Ruane Cunniff

Ruane Cunniff

Last Update: 11-14-2016

Number of Stocks: 100
Number of New Stocks: 2

Total Value: $10,651 Mil
Q/Q Turnover: 4%

Countries: USA SGP
Details: Top Buys | Top Sales | Top Holdings  Embed:

Ruane Cunniff Watch

  • 21 Questions for Bluegrass Capital's Founder

    Thank you for your interest in me. I am a longtime follower of your site and hope my responses prove useful to at least a few of your readers. I look forward to other interviews in this series.


    19. Describe some of the biggest mistakes you have made value investing. What are your three worst investments? What did you learn and how do you avoid those mistakes today?

      


  • Ruane Cunniff Makes One Significant Buy

    On Tuesday, Ruane Cunniff (Trades, Portfolio) disclosed its first quarterly update since losing significantly on a position in Valeant Pharmaceuticals (NYSE:VRX), a fast-growing drug maker accused of price gouging and a dubious relationship with a pharmacy. The firm’s Sequoia Fund made only one large purchase during the third quarter, Dentsply Sirona (NASDAQ:XRAY).


    Sequoia owned Sirona, the original company, since 2011, according to its third-quarter letter. Sirona, a dental products maker, merged with Dentsply, a dental consumables company, in February to create the world’s largest professional dental company, supplying to labs, dental offices and clinics worldwide. Dentsply Sirona has a global headquarters in York, Pennsylvania, international headquarters in Salzburg, Austria, and a market cap of $13.44 billion.

      


  • Ruane Cunniff Comments on Wells Fargo

    We did not add to or reduce our 2% position in Wells Fargo (NYSE:WFC) during the quarter, but recent events prompt us to share our thoughts on the bank with you. News emerged in September that since 2011, Wells Fargo employees had created up to 2.1 million sham customer accounts in order to meet aggressive sales quotas set by bank management. While this behavior caused the bank to fire some 5,300 employees over a period of five years, the bank was distressingly slow to change the incentives that prompted this bad behavior. We believe that Wells management has damaged the bond of trust the bank had built with its customers, and that senior executives should be held accountable for the practices their policies engendered. That said, it is important to note that only about 5% of the unauthorized accounts had fees associated with them—and that these fees came to about $2.6 million in total. Wells Fargo is an enormous enterprise, with 93 million customer accounts and $22.4 billion of net income in the past year. The sham accounts did not make money for Wells, and more likely cost it money as the bank paid bonuses to employees who opened inactive accounts. Wells has suffered deep reputational damage and we will keep a watchful eye on the remedies proposed by management, but we believe Wells remains an attractive franchise with a low valuation.

    From Ruane Cunniff (Trades, Portfolio)'s Sequoia Fund third quarter 2016 letter to shareholders.  


  • Ruane Cunniff Comments on Walmart

    We reduced our holding in Walmart (NYSE:WMT) during the quarter, and exited the stock in early October. Over our 11-year holding period, Walmart generated a positive total shareholder return but modestly underperformed the S&P 500 Index. Walmart remains a formidable company, but over the past decade its dominance has waned. International expansion has never generated good returns for shareholders, while Walmart has struggled to develop a winning e-commerce strategy. We think higher wages for its entry level workers, continued growth at Amazon and the need to invest heavily in e-commerce will put pressure on Walmart’s earnings over the next few years.

    From Ruane Cunniff (Trades, Portfolio)'s Sequoia Fund third quarter 2016 letter to shareholders.  


  • Ruane Cunniff Comments on Trimble Navigation

    We sold our few shares of Trimble Navigation (NASDAQ:TRMB). While Trimble is an interesting business, it has diversified away from its core GPS offerings for agricultural and construction machinery into a host of new areas, few of which have borne fruit. As Trimble amounted to less than 1% of the Fund’s holdings and we weren’t excited about its diversification efforts, we exited. Over our six-year holding period, Trimble generated a positive return but underperformed the Index.

    From Ruane Cunniff (Trades, Portfolio)'s Sequoia Fund third quarter 2016 letter to shareholders.  


  • Ruane Cunniff Comments on Dentsply Sirona

    After a busy second quarter in terms of portfolio activity, the third quarter was far quieter. Our only significant purchase was of the dental supply leader Dentsply Sirona (NASDAQ:XRAY). We’ve owned predecessor company Sirona since 2011, and it has been an excellent performer. Our original investment thesis was based on Sirona’s leadership in digital dentistry. Sirona is strong in digital equipment, and its product line includes CEREC, an incredibly innovative and useful CAD/CAM system that allows dentists to design and mill crowns in their offices during the course of a single patient visit. The merger brings together the highest-tech maker of dental equipment (Sirona) with the largest maker of dental consumables (Dentsply), creating the industry’s largest global supplier. It is our belief that Dentsply Sirona is in a unique position to create and sell new value-added solutions in both equipment and consumables over the years ahead. In addition, we think CEO Jeff Slovin is the right person to drive the combined organization toward a world-class level of performance.

