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Dianne Tordillo
Dianne Tordillo
Articles (179)  | Author's Website |

Top 10 Most Traded Stocks in 2012

As year’s end draws near, it is time to see which stocks the nation’s best investors have gravitated towards in buying trend throughout the year. According to GuruFocus' All-in-One Screener results, the following stocks accumulated the most trades by Gurus this year. The chart below shows how many of the stocks were traded by the investors that GuruFocus follows, as well as how many Gurus actually kept the stocks in their current holdings up until now.

Stock Symbol Company # of Guru Trades in the Last Year # of Guru Current Holdings
MSFT Microsoft Corp. 54 54
AAPL Apple Inc. 54 48
GOOG Google Inc. 48 44
WFC Wells Fargo & Co. 47 43
JPM JPMorgan Chase & Co. 47 43
BAC Bank of America Corp. 47 42
C Citigroup Inc. 45 42
XOM Exxon Mobil Corp. 45 44
JNJ Johnson & Johnson 44 43
PFE Pfizer Inc. 43 39

Microsoft Corp. (NASDAQ:MSFT)

Microsoft appears to be an investor favorite this year. The Gurus who currently own the most Microsoft shares are Dodge & Cox, with 61 million shares making up 2.4 percent of its portfolio; PRIMECAP Management with 60 million shares making up 2.9 percent of its portfolio; and Jeremy Grantham with 48 million shares, making up 4.2 percent of his portfolio.

Year to date, Microsoft has delivered a 5.05 percent gain. It is trading at $27.34, down 0.29 percent this morning. Its peak price was in March at $32 and its lowest was in November at $26.

What Gurus Are Saying About Microsoft:

“Software company Microsoft Corp. (MSFT) continued to produce modest operating income growth and attractive cash generation. However, the stock declined slightly during the quarter as investors remained focused on the company's release of Windows 8 in October and whether the company can generate any momentum in mobile devices.”

-From Diamond Hill Capital’s third quarter Select Fund Commentary

Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL)

The Gurus who currently own the most Apple shares are Frank Sands with 3.6 million shares, his top holding making up 9.9 percent of his portfolio; Jeremy Grantham with 1.9 million shares making up 3.7 percent of his portfolio; and Tiger Global Management, its top holding with 1.3 million shares, which is 12.2 percent of its portfolio.

Year to date, Apple has produced a 33.45 percent value growth. Its highest price this year was in September at $702. Its lowest was in January at $413. It is currently trading at $542.04, with its stock down 0.09 percent around noontime.

What Gurus Are Saying About Apple:

Before the end of the quarter, we finally sold Apple, Inc. (AAPL), one of the Fund's most successful investments since inception. This was a tough judgment call that has worked out well, at least on a short-term basis. Our reasons included concerns about the ultimate market cap the market would allow the company to achieve, rising competition from Android devices, the release of the iPhone 5 with a sub-par mapping application and concerns about the ability of the company to hold together its management team in the post-Steve Jobs era (a concern that was validated when the company announced management changes).”

-From Baron Funds’ Third Quarter Letter

Google Inc. (NASDAQ:GOOG)

Gurus who own the most Google shares are PRIMECAP Management with 3.2 million shares which is 4 percent of its portfolio; Chris Davis with 2.8 million shares which is 5.1 percent of his portfolio; and Frank Sands with 2.4 million shares which is 7.7 percent of his portfolio.

Year to date, Google has had a value gain of 7.92 percent. It traded the highest in October at $766, and the lowest in June at $558. Its stock is currently up 0.21 percent today, trading at $699.

What Gurus are Saying About Apple:

“You might be surprised to know that we began building a position in Google (GOOG) back in February of this year when the stock dipped down to around $565 per share. At this price, we felt we were getting a bargain…And this was for a business that grows its top line at greater than 20% per year…It is reasonable to conclude that Google has a strong competitive position. Google's revenue is roughly 15 times higher than its nearest competitor, which has enabled them to put significantly more money into R&D, distribution, and the development of products and eco-systems that further promote and protect the use of Google's search.”

-From Tweedy, Browne’s Investment Advisor’s Letter and Semi-Annual Report

Google (GOOG) contributed to the portfolio’s relative outperformance, after the stock appreciated 30% during the Quarter. We believe this was a relief rally, as much as it was the stock catching up to the Company’s torrid growth from the past few years. Much of the relief had to do with Google’s strategy for newly acquired Motorola Mobility. While the Company has been light on specifics, rumors emerged that Google would sell the commodity feature-phone and set-top box units of Motorola by year-end, in order to focus exclusively on Android smartphones. We think a more focused Motorola is a good strategy that could drive increased adoption of Android-based smartphones, which ultimately drives Google’s rapidly growing mobile advertising business. As the stock’s forward price to earnings multiple expanded back to double-digits, we trimmed positions. The Company’s competitive edge is still very robust and we continue to think the stock is cheap, especially relative to its potential growth rate.”

