Prem Watsa, popularly known as the Warren Buffett of Canada, is the founder of Fairfax Financial Holdings. Born in India, Watsa graduated with a degree in chemical engineering from the prestigious Indian Institute of Technology. He later completed an MBA at the Richard Ivey School of Business at the University of Western Ontario. Watsa began his career at Confederation Life and, in 1984, Watsa and his former boss began an investment firm called Hamblin Watsa Investment Counsel. By 1985, Watsa took full charge of the company and renamed it Fairfax Financial Holdings.
Based out of Toronto, Fairfax Financial’s equity portfolio is valued at around $1.53 billion as of the end of June. The portfolio is heavily invested in the Technology sector, which represents 67% of the total portfolio value at the end of the second quarter. Fairfax had another 14% invested in the Financial sector and 11% of the portfolio was represented by Materials stocks. In this article, we will focus on some of Fairfax Financial’s major holdings, including BlackBerry Ltd (NASDAQ:BBRY), International Business Machines Corp. (NYSE:IBM), Kennedy-Wilson Holdings Inc (NYSE:KW), Resolute Forest Products Inc (NYSE:RFP), and Overstock.com Inc (NASDAQ:OSTK). In addition, we are going to take a look at what is the general hedge fund sentiment towards these stocks.
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BlackBerry Ltd (NASDAQ:BBRY) remained Fairfax Financial’s largest holding at the end of the second quarter. Fairfax held around 46.72 million shares of BlackBerry at the end of the quarter, unchanged from the previous one, while the value of the holding amounted to $313.14 million, accounting for 20.50% of the equity portfolio. In addition, Fairfax Financial also held 500,000,000 shares of BlackBerry through a Promissory Note valued at $495.7 million at the end of June. Fairfax Financial first initiated a position in the smartphone maker in the third quarter of 2010. Although Fairfax Financial is extremely bullish on BlackBerry, the stock has fallen by nearly 22% so far this year. Last month, Raymond James released a bullish note on BlackBerry, highlighting the launch of the company’s second Android-powered smartphone, the DTEK50. Raymond James analyst Steven Li described the launch as a positive as there is minimum risk for the company since it is not designing nor making the phone itself. However, Li noted that there is an upside to the launch since it could create a new market for secured Android, something BlackBerry can license to other makers. Raymond James also raised its rating on the stock to ‘Outperform’ from ‘Market Perform’ and boosted the price target to $10.50 from $8. At the end of the second quarter, 20 funds we track held $529.87 million worth of BlackBerry shares, down from 24 funds holding $673.72 million worth of stock a quarter earlier.
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International Business Machines Corp. (NYSE:IBM) is another stock that Fairfax Financial has a large position in. According to the fund’s 13F filing, it held 1.36 million shares of International Business Machines (unchanged over the quarter) worth $206.80 million at the end of June. International Business Machines accounted for 13.54% of the 13F portfolio value. International Business Machines is seen as a value stock, offering a dividend yield of 3.63%. International Business Machines is scheduled to release its third-quarter results on October 17 and the consensus forecast for earnings is at $3.23 per share, while revenue is estimated at $19 billion. A total of 53 of the funds in our database were long International Business Machines at the end of the second quarter, holding $14 billion in stock in aggregate of or 9.60% of the total outstanding shares, compared to 53 funds holding $14.16 billion worth of shares at the end of the previous quarter.