Gotham Asset Management founder, Joel Greenblatt, is said to use a more cerebral approach to picking stocks. As a professor at Columbia Business School and author of several books on value investing and methods to picking stocks, we’re guessing that Mr. Greenblatt’s top five stock picks are chosen on more than just P/E ratios and growth expectations. His fund is nearly evenly distributed between most sectors of the market, but the majority is predominantly in consumer goods, services and technology. Let’s look at the top five stocks in Gotham Asset Management’s equity portfolio.
Topping the list is Raytheon Company (NYSE:RTN). The sequestration coupled with a downbeat earnings report in the fourth quarter drove the stock sharply lower early in the year. Most of the losses have been regained, but there just haven’t been any new bullish developments recently to elevate the stock over $60.00 since 2008. However, all the elements for a break higher are there—the stock is undervalued compared to its nearest competitor The Boeing Company (NYSE:BA), and with the exception of Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE:NOC), Raytheon Company (NYSE:RTN) has the lowest debt-to-equity ratio in the defense sector. The only thing that is currently weighing on the stock is the political machinations in Washington that are holding the entire defense industry hostage.
At number two is United Therapeutics Corporation (NASDAQ:UTHR), which is one of those companies that’s hard to find something wrong about. The company recently reported very strong earnings—revenue was up for 2012 from $195 million to $244 million, which boosted earnings to $1.65 per share from $0.79 year-over-year. The stock is cheap compared to its competitors in this sector, Novo Nordisk and Roche, and has a very low debt-to-equity position. Since adding United Therapeutics Corporation (NASDAQ:UTHR) back into his portfolio during the second quarter of 2011, Greenblatt has increased his holdings by 1566%, and given the fundamentals of this stock, it has obviously been a smart move. Currently trading at a two-year high, the stock is forecasted to trend higher to test short-term resistance at $66 a pop.
Cisco Systems (NASDAQ:CSCO) is third of this top five, and has come under intense profit-taking pressure on the heels of a downgrade from market perform to underperform, as well as industry-wide pressure following disappointing earnings from Oracle Corporation (NASDAQ:ORCL). Cisco’s downgrade is in response to the company’s transition to a “software and service-centric business model,” but for the aspiring value-tech investor, the stock is the better buy against competitors like Ericsson, Juniper, and Alcatel-Lucent, to name a few.
At number four is GameStop Corp. (NYSE:GME). If you have a gamer in the family (or you’re one yourself), GameStop is synonymous with used video games, consoles and components. Unfortunately, since nearly half of GameStop’s sales come from the realm of used games, this might ultimately prove to be its downfall, as console makers such as Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) and Sony Corporation (ADR) (NYSE:SNE) have at least been rumored to have considered the restriction of used games on next-gen platforms. Loyal customers of GameStop Corp. (NYSE:GME) have voiced their support by claiming they will not buy any console that restricts the use of pre-owned games, but experience has shown that for gamers, their loyalty ends with their need for the best graphics, more processing power and more features. Unless GameStop Corp. (NYSE:GME) can quickly figure out a way to compete with digital game sales, it may become a dinosaur, so to speak, in the rapidly evolving video game market.