-From Wedgewood Partners’ Third Quarter 2012 Review and Outlook

Wells Fargo & Co. (NYSE:WFC)

Gurus who own the most shares of Wells Fargo are Warren Buffett with 422 million shares of the company representing 19.4 percent; Dodge & Cox with 81 million shares representing 3.7 percent of the firm’s portfolio; and Chris Davis with 79 million shares representing 6.5 percent of his firm’s portfolio.

Year to date, Wells Fargo has experienced a 20.79 percent value gain. It traded the highest in September at $36. It traded the lowest in January at $28. Currently the stock is up $1.53 percent, at the price of $33.82

What Gurus are Saying About Wells Fargo:

“I actually bought Wells Fargo instead of JPMorgan. My best ideas are all in Berkshire Hathaway, I can promise you. We have 400 million shares of Wells Fargo in Berkshire Hathaway and I like JPMorgan too, but Wells Fargo is easier to understand, we bought Wells Fargo in the first quarter, we bought it last year and a lot of years before. If I wasn’t managing Berkshire Hathaway, and I was sitting on my own money, I would put a lot of money in Wells Fargo and some in JPMorgan too.”

-From Warren Buffett, in Berkshire Hathaway’s 2012 Shareholder Meeting

JPMorgan Chase & Co. (NYSE:JPM)

Gurus who own the most shares of JPMorgan Chase are James Barrow with 29 million shares which is 2.4 percent of his firm’s portfolio; Hotchkis & Wiley with 14 million shares representing 3.5 percent of its portfolio; and Brian Rogers with 14 million shares representing 2.5 percent of T. Rowe Price’s portfolio.

Year to date, JPMorgan Chase delivered a 28.24 percent value gain. Its stock sold the highest in March at $46, and sold the lowest in June at $31. The stock is up 1.69 percent today, trading at $43.34.

What Gurus Are Saying About JPMorgan Chase:

“Banking and financial service company JPMorgan Chase & Co. (JPM) was a strong performer during the quarter as the financials sector led the market higher and investors became more comfortable that JPMorgan has addressed its earlier trading issues. Overall, the company continued to demonstrate very strong underlying performance across most of its key businesses, while capital levels remained very healthy.”

-From Diamond Hill Capital’s Third Quarter Large Cap Fund Commentary

Bank of America Corp. (NYSE:BAC)

Gurus who own the most shares of Bank of America are Dodge & Cox with 133 million shares which is 1.5 percent of the firm’s portfolio; Bruce Berkowitz with 102 million shares which is 12.9 percent of his portfolio; and James Barrow with 69 million shares which is 1.2 percent of his portfolio.

Year to date, Bank of America’s price has increased by 89.03 percent. It trades near its one-year high at $10.66. It traded the lowest in January around $5.56. Bank of America stock is up 1.19 percent for today’s trading.

What Gurus Are Saying About Bank of America:

Bank of America (BAC) is the Fund's next largest financial holding (9% of the Fund) affected by the great housing price collapse. The company's reported book value is over $20 per share. We believe that America's bank is returning to its retail roots (think of Wells Fargo) with a $1 trillion deposit franchise and that bank profits will skyrocket as legacy real estate loans burn-off.”

-From Bruce Berkowitz’s Second Quarter Shareholder Letter

“Our best performing stock for the quarter was Bank of America, up 72%. Last year was difficult for bank stocks, especially Bank of America (BAC), but much of that reversed in the past quarter as banks now appear adequately capitalized and many are able to return more capital to shareholders.”

-From Oakmark Fund’s First Quarter Shareholder Letter

Citigroup Inc. (NYSE:C)

Gurus who own the most shares of Citigroup are James Barrow with 19 million shares which is 1.3 percent of his portfolio; Hotchkis & Wiley with 17 million shares which is 3.3 percent of the firm’s portfolio; and NWQ Investment Managers with 13 million shares which is 3.1 percent of the firm’s portfolio.

Year to date, Citigroup has gained 40.63 percent in value. It traded its highest in November at $38.47, and traded its lowest in June around $25. Its stock is up 1.63 percent today, at the price of $37.71.

What Gurus are Saying About Citigroup:

“We have believed for some time that Citi is a well-capitalized financial institution trading at a substantial discount to intrinsic value. We have also believed that Citi’s ability to return capital to shareholders principally through share repurchases will be an important catalyst for value recognition by shareholders…Citi remains extremely cheap relative to our estimate of intrinsic value – it trades at less than 60% of tangible book value, about six times last year’s underlying earnings per share and about four times normalized earnings per share after giving credit to its net tax assets and excess capital.

