SLM Corp (SLM), Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd (ADR) (TEVA): Hmm….This Bostonian Hedge Fund is Bullish Alright

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Abrams Capital Management is one of the largest hedge funds in Boston. The fund is run by David Abrams, and has a $5 million minimum requirement. Currently valued at an equity portfolio alone worth $1.1 billion, Abrams’ investment vehicle primarily invests in financial, services and basic materials stocks and tends to favor securities that are undervalued. In accordance with our market-beating strategy, we’re going to take a look at this hedge fund’s favorite stocks for 2013.

David Abrams

With 15 million shares, SLM Corp (NASDAQ: SLM), also known as Sallie Mae, holds the top position in the fund.  If Abrams is looking for value, he got it right with SLM Corp (NASDAQ: SLM), which is priced at 2 times its book value, versus Discover Financial Services (NYSE:DFS) and World Acceptance Corp. (NASDAQ:WRLD), which are priced 2.4x and 3.0x, respectively.  The stock has been trading in an uptrend over the past six months, boosted by a 14% dividend increase from last year, strong technicals, and a recent drop in loan defaults.  The company has also improved administrative costs in regard to loan servicing and processing, which has improved their bottom line from $633 million to $939 million.

Coming in at number two is Lamar Advertising Co (NASDAQ: LAMR). The billboard and transit advertising maker has consistently improved its bottom line by cutting cost of goods sold/revenue to 35% from 36% in 2011. Abrams added Lamar to his portfolio during the second quarter of 2011 and currently owns 5.5 million shares.  But if Abrams was looking for value, he clearly did not find it here. The stock trades at 5 times book value and is valued at an eye-popping 476 times its earnings per share.  Lamar enjoys an obvious advantage given the large barriers to entry in this market, which probably explains why it continues to find buyers.  The stock is attempting to break resistance at $48.00, with the next target at $50.00.

Number three is Nexen Inc. (USA) (NYSE:NXY), which was a new addition to Abrams Capital during the fourth quarter of 2012.  Abrams has a 7.1 million position in the Canadian oil and gas company, which was recently acquired by China’s CNOOC Limited (ADR) (NYSE:CEO) for $27.50 in cash.  Even if Abrams bought the stock on the last day of the year, he still would have made over half a million dollars at the time of the sale.  Not a bad profit for a few days work.

The fourth stock of Abram Capital’s top five is Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd (NYSE: TEVA). The Israeli drug manufacturer has had a very eventful 2013.  It just recently moved over to the NYSE from the NASDAQ in May 2012 and since then, the stock has swung wildly between $45 to $37 per share. This month, Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd (NYSE: TEVA) announced it would no longer sell the sedative Propofol to corrections facilities that use the drug for lethal injections. Shares were also downgraded by Wells Fargo & Co (NYSE:WFC) to a “perform” from “outperform.”

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