Saturday, August 23, 2008

"So, tell me about this credit crisis..."

Over the past few months, I have been receiving numerous inquiries from friends regarding the economy. And, unsurprisingly, numerous questions I receive relate to the credit crisis and its origins. Thankfully, an article over on Fortune has emerged which outlines the situation in plain English. So, for those of you wanting some more background on the situation, or if you have friends you're tired of explaining things to, point them to the aptly named article, "Credit crisis, explained."

Friday, August 22, 2008

Technical Analysis Roundup

Circling through some of my favorite blogs, I found some charts worth posting up here in what I like to call the 'Technical Analysis Round-up.' Longer term readers will know I like to reference charts simply because its a great tool to have in your investing arsenal. While I like to make investment decisions based on fundamentals, the technicals (a.k.a. the tape) can often provide additional insight to aid you in your quest. The fundamentals determine the 'why,' while the technicals determine the 'when' and 'how.' Glancing at a few charts can more often than not give you a great view of the price action surrounding some macro occurrences. Paying attention to volume, divergences, price patterns, and especially trend lines can provide you with great risk/reward setups. I'm not here to start a debate on fundamentals versus technicals because those arguments go in circles. I simply use both tools because they both offer unique information. If you're looking for reasons as to why you should pay attention to both the fundamentals and the technicals, then I will simply point you to interviews with some well known hedge fund managers that I've posted here and here.

Now, on to the Technical Analysis Roundup. First, over on Stewie's blog, he has a chart up of the Oil Services Index that shows a test of a long term trendline. This trendline can serve as a great entry into an easy risk/reward play. Buy the dips in oil service names as it approaches the trendline. Place your stop just below the trendline in case it is broken to the downside. Very simple risk/reward play that takes emotion out of the game. Oil will probably need to see some strength for the oil service names to take off here.

(click to enlarge)

And, unsurprisingly, the chart of oil has a similar setup, as detailed on Steve Puri's blog. As you can see, oil has a very similar setup in terms of risk/reward. You have an easy entry and a crystal clear area to place your stop. If the selloff in oil continues, your stop gets taken out and you move on to the next idea. Oil has traded very well on a technical basis and I would expect that trend to continue. Given the volatility in all markets recently, everyone is looking to the technicals as a guidling light. Although the action in the underlying commodity is driven by fundamentals, it has traded very technically sound. Just like the oil services, we see an opportunity for a very defined risk/reward setup with clear entry and exit points.
(click to enlarge)

Lastly, I want to highlight a chart posted over on Kevin's Market Blog. There, Kevin examines a major long-term trendline being violated in the British Pound. The British Pound has declined in value for fundamental reasons. Among them, a stronger U.S. Dollar, and an overall weakening environment in England and Europe in general. This fundamental decline in the currency is illustrated by the latest major drop on the chart. And, at the same time, technicians will tell you that since the trendline is broken, a short position in the Pound might be advisable. And, at the very least, technicians would have exited any long positions in the Pound once that long term trendline was broken.
(click to enlarge)

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Hedge Fund Tracking: Lone Pine Capital's 13F (Stephen Mandel Jr.)

(Note: Before reading this update, make sure you check out the preface to the series I'm doing on Hedge Fund 13F's here).

The Hedge Fund 13F Tracking series continues. If you've missed them, I've already covered Jeffrey Gendell's Tontine Partners here, Bret Barakett's Tremblant Capital here, Peter Thiel's Clarium Capital here, and John Griffin's Blue Ridge Capital here. Next up, we have Lone Pine Capital, managed by Stephen Mandel Jr. Lone Pine is an $8 Billion fund that has returned over 25% annually ever since its inception in 1997. Why is Mandel worth following you might ask? Well, he served as a consumer/retail analyst for Tiger Management back in the day for legendary investor Julian Robertson. Robertson's proteges/right-hand men have been nicknamed the "Tiger Cubs" and many have started their own funds. So, not only has Mandel learned from one of the best, but he has put up some very solid returns himself. Mandel is well versed in the ways of finding undervalued companies and his funds typically like to sniff out solid companies with good management that are trading below their intrinsic value. Just this past year 1 of his funds was up 34% before fees while another was up 32% before fees. His track record speaks for itself. And, not to mention, he learned from one of the greats in Julian Robertson. However, as I wrote about here, Lone Pine has had a rough 2008, where their Lone Cedar Fund was -5.38% year to date (as of the middle of July '08). By analyzing their 13F, maybe we'll be able to see where they are slipping up.

