During the quarter we sold our remaining Discovery shares. Discovery was a great holding for us, and we continue to believe it is a great business, though we no longer believe it represents a great value. We also sold our shares in Disney, another fine company that is now being priced as such. Last, as we said early in the quarter, we sold our shares in Dell after a private equity firm that we believed had proprietary information walked away from its proposed transaction. We added two holdings in addition to GM, and all three are described below.
Apache Corp. (APA – $84)(NYSE:APA)Apache is a large oil and gas exploration and production company operating both within and outside of the United States. The stock is down from a high of $149 reached in 2008 when natural gas prices were higher and from $134 in 2011 before it missed optimistic production growth targets. Disappointed investors pushed the stock to a low of $68 last quarter. Pessimism has left growth expectations so low that we now believe they will likely be exceeded. More importantly, management has changed its tune regarding its stock. Previously, like many of its peers, Apache management emphasized absolute growth without regard to per share growth. So our ears perked up when management said that, because the acquisition market valued Apache’s assets at higher multiples than the stock market, the company would begin to divest assets and use proceeds to repurchase undervalued stock. Selling at just nine times consensus earnings estimates for 2014 and with expectations of good capital allocation, we believe Apache is an attractive addition to our portfolio.
General Motors (GM – $33)(NYSE:GM)
General Motors is the largest U.S.-based car and truck manufacturer. A high cost structure and a mountain of employee pension and post-retirement healthcare liabilities put GM into bankruptcy in 2009. A restructured GM - smaller, more efficient, and unburdened of most unfunded off-balance sheet liabilities – came back to the public equity market in 2010 at a price of $33. Despite a strong stock market, GM stock traded at only $27 earlier this year. We have been positive on the prospects for the auto market, believing that many investors focus too much on auto demand cycles in the U.S. and Europe, instead of on the strong secular growth in emerging markets, which now account for more sales than either the U.S. or Europe. And despite GM’s struggles, it has built very strong positions in these growing markets while maintaining its dominant, and highly profitable, position in North American pick-up trucks. We believe that with a management team that can now focus on building cars and trucks, instead of serving its retirees, and with a stock priced at less than 8 times 2014 earnings estimates, GM has become an attractive investment.
National Oilwell Varco (NOV - $69)(NYSE:NOV)
National Oilwell is one of the world’s largest providers of equipment for oil and gas drilling. Drill rig equipment accounts for about half its sales with the other half a diverse assortment of pipes, pumps, tools, consumables and a distribution business. Last year the stock reached $90, which was 14 times earnings plus amortization. Earnings in the first half of this year are expected to be down about 5%, primarily due to decreased drilling caused by lower natural gas prices. Despite the relatively small dip in earnings, the stock fell 30% to a low of $63 this past quarter. We expect earnings to begin to recover later this year, and we believe that next year could be the most profitable in the company’s history. Earnings growth should be led by a rebound in the global land rig count, continued strong deepwater equipment orders and the benefits reaped from several meaningful acquisitions. Though National Oilwell’s stock has recovered somewhat, it is still priced at less than 10 times estimated 2014 earnings plus amortization. Given that National Oilwell controls more than 50% of the deepwater equipment market and the company’s very high returns on tangible capital, we believe the current valuation is attractive.
William C. Nygren, CFA
Kevin G. Grant, CFA
As of 6/30/13, Microsoft Corp. represented 2.1%, The Boeing Co. 0.8%, General Motors Co. 1.8%, Apple, Inc. 1.7%, Discovery Communications, Inc., Class C 0%, The Walt Disney Co. 0%, Dell, Inc. 0%, Apache Corp. 1.2%, and National Oilwell Varco 1.6% of the Oakmark Fund's total net assets. Portfolio holdings are subject to change without notice and are not intended as recommendations of individual stocks.
For a full list of The Oakmark Fund's holdings as of 6/30/13, click here.
The S&P 500 Total Return Index is a market capitalization-weighted index of 500 large-capitalization stocks commonly used to represent the U.S. equity market. All returns reflect reinvested dividends and capital gains distributions. This index is unmanaged and investors cannot invest directly in this index.
The Oakmark Fund’s portfolio tends to be invested in a relatively small number of stocks. As a result, the appreciation or depreciation of any one security held by the Fund will have a greater impact on the Fund’s net asset value than it would if the Fund invested in a larger number of securities. Although that strategy has the potential to generate attractive returns over time, it also increases the Fund’s volatility.
Investing in value stocks presents the risk that value stocks may fall out of favor with investors and underperform growth stocks during given periods.
The discussion of the Fund’s investments and investment strategy (including current investment themes, the portfolio managers' research and investment process, and portfolio characteristics) represents the Fund’s investments and the views of the portfolio managers and Harris Associates L.P., the Fund’s investment adviser, at the time of this letter, and are subject to change without notice.