Last Update: 1969-12-31

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  • John Keeley's All Cap Value Fund Fourth Quarter Commentary 2014

    In the fourth calendar quarter of 2014, the KEELEY All Cap Value Fund (KACVX) climbed 0.94 percent compared to a 5.31 percent rise for the Russell 3000 Value Index. For the year ending December 31, 2014, the Fund increased 2.91 percent compared to a 12.70 percent rise for the Russell 3000 Value Index. Although equities rebounded from a challenging third quarter, a number of the issues that facilitated much of the recent volatility continue to exist. The volatility in the price of oil garnered the majority of the attention here in the U.S. although growing concerns about the efcacy of global growth deepened toward the end of the year. Global deationary pressures have become the heart of these concerns and although the European Central Bank (ECB) has communicated their desire to consider Quantitative Easing (QE), it is difcult to project its effectiveness given the structural reforms needed at a local level. Despite the strong bounce in equities during the quarter, and especially in small caps which lagged for much of the year, broadly speaking, investors continued to rotate toward more defensive sectors. In the fourth quarter, the top performing sectors in the Russell 3000 Value Index were traditional safe havens such as utilities and consumer staples, although consumer discretionary stocks surprised as the second best performing sector in the fourth quarter. Additionally, the performance dispersion across all ten economic sectors was very high which had a signicant impact on performance amongst active managers. For example, three sectors (consumer staples, consumer discretionary, and utilities) all produced double digit returns during the quarter, while energy fell over 10 percent. Industrials and materials, which represent almost 15 percent of the benchmark, returned only 4.96 percent and -2.80 percent respectively. The Fund trailed the Russell 3000 Value Index during the quarter due in large part to negative stock selection in the energy sector. A slight overweight in the lagging energy sector also detracted, as did stock selection in the industrials sector. Energy clearly had a signicant impact on the equity markets in recent months and it also had a strong inuence on the Fund. After making a positive contribution for much of 2014, our energy holdings succumbed to the pressure from the abrupt price decline the price of oil and the long-term impact a suppressed price may have on the entire industry. Lastly, overweight positions in consumer discretionary and health care stocks made a positive impact on the Fund during the quarter.

    The rapid decline in the price of oil sent shock waves across the global economy, and the volatility in the space has forced us to reassess a few of our positions in the sector. OPEC’s decision to maintain production despite the signicant decline in the price of oil surprised many investors and exacerbated the fall in the commodity. Going into the meeting our thoughts were mixed on a cut to stabilize, but OPEC’s decision indicates that they are focused more on enforcing compliance only – which implies a modest cut if any in the future. We were mixed on the OPEC production cut decision because they do have some incentive to the let the price of oil decline (maybe to the lower 80’s) due to the negative impact it would have on their international competitors, and more specically on the shale oil industry here in the U.S. We believe most of the pain will be felt by the lower end service companies that had been forecasting increasing rates and higher utilizations in the future. In response, we began to pare back our exposure to those types of service companies by selling Superior Energy Services (SPN). Bonanza Creek (BCEI) was the largest detractor in the fourth quarter after falling over 57 percent and costing the Fund 88 basis points in performance. Bonanza was also negatively impacted by the price decline in oil and is more vulnerable to lower oil prices due to the size of the company and its reliance on higher prices.


  • Ball Corp. Still Overvalued With M&A Uncertainty

    Ball Corp. (BLL, BL8) is currently a selection of GuruFocus’ Undervalued Predictable Companies Screener. The company ranks very strongly on a profitability and growth basis, with margins and returns nearing all-time highs.


  • Warren Buffett Interview With Iconic Voices - From Journalism To JP Morgan

    He has an unimaginable amount of money yet he is one of America's most beloved citizens.

    How does Warren Buffett (Trades, Portfolio) do it?  

  • 5 Stocks Multiple Gurus Are Buying

    One of GuruFocus’ useful features is the Consensus Picks of Gurus page, which lists stocks that have been bought or sold by multiple gurus.