Once again, I'd like to give thanks to Alex Prywes for helping me gather and sort through the data of numerous hedge funds (including the one below). Thanks to Alex's help, we can now cover even more funds. And, on that note.... onto the 13F! The following are Lone Pine Capital's current holdings as of June 30th 2008, as released in their most recent 13F filing with the SEC. The positions in this most recent 13F were compared to last quarter's 13F and here are the changes made to their portfolio:

New Positions:
Entergy Corp (ETR): 3,518,632 shares. This position is 6.06% of Lone Pine's portfolio.
Weatherford Intl (WFT): 4,820,337 shares. This position is 3.42% of Lone Pine's portfolio.
Lorillard Inc (LO): 3,328,911 shares. This position is 3.29% of Lone Pine's portfolio.
Amazon (AMZN): 2,527,634 shares. This position is 2.65% of Lone Pine's portfolio.
Sears Holdings Corp (SHLD) Puts: 1,336,800. This position is 1.41% of Lone Pine's portfolio.

Added to:
America Movil (AMX): Increased position by 39.5%. Position is now 10.74% of their portfolio.
Sandridge Energy (SD): Increased position by 22.24%. Position is now 11.35% of their portfolio.
SAIC (SAI): Increased position by 16.38%. Position is now 2.45% of their portfolio.
Dicks Sporting Goods (DKS): Increased position by 15.8%. Position is now 1.48% of their portfolio.
XTO Energy (XTO): Increased position by 5.41%. Position is now 8.33% of their portfolio.

Reduced Positions:
CB Richard Ellis (CBG): Reduced their position by 9.62%. Position is now 2.94% of their portfolio.
Illumina (ILMN): Reduced their position by 9.97%. Position is now 2.69% of their portfolio.
Fastenal (FAST): Reduced their position by 12.5%. Position is now 3.78% of their portfolio.
Qualcomm (QCOM): Reduced their position by 13.88%. Position is now 7.26% of their portfolio.
Brookfield Asset Mgmt (BAM): Reduced their position by 16.4%. Position is now 3.26% of their portfolio.
Monsanto (MON): Reduced their position by 25.82%. Position is now 3.27% of their portfolio.
Mastercard (MA): Reduced their position by 29%. Position is now 2.48% of their portfolio.
Priceline (PCLN): Reduced their position by 30.75%. Position is now 2.34% of their portfolio.
Google (GOOG): Reduced their position by 39.30%. Position is now 7.39% of their portfolio.
Infosys (INFY): Reduced their position by 49.1%. Position is now 2.19% of their portfolio.
Visa (V): Reduced their position by 57.38%. Position is now 1.93% of their portfolio.
Sears Holdings (SHLD) Puts (2nd put position): Reduced their position by 79.73%. Position is now 0.21% of their portfolio.

Removed Positions (Positions Lone Pine sold out of completely):
Apple (AAPL)
Brookfield Asset Management (BAM) - 2nd listed position
CME Group (CME)
EMC Corp (EMC)
Nutrisystem (NTRI)
Southwestern Energy (SWN)
SRA International (SRX)

Positions with no change:
MSC Industrial Direct (MSM). Position is 3.26% of their portfolio.
Teradata (TDC). Position is 3.06% of their portfolio.
Eagle Materials Inc (EXP). Position is 1.66% of their portfolio.
Bunge (BG) Puts. Position is 0.85% of their portfolio.
Deltek (PROJ). Position is 0.24% of their portfolio.
New York Times (NYT) Puts. Position is 0.02% of their portfolio.

