Top Stock Picks Include Vivus

Passport sold some shares of weight loss drug company VIVUS, Inc. (NASDAQ:VVUS) but it was still one of the fund’s five largest holdings. Vivus’s Qnexa (or Qsymia) obviously has enormous market potential for both medical and cosmetic purposes, but there is a furious debate in the investment community as to whether it or Arena Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ:ARNA)’s Belviq will become the drug of choice (or, for that matter, if other competitors are being developed). 22% of the shares of Vivus are held short.

Kinross Gold Corporation (NYSE:KGC) was another of Burbank’s favorite stocks; Passport moved heavily into the miner and owned 9.4 million shares at the end of the quarter. Sales and net income were up modestly in Q3 2012 versus a year earlier, and with the stock down 27% in the last year the current-year P/E is only 9. Jeffrey Vinik’s Vinik Asset Management initiated a position in Kinross during the third quarter of 2012 (find more stocks Vinik was buying). The company operates globally.

The most popular energy stock among hedge funds in the third quarter was Kinder Morgan Inc (NYSE:KMI) (see the full top ten list), and Burbank was one of the funds and other notable investors with a large position in the company. Kinder Morgan, which carried out an acquisition of El Paso recently, provides oil and gas transportation (via pipeline) and storage services. However, the stock trades at a fairly high multiple of what analysts expect it to earn in 2013.

Disclosure: I own no shares of any stocks mentioned in this article.

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