    On this page, users can filter stocks with the most active buys or sells over three, six, and 12 month time frames. This feature is just one of the ways you can search for investing ideas and see what stocks gurus are interested in.


  • A Closer Look at Bemis Co

    In this article, let's take a look at Bemis Co Inc. (BMS), a $4.7 billion market cap company, which is a leading maker of a broad range of flexible packaging and pressure-sensitive materials.

    High-Margin Products


  • Matthews China Fund Reverses Approach, Sells Several Asian Stocks in Fourth Quarter

    The Matthews China Fund (Trades, Portfolio), which was founded in 1998 and is known to invest four-fifths of its assets in Chinese companies, broke with that tradition to an extent in the fourth quarter of 2014.

    While the Fund did add two new Chinese companies – Kweichow Moutai Co Ltd (600519.China) and Jiangsu Hengrui Medicine Co Ltd (600276.China) – to its portfolio, it was more active selling all or part of many of its Asian stakes in the fourth quarter.


  • Is the Price Below Your Estimate of the Intrinsic Value?

    In this article, let's take a look at Waste Management, Inc. (WM), a $24.33 billion market cap company, which is the largest U.S. trash hauling/disposal concern.



  • Berkshire Hathaway: an 80 cent dollar?

    “It is better to be roughly right than precisely wrong.”

    - John Maynard Keynes


  • A Small Cap that Qualifies for Buffett Munger Status

    They’re not glamorous, but ball bearings and millions of other industrial bits and pieces keep our world moving, everything from our cars to our factories.

    Of course, all those bits and pieces in existing machines keep wearing out and must be replaced, while other companies keep building new machines to replace those that can’t be repaired any more. Partner that ongoing need with sophisticated and competent retailing, and you’ve got a business that Warren Buffett (Trades, Portfolio) would understand and likely appreciate.


  • FMC Corp. Hikes Shareholders Dividends

    In this article, let's take a look at FMC Corp. (FMC), a $8.43 billion market cap company, which is a diversified chemical company that provides solutions, applications, and products for the agricultural, consumer, and industrial markets in North America, Europe, the Middle East, Africa, Latin America, and the Asia Pacific.

    Dividends Follow Earnings


  • Interview With Kovitz Investment Group On High Quality Investing

    Since its founding in 2003, Mitch Kovitz and Jonathan Shapiro have built an incredible team at Kovitz Investment Group. The addition of Joel Hirsh in 2006 made the team all the more vigorous in its search for high-quality businesses that offer outsized return potential with a low probability of permanent capital loss. The group will be the first to tell you that its approach is a little “old school” and unconventional to others in the industry, but it wouldn’t change its approach for anything in the world.

    It’s hard to argue with its results. In fact, its returns have been downright stellar. Since inception, KIG has returned 11.17% vs. 7.81% for the S&P 500.


  • John Burbank comments on Cytec Industries

    Cytec Industries (CYT) is one of the top holdings of Passport Capital, a $3.5 billion fund founded by John Burbank (Trades, Portfolio). In its latest investor letter John explained his investment thesis on the company. Below is the excerpt from his investor letter.


  • John Burbank comments on Vipshop

    John H. Burbank III is the chief investment officer of Passport Capital LLC, the global investment firm he founded in 2000. The firm now manages a portfolio worth more than $3.5 billion. The San Francisco-based firm employs top-down macroeconomic to achieve risk-adjusted returns. Vipshop (VIPS) is one of the top ten holdings of Passport Capital. As of December 31, 2014, the firm was holding 9,522,311 shares of Vipshop.

    In his latest investor letter, John Burbank (Trades, Portfolio) explained his investment thesis on Vipshop. Below is the excerpt from his investor letter:


  • Asset Play: Russian Farmland

    Trigon Agri (TAGR) is a farming operator and land investor active in, of all places, Ukraine, Russia and Estonia. The market has been dumping pretty much anything Ukraine or Russian because of the widely publicized situation surrounding Crimea. Trigon Agri was already performing atrociously leading up the 2014 Crimea crisis but continued to sell off and is now worth next to nothing with a market cap of just $18 million. Its enterprise value, however, is over $100 million, and its net asset value, by my estimate, $73 million. Originally Trigon Agri was started by Trigon Capital with $20 million of capital in 2006. Joakim Helenius is executive chairman at Trigon Capital and still chairman at Trigon Agri.