The intrinsic value of Citi has increased meaningfully over the course of our ownership of the bank while the stock price has declined substantially. We believe that the continued generation of profits and increase in growth of tangible book value will ultimately cause investors to revalue the bank at prices approaching its intrinsic value.”

-From Bill Ackman’s First Quarter Shareholder Letter

“We also initiated a position in banking and financial services company Citigroup, Inc. (C) as we gained confidence in the company's financial condition. Citigroup has addressed credit quality and weak capital issues, which should allow it to rapidly wind down its troubled asset portfolio. We also expect Citigroup to re-establish its capital return program through dividend increases and share repurchases which should benefit shareholders.”

-From Diamond Hill Capital’s Third Quarter Large Cap Fund Commentary

Exxon Mobil Corp. (NYSE:XOM)

Gurus who own the most shares of Exxon are Bill Gates with 7.6 million shares, Brian Rogers with 6 million shares and Ken Fisher with 4.7 million shares.

Year to date, Exxon has surged 4.81 percent in value. It traded its highest in October at $93 and traded its lowest in June at $77. Currently, the stock is up 1.28 percent, trading at $90.14.

What Gurus Are Saying About Exxon:

“Exxon Mobil (XOM, 87) has lagged the market all year on fears of limited upside with many of the world’s untapped resources owned by crazy governments (sorry for the redundancy) and downside with consensus calls for falling prices that will squeeze margins. This oil supermajor sells at 80% of annual revenues and less than ten times 2012 earnings. As the world’s dominant energy producer and marketer, Exxon should be just fine, and the stock should improve, too. While the dividend yield is only 2.6%, note that it pays out only about 20% of earnings and has room to give back more.”

-From Ken Fisher’s Forbes Column, titled Five Big Stocks for a Late-State Bull Market

Johnson & Johnson (NYSE:JNJ)

Gurus who own the most shares of Johnson & Johnson are Jeremy Grantham at 25 million shares, James Barrow at 16 million shares and PRIMECAP Management at 14 million shares.

Year to date, Johnson & Johnson has surged 8.42 percent in value. It traded the highest in October at $72 and traded the lowest in June at $61. Today, its stock is up 0.25 percent, and trades at the price of $71.28.

What Gurus Are Saying About Johnson & Johnson:

“Poor execution on the part of JNJ and P&G this past year provided attractive entry price points for both stocks. Each company owns a plethora of leading brands that if spun off could provide tremendous returns for shareholders. Over 80% of acquisitions destroy shareholder value; spinoffs have had a much better record of outperforming the averages within 24 months…”

“Johnson and Johnson suffers from a lack of quality control in many of their products. These are fixable, and again the tremendous lineup of leading brands offers investors good potential with spinoffs.”

-From Jeff Auxier in an interview with GuruFocus

“They have some wonderful products and a wonderful balance sheet, but too many mistakes have been made at Johnson & Johnson. Clearly, they have not lived up to their standards.”

-From Warren Buffett in an interview with CNBC’s Squawk Box

Pfizer Inc. (NYSE:PFE)

Gurus that own that most shares of Pfizer include Dodge & Cox with 74 million shares, Jeremy Grantham with 60 million shares and James Barrow with 59 million shares.

Year to date, Pfizer’s price gained 18.48 percent in value. The highest the stock sold for this year was in October at $26 and sold the lowest in February at around $20. Pfizer stock is up 0.21 percent today, trading at $25.70.

What Gurus Are Saying About Pfizer:

“Pfizer is the world’s largest drug firm with a stunning A-Z array of big brand names like Advil and Viagra—and fits the high-consistency-of-earnings-growth theme perfectly. It continues to pump out new products. The latest: Bosulif, a daily pill to fight a rare form of blood and bone marrow cancer. It sells at ten times my 2013 earnings estimate with a 3.6% dividend yield.”

From Ken Fisher’s Forbes column, titled Too Big to Fail Stocks

Close Calls, But Still Hot Picks

The stocks below were close in making it to the top 10, but they still swelled with trade activity throughout the year.

· American International Group Inc. (AIG)

· Qualcomm Inc. (QCOM)

· Intel Corp. (INTC)

· Berkshire Hathaway Inc. (BRK.B)

· Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (WMT)

· Oracle Corp. (ORCL)

· MasterCard Incorporated (MA)

· Merck & Co. Inc. (MRK)

· Walt Disney Co. (DIS)

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About the author:

Dianne Tordillo
Dianne Tordillo is staff writer for GuruFocus.com. She reports on a variety of financial news, primarily dealing with investor portfolios and stock trades. Her articles also highlight insider trades, as well as the many useful features of GuruFocus.

Visit Dianne Tordillo's Website

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