Ashton began his career as a financial software business consultant, but soon became enamored with the stock market and joined the Motley Fool as an investment analyst writer. In 2002, he founded Centaur Capital Partners, a private limited partnership, with only $1 million in capital. In 2005, his company launched the Tilson Dividend Fund (TILDX), a small mutual fund. Today, Ashton’s company has compounded at 16% per annum, and he manages $110 million.
Ashton’s investment approach includes a portfolio model with a concentration of his best ideas, along with a few smaller bets, typically a 20-stock model that is either long or short based. Most often he looks for businesses that are not cyclical or leveraged. He also prefers stocks that are not known for their fast rate of growth or bargain price.
Centaur Capital has had success with its risk management strategy. In 2008, it declined only 6.9 percent, compared to the 37-40 percent declines of the S&P and NASDAQ composite indexes. By the end of IQ09, the Centaur Value Fund had increased 134 percent, while the NASDAQ composite returned 15 percent and the S&P 500 index -0.3 percent.
These are Ashton’s top holdings as of 12/31/2010.
No. 1: LABORATORY CORP. OF AMER. (NYSE:LH), Weightings: 5.76% - 64,400 Shares
Laboratory Corp. Of America is one of the largest independent clinical laboratory companies in the United States. It has a market cap of $8.74 billion; its shares were traded at around $87.73 with a P/E ratio of 16.52 and P/S ratio of 1.73. The company had an annual average earning growth of 17.6% over the past 10 years.
No. 2: Calamos Asset Management Inc. (CLMS), Weightings: 4.29% - 301,000 Shares
Calamos Asset Management, Inc., provides investment advisory services through its subsidiaries to institutions and individuals, principally in the United States. Calamos Asset Management Inc. has a market cap of $319.77 million; its shares were traded at around $15.85 with a P/E ratio of 16.05 and P/S ratio of .98. The dividend yield of Calamos Asset Management Inc. stocks is 2.014%.
No. 3: TERRA NOVA ROYALTY Corp. (TTT), Weightings: 3.73% - 469,839 Shares
KHD Humboldt Wedag International Ltd. owns companies that operate internationally in the engineering services industry, and specializes in the cement, coal and mineral engineering services industries. Terra Nova Royalty Corp. has a market cap of $494.404 million; its shares were traded at around $8.09 with a P/E ratio of 12.552 and P/S ratio of 0.98. The dividend yield of Terra Nova Royalty Corp. stocks is 0.616%.
No. 4: BEST BUY COMPANY INC. (NYSE:BBY), Weightings: 3.05% - 87,500 Shares
Best Buy operates in a single business segment, selling personal computers and other home office products, consumer electronics, entertainment software, major appliances and related accessories principally through its retail stores. Best Buy Company Inc. has a market cap of $ 12.39 billion; its shares were traded at around $ 31.42 with a P/E ratio of 9.42 and P/S ratio of 0.25. The dividend yield of Best Buy Company Inc. stocks is 1.846%. Best Buy Company Inc. had an annual average earnings growth of 16.6% over the past 10 years. GuruFocus rated Best Buy Company Inc. the business predictability rank of 5-star.
No. 5: MVC CAPITAL INC. (NYSE:MVC), Weightings: 3.03% - 204,200 Shares
MVC CAPITAL INC is a business development company traded on the New York Stock Exchange, under the listing symbol MVC and is advised by The Tokarz Group Advisers LLC. Mvc Capital Inc. has a market cap of 312.123 million; its shares were traded at around $ 13.01 with a P/E ratio of 19.71 and P/S ratio of 13.40. The dividend yield of Mvc Capital Inc. stocks is 3.689%.
No. 6: NORTHROP GRUMMAN CORP. (NYSE:NOC), Weightings: 2.97% - 45,000 Shares
Northrop Grumman Corporation is a high technology company providing innovative solutions in systems integration, defense electronics and information technology for its U. Northrop Grumman Corp. has a market cap of $ 19,803.460 million; its shares were traded at around $ 67.98 with a P/E ratio of 9.97 and P/S ratio of 0.57. The dividend yield of Northrop Grumman Corp. stocks is 2.764 %. Northrop Grumman Corp. had an annual average earnings growth of 11.1% over the past 10 years.
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