    Trigon Agri strategy is to vertically integrate with an objective of achieving cost leadership. It starts with the acquisition of farmland and former collective farms in Russia, Ukraine and Estonia. Then Trigon Agri brings in modern agricultural technology and the latest farm management techniques. Trigon Agri also does follow-on storage, sales and even engages in trading, all in-house, in order to maximize prices for the produced commodities. The infographic below shows the entire process from buying land to grain trading:


  • David Einhorn's Most Weighted Low PE Stocks

    David Einhorn (Trades, Portfolio) is president of Greenlight Capital (a value-oriented investment advisor). Through August 2006, Einhorn had achieved annual returns of 29% since starting Greenlight in May 1996.

    Einhorn believes an investment approach emphasizing intrinsic value will achieve consistent absolute investment returns and safeguard capital regardless of market conditions. He is a noted activist investor, taking positions in companies, and then pushing management to implement changes.


  • Mario Gabelli Increases Stakes in CHMT

    Mario Gabelli (Trades, Portfolio) recently increased his stakes in Chemtura Corp (CHMT) by 8.14%. Gabelli now owns 5,516,352 shares of CHMT.

    The stock is currently trading at $26.48 a share. According to the DCF calculator, the stock's fair value is $12.69 with a margin of safety at -109%. Please note the low business predictability ranking of one star may skew the accuracy of the results.


  • John Burbank comments on his Top Holding - CF Industries

    John H. Burbank III is the Chief Investment Officer of Passport Capital LLC, the global investment firm he founded in 2000. The firm now manages a portfolio worth more than $3.5 billion. The San Francisco-based firm employs top-down macroeconomic to achieve risk-adjusted returns. CF Industries (CF) is the largest holding of Passport Capital. As of December 31, 2014, the firm was holding 1,082,292 shares of CF industries and 1,250,000 call options on the stock.

    In his latest investor letter, John Burbank (Trades, Portfolio) explained his investment thesis on CF Industries. Below is the excerpt from his investor letter:


  • Charles de Vaulx Adds Four New Positions to Portfolio

    Charles de Vaulx (Trades, Portfolio) of IVA Worldwide Fund added four new positions to his portfolio, which includes 90 stocks and has a quarter over quarter turnover of 10%.

    IVA Worldwide invests in stocks believed to be at a discounted price, in relation to the intrinsic value estimate. The firm's definition of intrinsic value is "the amount that a knowledgeable investor or corporate competitor would pay - in cash - for 100% of the economic and controlling interests of a company.”


  • Wintergreen Fund Buys 4 New International Stocks

    David Winters (Trades, Portfolio) formed Wintergreen Advisers in 2005, whose Wintergreen Fund (Trades, Portfolio) now manages $1.5 billion in assets.

    The fund follows a global approach to investing that combines strategies such as activism and arbitrage, investing in distressed companies or those at risk of bankruptcy, and hedging.


  • Clorox: A Solid Stock With Great Momentum

    Well performed stocks are always hit among investors as risks are low. The Clorox Company (CLX) is one of those stocks in the industry that has been performing remarkably well. This global consumer product giant has provided strong quarterly performances, and since 1977, it has increased its dividends each year. Further, the company’s fact sheet has shown from June 30, 1994 through June 30, 2014, Clorox has the maximum cumulative total shareholder return compared to its peers.

    This Oakland, CA, based company sells its products through mass retail outlets, e-commerce channels, distributors, and medical supply providers. Clorox operates through four segments: Cleaning, which consists of laundry, home care and professional products; Household, which consists of bags and wraps, charcoal, cat litter; Lifestyle, which consists of dressings and sauces, water filtration, natural personal care; and International, which consists of products sold outside the United States.


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