Top 10 holdings by % of portfolio:
1. Sandridge Energy (SD): 11.35% of the portfolio
2. America Movil (AMX): 10.74% of the portfolio
3. XTO Energy (XTO): 8.33% of the portfolio
4. Google (GOOG): 7.39% of the portfolio
5. Qualcomm (QCOM): 7.26% of the portfolio
6. Entergy (ETR): 6.06% of the portfolio (new position)
7. Fastenal (FAST): 3.78% of the portfolio
8. Weatherford Intl (WFT): 3.42% of the portfolio (new position)
9. Lorillard Inc (LO): 3.29% of the portfolio (new position)
10. Monsanto (MON): 3.27% of the portfolio


Breakdown: Well, it's very evident where Mandel & Lone Pine's poor performance is coming from. As of June 30th, they had massive holdings in natural gas and oil players Sandridge Energy (SD) and XTO Energy (XTO). SD was their top holding by % value and XTO was not far behind as their 3rd largest holding. The selloff in natural gas, oil, and all related stocks has undoubtedly affected Lone Pine in a negative way. The selloff in those names started around July, leaving Mandel a very limited window of opportunity to sell. Unfortunately, we'll have to wait until the next round of 13F's in the coming quarter to find out what Mandel has done with his large natural gas positions. Considering that the filing reports holdings as of June 30th, and the major selloff began in July, we have no idea whether Lone Pine was massively hurt by the selloff, or whether they were one of the parties responsible for the selloff. But, no matter how savvy Mandel may be, there is no way he got through July unscathed. So, that looks to be one of the main areas contributing to the lackluster performance of his Lone Cedar Fund so far in 2008.

Next, I want to highlight that Lone Pine added to their America Movil (AMX) position by 39%, nearly doubling down on their shares. Obviously, Mandel still likes the company and was using the weakness to add to his position. His addition is interesting, considering numerous hedge funds completely removed their AMX position over the past quarter, including his 'Tiger cub' buddy John Griffin over at Blue Ridge Capital. AMX has long been a hedge fund favorite and has been a top 10 holding in many prominent hedge fund portfolios over the past year. But, with the recent developments in AMX over the last few months, many hedge funds have taken action. And, unlike his colleagues, Mandel was buying the shares that other fund managers were selling off. It will be interesting to see how this continues to play out, as the once hedge fund favorite AMX may be falling out of favor with numerous managers. Lone Pine, however, was adding with conviction, making it their portfolio's 2nd largest position.

I would also like to highlight a couple of new positions started by Lone Pine this past quarter. They added Entergy (ETR) in mass, making it their 6th largest holding at 6.06% of their overall portfolio. In the past, I've talked about ETR on the blog as a way to play both the rising demand in electricity as well as the nuclear space in alternative energy. In addition to starting ETR, they started Weatherford (WFT), an equipment and service provider in the oil and natural gas spaces. They brought this position up to the fund's 8th largest holding at 3.42% of their portfolio. Additionally, they started a position in Lorillard (LO), a cigarette manufacturer. They brought this name up to the 9th largest fund holding, at 3.29% of the portfolio. Mandel added ETR, WFT, and LO all with conviction over the past quarter, landing all three as top 10 holdings.

Turning to tech, we see that Lone Pine has sizable positions in hedge fund favorites like Google (GOOG) and Qualcomm (QCOM). However, Lone Pine was selling off some of their tech holdings during the past quarter. They sold 13% of their QCOM position, leaving it as the fund's 5th largest holding. Mandel got aggressive with Google (GOOG) though, selling nearly 40% of his position. Despite the selling, it still remains their 4th largest holding. That just goes to show how large of a position he had in GOOG. Additionally, he sold completely out of Apple (AAPL). Just last quarter, it was his fund's 5th largest holding. Now, he no longer even holds a position.

Lone Pine was also busy selling the payment processors Mastercard (MA) and Visa (V). They sold 30% of their position in MA and 57% of their position in V. You can't really blame them though, as they were sitting on some handsome profits from those positions. We'll keep an eye out to see if they add back to their positions now that MA and V trade at cheaper prices than they did 2 months ago. After all, the payment processors are big hedge fund favorites, having appeared in numerous funds' portfolios.

