Mastercard Inc (MA), Philip Morris International Inc. (PM), Wells Fargo & Co (WFC): Gardner Russo and Gardner Likes These Stocks

Gardner Russo & Gardner recently filed its 13F with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission for the reporting period of June 30, disclosing a public equity portfolio valued at $11.38 billion. Gardner Russo & Gardner is managed by Tom Russo, who likes to invest in companies with strong global brands that have huge growth potential in emerging markets. He managed to beat the S&P 500 index by 4.7 percentage points annually between 1984 and 2011. Gardner Russo’s 13F equity portfolio contains a total of 109 positions. Over 50% of the fund’s portfolio is represented by Consumer Staples stocks, while Finance stocks represent over 20% of the portfolio. Gardner Russo seems to be a fan of Mastercard Inc (NYSE:MA), Philip Morris International Inc. (NYSE:PM), and Wells Fargo & Co (NYSE:WFC), which certainly qualify in terms of the aforementioned brand power and global growth potential metrics. We’ll discuss these stocks in this article.

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We track hedge funds to learn about their investment strategies. According to our research, hedge funds’ large-cap stock picks historically delivered a monthly alpha of six basis points, though these stocks underperformed the S&P 500 Total Return Index by an average of seven basis points per month between 1999 and 2012. These stocks were able to generate alpha because of their lower risk profile. On the other hand, the 15 most popular small-cap stocks among hedge funds outperformed the S&P 500 Index by an average of 95 basis points per month. These stocks were slightly riskier, so their monthly alpha was 80 basis points (read the details here). Since the official launch of our small-cap strategy in August 2012 it has performed just as predicted, returning over 123% and beating the market by more than 65 percentage points.

Tom Russo
Tom Russo
Gardner Russo & Gardner

First, we’ll talk about Mastercard Inc (NYSE:MA), in which Gardner Russo slightly increased its position to 10.03 million shares during the second quarter. The reported value of the stake is around $937.8 million. MasterCard (NYSE:MA) is a technology company in the global payments market, with a market cap of $110.01 billion. The stock has gained 11.08% year-to-date (YTD), compared to the industry’s more muted returns of 3.88%. For the second quarter, Mastercard Inc (NYSE:MA) posted net income of $921 million, down from $931 million in the same quarter last year. The company was able to increase its quarterly revenue by 1% to $2.4 billion versus the same period in 2014 however, while its worldwide purchase volume increased by 12% year-over-year on a local currency basis, to $841 billion. Among the largest shareholders of MasterCard (NYSE: MA) is John Armitage‘s Egerton Capital, holding 4.36 million shares as of June 30.