Ray Dalio launched his fund Bridgewater Associates in 1973 and a couple of years ago, he stepped down as the CEO and took the title of “Mentor.” He is currently the co-CIO of Bridgewater, so he still plays a major role in the activity of the fund. Bridgewater is one of the funds that has already disclosed its equity portfolio for the end of the third quarter in the latest round of 13F filings, which ends today. The fund disclosed an equity portfolio with a value of approximately $12.8 billion, down from $13.3 billion it held in the previous quarter. The fund is still heavily invested in the financial sector, which represents almost 90% of the equity portfolio value. Since the top holdings have remained unchanged over the quarter and Bridgewater only cut the positions in these companies, we have picked top 3 new positions, out of a total of 150 stocks that have been added to the equity portfolio during the July-September period. The companies that we will look at in more detail are: American Express Company (NYSE:AXP), United Parcel Service, Inc. (NYSE:UPS), and Kimberly Clark Corp (NYSE:KMB).
American Express Is Back
Bridgewater has held shares of American Express Company (NYSE:AXP) before, but during the first quarter it sold the position, which at that point contained 200,437 shares. However, during the third quarter, the investor brought the company back to its equity portfolio and revealed ownership of 224,100 shares, with a value of $19.62 million. The stock of American Express picked up 4% since the end of September, however, it should be perceived more as a stock for the long run. It is one of the largest consumer lending companies, which also has Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway among its investors. Berkshire owns around 151.6 million shares as of the end of June, being one of the largest shareholders of the company. American Express Company (NYSE:AXP) is also one of the favorite stocks of Ken Fisher. Fisher Asset Management reported holding 11.39 million shares of the company as of the end of September, up by 5,500 shares on the quarter.
At a glance, it is easy to see why investors love American Express Company (NYSE:AXP). Aside from being one of the largest credit card companies, its stock has also outperformed other peers from the industry, such as Visa Inc (NYSE:V) and Mastercard Inc (NYSE:MA). Moreover, during the third quarter, American Express also partnered with Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) and their clients will be able to use Apple’s new product, Apple Pay, to pay for various purchases by using their iPhones. Apple Pay has opened the door to a new segment of mobile payments in the US, and the market is expected to grow over the next years, which will positively impact American Express’ financial results.
Bridgewater Changed Mind about UPS?
United Parcel Service, Inc. (NYSE:UPS) is another stock which Bridgewater held before, although only for a very brief period and a small amount. During the third quarter, the fund acquired roughly 149,400 shares, with a total value of $14.68 million. The fund also held around 30,000 shares during the last quarter of 2012 and sold the stake during the next quarter. The stock of United Parcel Service, Inc. (NYSE:UPS) appreciated by approximately 4% since the beginning of the year, and it has recently reached its 52-week high of $109.40. However, the stock might go even further up during the next couple of months because the holiday season is approaching and the company will have a significant surge in revenues. UPS has already said that it plans to hire up to 95,000 more people to deal better with the increased demand, a move that has been positively viewed by Jim Cramer. In addition, United Parcel Service, Inc. (NYSE:UPS) is one of the top holdings in the equity portfolio of Edgar Wachenheim‘s Greenhaven Associates, which holds 5.12 million shares as of the end of September.
Kimberly Clark – Another New “Old” Position
During the second quarter of 2012, Bridgewater initiated a stake in Kimberly Clark Corp (NYSE:KMB), which contained 53,800 shares. Later the stake was increased to 87,900 shares and sold out during the first three months of 2013. During the third quarter of 2013, Bridgewater again initiated a position in Kimberly Clark Corp (NYSE:KMB), holding 6,900 shares, but the stake was closed the following quarter. This time, the fund added around 112,200 shares of the company during the July-September of 2014, the stake being valued at $12.07 million. Kimberly Clark’s stock grew by 9% since the beginning of the year and currently trades close to its 52-week high of $114.82. In addition to Bridgewater, Jim Simons‘ Renaissance Technologies is also a shareholder of Kimberly Clark Corp (NYSE:KMB), owning 1.53 million shares as of the end of September.
Bridgewater Associates is one of the largest hedge funds in the world, having assets under management of over $87 billion. This is why it is important to track its moves and see in which companies it invests.
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