Overall, its easy to see where Lone Pine might be struggling this year. They've been rewarded with nice gains in some of their tech and payment processing holdings. But, those gains could have been easily nullified by the likely beating their natural gas and oil holdings took. If you are interested in further comparing Lone Pine's holdings, you can check out the analysis I did of their previous 13F here. Lastly, in a recent development, Lone Pine recently filed a 13G with the SEC, disclosing their minority stake in Hansen Natural (HANS), which I wrote about here.

And, you can view their most recent 13F as filed with the SEC here.


Check back tomorrow for the 13F breakdown of Lee Ainslie's Maverick Capital. And, tune in next week as my 13F tracking series continues. Funds I will be covering next week include: Paul Tudor Jones' Tudor Investment Corp, Louis Bacon's Moore Capital Management, Boone Pickens' BP Capital, and Timothy Barakett's Atticus Capital.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Hedge Fund Tracking: Blue Ridge Capital's 13F (John A. Griffin)

(Note: Before reading this update, make sure you check out the preface to the series I'm doing on Hedge Fund 13F's here).

The 13F breakdowns are really flowing now and if you've missed them, I've already covered Jeffrey Gendell's Tontine Partners here, Bret Barakett's Tremblant Capital here, and Peter Thiel's Clarium Capital here. Next up, we have one of my personal favorites: Blue Ridge Capital ran by John A. Griffin. Now, Griffin is similar to Steve Mandel at Lone Pine Capital and Lee Ainslie at Maverick Capital in that they all are 'Tiger Cubs' (a.k.a. pupils of Julian Robertson while at Tiger Management). Griffin though, is more well known because he was Julian Robertson's right hand man. So, needless to say, the dude knows his stuff. Blue Ridge seeks absolute returns by investing in companies who dominate their industries and shorting the companies who have fundamental problems. And, right off the bat that presents us with a bit of a problem in terms of analyzing 13F's. 13F's don't show short positions, they show long positions (unless the firm is short through puts, which we *can* see). So, the inherent problem with analyzing Blue Ridge (or any fund for that matter) is that we can't see the other side of their portfolio. But, this is increasingly important for Blue Ridge simply due to Griffin's investment strategy and the fact that his long positions could in essence only represent half of the portfolio. Now, I use that loosely because there's no way for me to know exactly how much of his portfolio is short. But, I do know that both Griffin at Blue Ridge and Lee Ainslie over at Maverick Capital (research on him coming later this week) like to effectively hedge with a balance of both long and short positions (like a TRUE hedge fund... not like some of these crazy funds these days with no true hedging). Here's the thing: they don't do pairs trades, so don't classify it as that. In the past, I remember specifically being told by representatives at Maverick that they don't pairs trade, even though a respective long and short could be in the same sector or sub-sector. So, make that distinction clear. But, we'll work with what we've got (and believe me, it's still a lot of solid info).

Before beginning, I would like to give a special shoutout to Alex Prywes for helping me with the daunting task of analyzing 13F filings. Alex has helped gather and sort through the data of numerous hedge funds (including the one below). Thanks to Alex's help, we can now cover even more funds. And, on that note.... onto the 13F!

The following are Blue Ridge Capital's current holdings as of June 30th 2008, as released in their most recent 13F filing with the SEC. The positions in this most recent 13F were compared to last quarter's 13F and here are the changes made to their portfolio:

New Positions:
Anadarko Petroleum (APC): 2,335,000 shares. This position is 4.29% of Blue Ridge's portfolio.
Visa Inc (V): 1,720,000 shares. 3.43% of Blue Ridge's portfolio.
Vulcan materials: 1,500,000 shares. 2.20% of Blue Ridge's portfolio.
Rowan Cos (RDC): 1,800,000 shares. 2.06% of Blue Ridge's portfolio.
Amazon (AMZN): 940,000 shares. 1.69% of Blue Ridge's portfolio.
Goodrich Petroleum (GDP): 650,000 shares. 1.32% of Blue Ridge's portfolio.
Countrywide Financial: 1,433,000 shares. 0.15% of Blue Ridge's portfolio.
Bare Escentuals (BARE): 281,500 shares. 0.13% of Blue Ridge's portfolio.
Nutrisystem (NTRI): 233,000 shares. 0.08% of Blue Ridge's portfolio.

