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I often look through 13F filings to get investment ideas.  The last time I did it, one of my readers asked a question like this:

It’s nice to see how large the positions are of the investors that you track, but wouldn’t it be better to track the changes in positions?  After all, new allocations are more indicative of better value than older holdings.

That’s probably correct, though for my own investing it might not be as accurate, because I rank current positions against challengers – my current positions have to justify their existence to stay in the portfolio.

But I thought it would be worth trying to do that, and also do it as a percentage of each stock’s market capitalization.

Now, there are difficulties in doing an analysis like this:

  • CUSIP changes
  • M&A (takeovers, spinoffs
  • CUSIP formats (some managers make it difficult to read)
  • Deliberately difficult formatting
  • One firm fills out the from wrong, swapping fields
  • Multiple holders within a given firm
  • You have to create a CUSIP/ticker database (paid my 13-year old assistant $50 to do that.)
  • In short, a lot of data scrubbing.

Now the results of looking at 13Fs can be valuable, and there is a small cottage industry doing so.  Mebane Faber has done good work with this, as has Insider MonkeyManual of Ideas and Street of Walls.  Following the ideas of some of the best investors leads to better returns, even if there is a lag involved.

And the lag doesn’t matter much.  Most of these investors invest for years not months, so if you get a signal it should be valid for some time after it is received.

Anyway, I calculated the positions for 74 investors that I have some respect for (listed at the bottom).  My objective is to look at them as a group.  For the most part, I don’t care which of them is investing in a given company.

Following this are a variety of tables with some commentary on what might be going on.  I think you might find some valuable ideas in the companies where  there are large additions or holdings as a proportion of market capitalization.

Tables

Stocks with the most new investors:

New Ticker Name

9

DLPH Delphi Automotive PLC

6

LVLT LEVEL 3 COMMUNICATIONS INC

6

LMCA LIBERTY MEDIA CORP NEW

5

ORCL Oracle Corp

4

TRIP TRIPADVISOR INC

4

KORS MICHAEL KORS HLDGS LTD

3

BAC BANK OF AMERICA CORP

3

CVX CHEVRON CORP NEW

3

DELL Dell Inc

3

EP EL PASO CORP

3

VRUS PHARMASSET INC

3

TDC TERADATA CORP

 

Stocks that had the most investors increase positions (including new owners):

Increased Ticker Name

15

GOOG GOOGLE INC.

9

DLPH Delphi Automotive PLC

9

AAPL APPLE INC

8

ORCL Oracle Corp

7

LMCA LIBERTY MEDIA CORP NEW

7

C CITIGROUP INC

7

LOW LOWES COS INC

7

PEP PEPSICO INC

7

MSFT MICROSOFT CORP

7

V Visa Inc-Class A Shares

6

LVLT LEVEL 3 COMMUNICATIONS INC

6

INTC Intel Corporation

6

SYY SYSCO CORP

 

Stocks that have the most owners at the end of the fourth quarter:

Owned Ticker Name

22

GOOG GOOGLE INC.

21

MSFT MICROSOFT CORP

17

AAPL APPLE INC

14

CSCO CISCO SYS INC COM

14

WMT WAL-MART STORES INC

14

WFC WELLS FARGO & CO NEW

13

JNJ JOHNSON & JOHNSON

12

ORCL Oracle Corp

12

C CITIGROUP INC

12

MA Mastercard Inc – Class A

11

BAC BANK OF AMERICA CORP

11

BRK.B BERKSHIRE HATHAWAY INC-CL B

11

BRK.A BERKSHIRE HATHAWAY INC-CL A

 

Stocks with the most selling out entirely (including M&A-related):

Sold Ticker Name

6

EXPE Expedia Inc.

6

LVLT Level 3 Communications

5

C CITIGROUP INC

5

SINA SINA CORP

5

Acquired NALCO HOLDING COMPANY

4

EBAY EBAY INC

4

CVI CVR Energy Inc

4

CCE COCA COLA ENTERPRISES INC NE

3

LINTA LIBERTY INTERACTIVE CORP-A

3

CVS CVS CAREMARK CORPORATION

3

AMZN AMAZON COM INC

3

VIAB Viacom Inc Cl B

3

EXC Exelon Corp

3

DVN DEVON ENERGY CORPORATION

3

COV COVIDIEN PLC

3

XOM EXXON MOBIL CORP

3

MOS The Mosaic Company

3

RL RALPH LAUREN CORP

3

IRM IRON MTN INC

3

HFC HOLLYFRONTIER CORP

3

GR GOODRICH CORP

3

CTXS CITRIX SYS INC

3

Acquired CEPHALON INC

3

ELNK EARTHLINK INC

3

TIN TEMPLE INLAND INC

 

Stocks with the most decreases in positions (including selling out in entire):

Decreased Ticker Name

12

MSFT MICROSOFT CORP

10

WFC WELLS FARGO & CO NEW

10

C CITIGROUP INC

8

BAC BANK OF AMERICA CORP

8

PFE PFIZER INC

8

EBAY EBAY INC

8

NWSA NEWS CORP

8

LINTA LIBERTY INTERACTIVE CORP-A

7

AAPL APPLE INC

7

CSCO CISCO SYS INC COM

7

WMT WAL-MART STORES INC

7

BRK.B BERKSHIRE HATHAWAY INC-CL B

7

CVS CVS CAREMARK CORPORATION

7

DELL Dell Inc

7

AON AON CORP

7

AMZN AMAZON COM INC

7

EXPE Expedia Inc.

 

With a few exceptions, the above reads like lists of common large cap stocks, with a few midcaps thrown in.  It doesn’t look that much different when the lists are done by dollar amount of change.  But what if we

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