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Billionaire Ken Griffin’s Cheap Stock Picks Include Apple Inc. (AAPL)

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Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL)We have been going through the most recent round of quarterly 13F filings from hedge funds such as billionaire Ken Griffin’s Citadel Investment Group, which discloses many of these funds’ long equity holdings as of the end of March. Even though this information is a bit old, there are still a couple ways in which we believe investors can use it. For one, we have found that the most popular small cap stocks among hedge funds generate an average excess return of 18 percentage points per year and think that other strategies are possible as well. We can also screen individual managers’ top picks according to a number of criteria, including low P/E multiples, as a source of initial investment ideas. Read on for our quick take on Citadel’s five largest holdings in stocks with both trailing and forward earnings multiples of 14 or lower or see the full list of the fund’s stock picks.

Griffin increased his holdings of The Allstate Corporation (NYSE:ALL) by 52% between January and March to a total of 6.5 million shares. While the insurance company is actually priced at a small premium to the book value of its equity- the P/B ratio is 1.1- is has managed to generate plenty of income from these assets and as a result its low earnings multiples (for example, the trailing P/E is 10) place the stock in value territory. We would note that in the first quarter of 2013 The Allstate Corporation (NYSE:ALL)’s net income did fall moderately versus a year earlier.

CITADEL INVESTMENT GROUPMidwestern regional bank U.S. Bancorp (NYSE:USB) was another of Citadel’s cheap stock picks as the filing disclosed ownership of 8.6 million shares. Wall Street analysts are looking for low earnings growth at U.S. Bancorp, as shown by the fact that its trailing and forward P/Es are 12 and 11 respectively, and in fact recent financial results are showing exactly that. We’d like to see somewhat higher growth rates, even at that pricing, as many other regional banks are valued cheaply potentially making U.S. Bancorp (NYSE:USB) a less attractive stock than its peers.

The fund cut its stake in Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) by 38% but still owned about 640,000 shares at the beginning of April, and as a result Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) remained among its ten largest holdings by market value. Even with many funds selling out of Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) last quarter, the technology company regained its place as the most popular stock among hedge funds (find more of hedge funds’ favorite stocks). Both the trailing and forward earnings multiples are in the 10-11 range, despite Apple’s large cash hoard, as markets generally expect further declines in the company’s earnings.

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