Added to:
Federal National Mortgage (FNM): Increased position by 1104%. Position is now 2.77% of their portfolio.
Greenlight Capital Re Ltd (GLRE): Increased position by 76.5%. Position is now 0.20% of their portfolio.
Wyeth (WYE): Increased position by 62.86%. Position is now 6.71% of their portfolio.
Apple (AAPL): Increased position by 15.65%. Position is now 5.46% of their portfolio.
Grupo Televisa (TV): Increased position by 11.83%. Position is now 4.46% of their portfolio.
Echostar (SATS): Increased position by 9.97%. Position is now 1.61% of their portfolio.
Google (GOOG): Increased position by 6.09%. Position is now 6.75% of their portfolio.
Broadrige Financial (BR): Increased position by 0.84%. Position is now 3.71% of their portfolio.

Reduced Positions:
American Express (AXP): Reduced position by 23.98%. Position is now 6.05% of their portfolio.
Netflix (NFLX): Reduced position by 28.6%. Position is now 0.93% of their portfolio.
Walmart (WMT): Reduced position by 35.75%. Position is now 2.54% of their portfolio.
First Marblehead (FMD): Reduced position by 36.64%. Position is now 0.05% of their portfolio.
Elong Inc (LONG): Reduced position by 51.82%. Position is now 0.02% of their portfolio.
Grupo Aeroportuario Del Pacifico (PAC): Reduced position by 54.83%. Position is now 1.16% of their portfolio.
Crocs (CROX): Reduced position by 66.06%. Position is now 0.14% of their portfolio.

Removed Positions (Positions Blue Ridge sold out of completely):
America Movil (AMX)
Burlington Northern (BNI)
Coach (COH)
Corus Bankshares (CORS)
Fidelity National Information (FIS)
First American Corp California (FAF)
Formfactor (FORM)
Office Depot (ODP)
SLM Corp (SLM)
Smurfit Stone Container (SSCC)
St Joe Co (JOE)
Starbucks (SBUX)
WebMD Health (WBMD)

Positions with no change:
Covanta (CVA). Position is 5.27% of their portfolio.
Millipore (MIL). Position is 4.49% of their portfolio.
Charles Schwab (SCHW). Position is 4.32% of their portfolio.
Discovery Holding Co (DISCA). Position is 3.89% of their portfolio.
Martin Marietta Materials (MLM). Position is 3.41% of their portfolio.
Target (TGT). Position is 3.11% of their portfolio.
Thermo Fisher Scientific (TMO). Position is 2.90% of their portfolio.
Berkshire Hathaway (BRK.A). Position is 2.49% of their portfolio.
Fomento Economico Mexicano (FMX). Position is 2.31% of their portfolio.
Packaging Corp of America (PKG). Position is 2.18% of their portfolio.
Compton Petroleum Corp (CMZ). Position is 2.08% of their portfolio.
Research in Motion (RIMM). Position is 1.86% of their portfolio.
Eagle Materials (EXP). Position is 1.22% of their portfolio.
Fairfax Financial Holdings (FFH). Position is 1.18% of their portfolio.
American Express (AXP) Calls. Position is 0.64% of their portfolio.
MBIA (MBI). Position is 0.27% of their portfolio.
Federal Home Loan Mortgage (FRE). Position is 0.20% of their portfolio.
Evergreen Energy (EEE). Position is 0.12% of their portfolio.
Gold Reserve Inc (GRZ). Position is 0.10% of their portfolio.
Washington Mutual (WM) Puts. Position is 0.02% of their portfolio.
Perfect World Co (PWRD). Position is 0.01% of their portfolio.
Indymac Bancorp (IDMC). Position is 0.01% of their portfolio.