    From Ruane Cunniff (Trades, Portfolio)'s Sequoia Fund third quarter 2016 letter to shareholders.  


  • Sequoia Fund 3rd Quarter Update, Says Wells Fargo 'Attractive'

    Dear Clients and Shareholders:


    The third quarter of 2016 was characterized by a return to normalcy after a tumultuous first half. The Sequoia Fund returned 3.56% vs. a 3.85% return for the S&P 500 Index1. At quarter’s end our cash position stood at 10.2%, reflecting the relatively full valuations we find in the marketplace.

      


  • PRIMECAP Adds to Trimble, NN Inc.

    PRIMECAP Management (Trades, Portfolio) added to its positions in Trimble Inc. (NASDAQ:TRMB) and NN Inc. (NASDAQ:NNBR) on Sept. 30.


    PRIMECAP was founded in 1983 by Howard Schow, Mitchell Milias and Theo Kolokotrones in Pasadena, California. The firm manages multiple funds and evaluates securities based on their three- to five-year outlook.

      


  • Gurus Exit Inefficient Packaged Foods Industry

    Throughout the second quarter, gurus trimmed or eliminated their positions in packaged foods companies. Such companies, like Kellogg Co. (NYSE:K) and Leucadia Corp. (NYSE:LUK), have increasing days sales outstanding and contracting profit margins. This leads to decreased value opportunities in the packaged foods industry.


    Which industries inefficiently operate receivables, payables and inventory?

      


  • Ruane Cunniff Cuts Allergan, Berkshire, IBM

    Ruane Cunniff (Trades, Portfolio) is a value investor focused on the intrinsic value of business. It manages a portfolio composed of 118 stocks with a total value of $10.499 billion. During the second quarter the guru traded the following stocks.


    The investor reduced shares in Berkshire Hathaway Inc. Class A (BRK.A) by 19.52% with an impact of -2.78% on the portfolio.

      


  • Francis Chou Adds to 2 Positions in 2nd Quarter

    During the second quarter, Francis Chou (Trades, Portfolio) of Chou Associates Management added 48.11% and 38.77% to its positions in Valeant Pharmaceuticals International Inc. (NYSE:VRX) and Sears Holdings Corp. (NASDAQ:SHLD). As the stock prices continue to decline, the companies offer investing opportunities. The above transactions align with Chou’s strategy of investing in companies with depressed prices.


    Established in 1986, the Chou Associates Fund seeks long-term capital growth by investing in undervalued U.S. and Canadian securities. As mentioned in its recent prospectus, the fund analyzes the company’s balance sheet and common financial metrics: profitability, growth potential and intrinsic value. While the manager has a limited number of positions, Chou reduces the portfolio risk by investing in companies with high margins of safety.

      


  • Ruane Cunniff Comments on Wells Fargo

    Wells Fargo (NYSE:WFC) is the highest return and arguably the best run very large bank in the U.S. It is the number one U.S. bank in many categories including retail deposits; middle market, small business and used car lending; equipment and inventory financing; railcar leasing; and commercial and residential mortgage servicing and originations. It is in fewer volatile business lines than other large banks. It leads the industry in the intensity of its customer relationships with over six products per customer. The number of primary checking accounts at Wells is currently growing at around 5%, an impressive growth rate for a financial institution of this size. Through deposit-driven asset growth and stock buybacks, Wells has done a good job of counteracting shrinking net interest margins over the past decade.


    Wells has a long-tenured management team and its record of technological innovation positions it well to handle both challenges from “fintech” disruptors and customer demands for access through a multitude of distribution channels. Wells has a good record of capital allocation, having added to per-share value during the financial crisis by buying Wachovia, expanding its footprint from its already fast-growing Western base to the equally vibrant Southeast. At the time, Wachovia’s “pick-a-pay” mortgage portfolio concerned many investors, but that portfolio’s quality has turned out to be better than even Wells expected. Recently, Wells acquired a large piece of General Electric’s finance business, an acquisition we think will work out well.

      


  • Ruane Cunniff Comments on Charles Schwab

    Charles Schwab (NYSE:SCHW) pioneered the discount brokerage business in the mid-1970s and has remained an innovator in the investment services industry ever since. It built the well-known OneSource marketplace to provide individual investors access to thousands of no-load mutual funds and was among the first to provide individual investors with an online interface. The success of its investor-friendly strategy is evidenced by a tripling of the company’s client assets from $870 billion in 2000 to more than $2.5 trillion at year-end 2015. This makes Schwab the largest publicly-traded investment services firm in the U.S., ahead of all other discount brokers as well as all the wirehouses. We believe Schwab will continue to attract new brokerage accounts and client assets.


    Specifically, we believe that the trend towards passive investment products and toward automated investment advice represents more opportunity than risk for the company. Traditional wirehouses still hold more than $10 trillion in client assets and likely will be market share donors for years to come. Schwab also holds many billions of dollars in client cash deposits, on which it earns a spread that tends to rise when interest rates rise. Any increase in short-term interest rates would provide significant earnings to Schwab, and thus upside to our investment, though we are not counting on it.

