Union Pacific Corporation (UNP), Crown Castle International Corp. (CCI) and General Motors Company (GM) Amongst Skylands Capital’s Top Picks

As we continue to analyze hedge funds’ 13F filings for the second quarter of 2014, I came across Skylands Capital’s. This hedge fund, managed by Charles Paquelet, disclosed its long equity positions as of June 30 2014, worth more than $1 billion, with an emphasis on services (34%) and technology (23%) stocks. Over the quarter, the fund started 42 new stock positions, increased its exposure to another 65 companies, and sold out of 18 of its holdings. Let’s take a look at some of its top picks:

Union Pacific Corporation (NYSE:UNP)

Despite a 3% reduction in Skylands’ stake, its most valuable position continues to be that at Union Pacific Corporation (NYSE:UNP), a $92.25 billion market cap rail transporting company. The fund owns 864,275 shares of Union Pacific Corporation (NYSE:UNP), worth about $86 million. The position in Union Pacific Corporation (NYSE:UNP) accounts for almost 8.5% of Skylands’ total equity portfolio.

Other prominent investors betting on Union Pacific Corporation (NYSE:UNP) are Ken Griffin and D E Shaw, who last declared ownership of 1.23 million shares and 976,136 shares, respectively.

On the opposite, the second largest position in the fund’s equity portfolio –which also remained the same as in the previous quarter- saw a slight increase in its position. Skylands now owns 990,400 shares of Crown Castle International Corp. (NYSE:CCI), up from 984,550 shares disclosed by the end of the first quarter. Crown Castle International Corp. (NYSE:CCI) is a $25 billion market cap telecom services company, and Skylands’ stake is worth about $73.5 million. This position accounts for more than 7% of its total equity portfolio.

On top of Mr. Paquelet, several other major hedge funds seem bullish on Crown Castle International Corp. (NYSE:CCI). John H. Scully’s Spo Advisory Corp last declared ownership of 10.9 million shares, and Larry Robbins’ Glenview Capital, reported the possession of 8.4 million shares, after having increased its exposure by 8% over the first quarter of 2014.

Third in line is Norfolk Southern Corp. (NYSE:NSC), a $33.4 billion market cap company engaged in the rail transportation of raw materials, intermediate products, and finished goods. Skylands Capital revealed tenure of 441,675 shares of Norfolk Southern Corp. (NYSE:NSC), following a 2% decrease in its exposure. The value of the stake amounts to more than $45 million, as the stock price escalated 6.93% between April and June.

Another famed investor with a big position in Norfolk Southern Corp. (NYSE:NSC) is Ken Griffin. His fund, Citadel Investment Group, owns more than 1.1 million shares of the company.

Fourth in line, same as in the previous quarter, is Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL). The fund declared owning 423,185 shares of the tech giant by the end of the second quarter. This implies a 4% reduction in the fund’s position in Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL). Despite this diminution the stake increased in value, from $33.9 million by the end of the second quarter, to $39.3 million by the end of the second quarter.

As many know, one fund that has placed particularly large bets on Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) is Carl Icahn’s Icahn Capital Lp, which held 7.53 million shares by the end of the first quarter of 2014.

The only newcomer in this top five picks list is General Motors Company (NYSE:GM), which used to occupy the sixth spot. Skylands increased its stake in the company by 1% over the quarter, while it reduced its exposure to Ryder System Inc. (NYSE:R) –which used to be the fifth largest position- by 14%. The fund now owns 820,650 shares of General Motors Company (NYSE:GM), worth almost $30 million.

Just like in the previous case, most investors know that Warren Buffett is one of General Motors Company (NYSE:GM)’s largest stockholders, with 30 million shares.

Disclosure: Javier Hasse holds no position in any stocks or funds mentioned

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