Top 10 holdings by % of portfolio:
1. Google (GOOG). 6.75% of the portfolio
2. Wyeth (WYE). 6.71% of the portfolio
3. American Express (AXP). 6.05% of the portfolio
4. Apple (AAPL). 5.46% of the portfolio
5. Covanta (CVA). 5.27% of the portfolio
6. Millipore (MIL). 4.49% of the portfolio
7. Grupo Televisa (TV). 4.46% of the portfolio
8. Charles Schwab (SCHW). 4.32% of the portfolio
9. Anadarko Petroleum (APC). 4.29% of the portfolio
10. Discovery Holding Co (DISCA). 3.89% of the portfolio


First thing I noticed was Blue Ridge's addition of Anadarko Petroleum (APC). They added it in mass, bringing it up to the fund's 9th largest holding. Although I've seen many hedge funds adding this name over the past 2 quarters, do keep in mind that this filing was as of June 30th, 2008. Since then, natural gas prices, oil prices, and pretty much any stock in those sectors have all plummeted. But, it is worth noting that I have seen this name pop up on 13F filings much more frequently recently. And, Blue Ridge did make quite a hefty purchase. We'll have to wait until next quarter to see whether it was a trade or an investment. In the past, when Griffin has brought a position up to a top 10 holding in one quarter, he has held onto the position. So, time to play the waiting game on that one. Also, he added quite a large new position in Visa (V), bringing it up to 3.43% of the portfolio after not even holding a position last go-round (leaving it just shy of being a top 10 holding).

Next, I noticed he was adding more shares of Wyeth (WYE). This name was already a large fund holding, and he added to his position by 62%, bringing it up to the fund's 2nd largest holding. Recently, there has definitiely been a rotation into any and all stocks relating to healthcare. This is no exception. Also worth noting is Griffin's addition to his already large Apple (AAPL) position. He continues to add to this name and appears to be assembling a solid core position over time.

Even though Griffin made some purchases, he was definitely busier on the selling side of things. And, that makes me even more curious than usual as to what short positions he holds. But, because hedge funds are not required to disclose short positions in their 13F filings (except for Put positions), we are left in the dark on that one. But, anyways, onto the sales. Griffin was selling some consumer names in Netflix (NFLX) and Walmart (WMT). He only sold 20-30% of his positions there so it could just be some profit taking or position size reducing... nothing too major going on. We'll keep an eye on it next quarter and see if he continues to sell those names. Two quarters ago, as I detailed in my Blue Ridge analysis here, we saw that Griffin was starting to sell Coach (COH), Formfactor (FORM), and Smurfit Stone (SSCC). This past quarter, he continued that trend, selling off all the remaining shares in those companies. Additionally, he sold off 66% of his Crocs (CROX) position, which I'm sure was a source of pain for him, given how those shares have plummeted in value over time. Next quarter, it will be interesting to see whether or not he sells off the 'cheap consumer' plays such as Walmart (WMT) and Target (TGT).

Griffin also completely removed America Movil (AMX) from Blue Ridge's portfolio. This is interesting, as this is the 2nd hedge fund so far we've seen completely sell out of this name. (Remember that AMX used to be one of the most common holdings amongst the various hedge funds I track). The stock has been in a downward spiral for numerous months and it appears that numerous hedge funds were the ones responsible for the exodus. In the coming week, we'll see what Griffin's 'Tiger Cub' buddies were up to with their respective AMX positions as well.

Also worth pointing out is that Griffin quickly sold out of Burlington Northern (BNI) completely. In the last 13F filing, we found out he had just added BNI as a new position. And, this time around, we find out that he has quickly sold out. This struck me as somewhat odd, just because practically all hedge funds I track have some sort of exposure to the rails. Maybe Griffin was just locking in some quick profits, or maybe there was something that turned him away from the name. Interesting move, nonetheless. Griffin also had a short stay in Office Depot (ODP). He sold completely out of his position this past quarter, having only added it as a new position in the last 13F filing.

Lastly, I just wanted to point out some of the larger positions that Blue Ridge continues to hold in their portfolio: Millipore (MIL), Covanta (CVA), Grupo Televisa (TV), and Charles Schwab (SCHW). These positions have been top 10 holdings for Blue Ridge for numerous quarters now and are definitely worth a look as they appear to be longer term plays for Griffin.