      


  • Ruane Cunniff Comments on Chipotle Mexican Grill

    In the latter half of 2015, a series of pathogen outbreaks at Chipotle Mexican Grill (NYSE:CMG) caused a precipitous drop in traffic at the Mexican-themed restaurant chain. The ensuing negative publicity caused Chipotle’s stock to drop into the low $400 range from a high of $757 per share. Prior to the outbreaks, Chipotle was one of the most successful restaurant concepts of the past thirty years. CEO Steve Ells, a classically trained chef, helped pioneer the concept of high-quality food made from fresh ingredients in a fast casual environment. Chipotle’s high quality product, simple menu, and efficient service combined to make its restaurants extraordinarily profitable, and this in turn has allowed Chipotle to expand its footprint at a rapid pace without resorting to franchising or borrowing money.


    In the wake of the pathogen outbreaks we contacted a number of food safety experts to verify that Chipotle management had established industry leading food safety practices in all of its stores. Wereviewed the history of outbreaks at public and private restaurant chains and tallied the long term impact each outbreak had on each chain’s franchise value. Most importantly, we held conversations with dozens of industry veterans to develop a timeline for Chipotle’s recovery. While we expect Chipotle to suffer through a slow and bumpy recovery, we believe the company has an opportunity to more than double its U.S. store base over time at terrific unit economics.

      


  • Ruane Cunniff Comments on Carmax

    Carmax (NYSE:KMX) has turned the once-notorious used car business on its head with no-haggle pricing on products that have been rigorously reconditioned and certified. The biggest used car dealer in the country and the only one with a national brand, Carmax has the opportunity to roughly double its store count while increasing same-store sales in the years ahead. We have followed Carmax for more than a decade and we particularly like the fact that others have tried to copy its business model without success. The shares were weak during the quarter due to concerns that a slowing auto cycle could depress used car prices, as well as the emergence of some new competitors on the internet. However, we think Carmax has a terrific opportunity to capitalize on Internet selling. We bought Carmax shares at a reasonable 15x P/E multiple because we believe whatever the short-term fluctuations in used car pricing, the company’s consumer appeal is quite strong.

    From Ruane Cunniff (Trades, Portfolio)'s Sequoia Fund second quarter 2016 shareholder letter.  


  • Ruane Cunniff Comments on Cabela’s

    We also sold our shares in Cabela’s (NYSE:CAB), the camping and hunting retailer. Cabela’s board of directors is exploring a sale of the business, which has lifted its share price recently. We chose to exit as deal rumors swirled, believing that Cabela’s shares hold little appeal if a deal does not happen. This is a management team that has struggled with the basics of retailing: the stores are expensive to build and operate and the merchandise, while compelling, is not competitively priced.

    From Ruane Cunniff (Trades, Portfolio)'s Sequoia Fund second quarter 2016 shareholder letter.  


  • Ruane Cunniff Comments on Allergan

    We exited two smaller positions during the quarter. While Allergan (NYSE:AGN) has a stronger collection of assets and far better outlook than Valeant, we suspect many drug makers will face increasing pressure from health care payers who need to reduce the relentless double-digit inflation rate for branded pharmaceuticals.

    From Ruane Cunniff (Trades, Portfolio)'s Sequoia Fund second quarter 2016 shareholder letter.  


  • Ruane Cunniff Comments on Idexx Laboratories

    We made the difficult decision during the quarter to part with our longtime holding in Idexx Laboratories (NASDAQ:IDXX). Idexx had been a wonderful stock for us over the past 13 years, compounding at better than a 17% rate from the time of our original purchases in 2003 through June 30. This compares to a 7.4% compound for the S&P 500 Index over the same period. Idexx has a terrific market position in veterinary diagnostics and a very capable CEO in Jon Ayers. But the market fully realizes Idexx’s strengths. It is according Idexx a price-to- earnings ratio of more than 40x the 2016 consensus earnings per share estimate of $ 2.21. The company has grown earnings per share at an 11% rate for the past five years and should grow a bit below that rate in 2016. The market helped with our decision as the price of Idexx shares rose sharply during the quarter. We owe a huge debt of gratitude to Jon Ayers. He is a hero to Sequoia shareholders and greatly respected by all of us.

      


  • Sequoia Fund Addresses Valeant, New Buys, Board Changes in 2nd Quarter Letter

    Dear Clients and Sequoia Shareholders:

      


  • Ruane Cunniff Acquires Shares of Dentsply Sirona

    Ruane Cunniff (Trades, Portfolio) bought a 4,843,324-share stake in Dentsply Sirona Inc. (NASDAQ:XRAY) during the first quarter.


    Dentsply Sirona, a Delaware corporation that was founded in 1899, is a leading designer, developer, manufacturer and marketer of a broad range of consumable dental products for the professional dental market. The company also manufactures and markets other consumable medical device products. The company’s principal product categories are dental consumable products, dental laboratory products, dental specialty products and consumable medical device products. The company’s worldwide headquarters and executive offices are located in York, Pennsylvania.

      


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