Blue Ridge Capital's most interesting/peculiar move(s)?
Increasing their stake in Fannie Mae (FNM) by over 1100%, bringing it up to 2.77% of the portfolio. (Keep in mind that these positions were as of June 30th, 2008). I only bring this up due to the recent developments in FNM and FRE. Whether it be for a trade or for an investment, John Griffin was definitely up to something here and we can only speculate as to what he's been doing with this position in the past month and a half.

You can view Blue Ridge Capital's most recent 13F as filed with the SEC here.


Tune in during the rest of the week as I continue to detail the portfolio changes of some well known hedge funds. Funds I'll be looking at the rest of the week: Maverick Capital (Lee Ainslie), Lone Pine Capital (Steven Mandel), and Atticus Capital (Timothy Barakett).

Monday, August 18, 2008

Hedge Fund Tracking: Clarium Capital's 13F (Peter Thiel)

(Note: Before reading this update, make sure you check out the preface to the series I'm doing on Hedge Fund 13F's here).

Next up, we have Clarium Capital. Clarium is a $6 billion global macro hedge fund run by Peter Thiel, the co-founder of PayPal. Although they had a rough July (-6.8%), Clarium is still up over 45% year to date. Assets under management have recently ballooned to the highest amount in Clarium's history. It will be interesting to see how effective Clarium will be at deploying this new capital. And, to those who want a little more background on Thiel & his investment style, I first wrote about him here.

Now, to the 13F. I actually hesitated even doing a 13F analysis on Clarium Capital simply because when I say they are a global macro fund, I really mean it. The 13F they filed with the SEC details only the equities held in their portfolio. And, all their equities combined only totaled a little over $93 million. And, considering they have over $6 billion AUM, we have a bit of a problem here. The bulk of their holdings/trades seem to be in the actual commodities, futures, and currency markets themselves. And, the 13F only details equities held. So, I just wanted to point that out to everyone before proceeding further. I still think its interesting to at least see what they hold. But, take it with a grain of salt because the majority of their capital is deployed in other financial instruments/markets.

The following are Clarium Capital's current holdings as of June 30th 2008, as released in their most recent 13F filing with the SEC. I've compared the positions in this most recent 13F to last quarter's 13F and here are the changes they made to their portfolio:

New Positions: (in no particular order)
Wendy's (WEN) 7,400 shares
Pinnacle Air (PNCL) 15,220 shares
Fairfax Financial (FFH) 15,000 shares
Nvidia (NVDA) 18,000 shares
NRG Energy (NRG) 9,776 shares
MFA Mortgage Investments (MFA) 50,000 shares
Marathon Oil (MRO) 10,000 shares
Johnson and Johnson (JNJ) 12,000 shares
ITT Corp (ITT) 35,000 shares
Istar Financial (SFI) 99,800 shares
Honeywell (HON) 17,700 shares
Conoco Phillips (COP) 107,900 shares
Chevron (CVX) 6,000 shares
Canadian Superior Energy (SNG) 500,000 shares
Black and Decker (BDK) 23,437 shares
Altria Group (MO) 52,639 shares
Aircastle (AYR) 23,400 shares

Added to:
Frontier Oil (FTO): Increased their position by 1353%
Occidental Petroleum (OXY)
: Increased their position by 302%
CVS Caremark (CVS)
: Increased their position by 179%
American Express (AXP)
: Increased their position by 111%
Colgate Palmolive (CL)
: Increased their position by 77%
Oneok Inc (OKE)
: Increased their position by 75%
Sothebys (BID)
: Increased their position by 60%
Nucor (NUE)
: Increased their position by 49%
Cabot Oil and Gas COG)
: Increased their position by 42%
Foster Wheeler (FWLT): Increased their position by 22%
Walmart Stores (WMT)
: Increased their position by 21%
McDonald's (MCD)
: Increased their position by 14%
Royal Caribbean (RCL): Increased their position by 11%
Hewlett Packard (HPQ)
: Increased their position by 3%

Reduced Positions:
Mylan (MYL): Decreased their position by 25%
Procter and Gamble (PG): Decreased their position by 75%

Removed Positions (Positions Clarium sold out of completely):
Zimmer Holdings (ZMH)
Western Refining (WNR)
Viropharma (VPHM)
United Technologies (UTX)
McGraw Hill (MHP)
Lowes (LOW)
Lockheed Martin (LMT)
Leggett and Platt (LEG)
Heinz (HNZ)
General Motors (GM)
General Dynamics (GD)
Cisco Systems (CSCO)

Anheuser Busch (BUD)

Positions with no change:
Schering Plough (SGP)
Burlington Northern (BNI)

Top 10 holdings by % of portfolio:
1. Hewlett Packard (HPQ)
2. Conoco Phillips (COP)
3. American Express (AXP)
4. McDonalds (MCD)
5. Burlington Northern (BNI)
6. Occidental Petroleum (OXY)
7. Fairfax Financial (FFH)
8. Foster Wheeler (FWLT)
9. Royal Caribbean (RCL)
10. Frontier Oil (FTO)


Breakdown: Clarium's portfolio really looks "plain jane," doesn't it? There's nothing ridiculously exciting going on. It almost reminds me of a portfolio Warren Buffett would put his stamp of approval on. AXP, BNI, COP, and MCD are for the most part just slow and steady names that chug along with consistent returns. Again, this is why I want to reiterate that Clarium takes the majority of their positions in the commodities, futures, or currency markets since they truly are a global macro fund. The equity holdings reported in this SEC filing represent just a small sliver of their assets under management. So, on the equity side of things, Thiel has focused mostly on larger cap names with international exposure.

Clarium is definitely heavily weighted in the energy sector. They brought Conoco Phillips (COP) in as a new holding and bumped it up all the way to their 2nd largest equity position. He was also out adding to his Frontier Oil (FTO) and Occidental Petroleum (OXY) positions in a big way. Keep in mind that these holdings were reported as of June 30th, 2008 (ie: Crude Oil hadn't started its rapid descent yet). So, we'll have to see next quarter whether he was building up long term positions in these names, or merely trying to ride the oil wave higher.

Thiel has a large bet on tech, but pretty much solely through Hewlett Packard (HPQ). He added some Nvidia (NVDA), but HPQ is the fund's top equity holding. I can't disagree with this choice, as HPQ has been firing on all cylinders with Mark Hurd really turning the company in the right direction. But, even though the company is performing well, the stock really isn't.

I also noticed that Thiel seems to also be playing the 'pooring of America' theme. His MCD and WMT positions give him exposure to the companies that offer everything on the cheap. But, what surprised me a little bit was his Royal Caribbean (RCL) stake being as large as it is. To me, this translates to a discretionary item since its a cruise/vacation after all. And, with the economy the way it is, you'd think that reservations would be down. But, Thiel obviously sees something here, so it might be worth looking at more in depth.

I also want to point out Thiel's position in American Express (AXP), now his fund's 3rd largest equity position. I'm seeing more and more funds pick up stakes in AXP. For the most part, funds have favored Mastercard (MA) and even Visa (V) for their payment processing business models. Now though, it seems more funds are rotating into AXP to get some credit exposure as well. While I think American Express (AXP) is a well run company and typically has a higher credit grade portfolio, I still question adding this name. The credit exposure will continue to provide headwinds for the company and I'm curious to see what these funds do with this position over time.

Lastly, I just wanted to mention Burlington Northern (BNI). If there is one other common theme amongst hedge fund holdings, it is the rails. No matter how small or large their position, practically everyone has at least some sort of exposure to the rails. For Thiel & Clarium, BNI is their 5th largest equity holding.

You can view Clarium Capital's entire 13F as filed with the SEC here.


Stay tuned as I continue to detail the portfolio changes of some big name hedge funds. This week I'll be looking at: Lone Pine Capital (Steve Mandel), Maverick Capital (Lee Ainslie), Blue Ridge Capital (John Griffin), and Atticus Capital (Timothy Barakett).