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By Aubrey Tabuga

Ray Dalio's Bridgewater Associates has approximately $7.435 billion of assets under management in the latest quarter. The hedge fund manager has ranked in the previous 2 years as the largest and best-performing hedge fund manager in the world. Its 1,200-strong work force had generated $122 billion worth of assets under management by 2011. Its investment strategy is much like Soros' global macro style. The manager believes that the financial system plays a key role in macroeconomics.

In the latest quarter, the hedge fund made 95 new stock purchases and sold 52 out. I discuss the biggest buys of Bridgewater Associates in this article. They are BCE Inc. (NYSE:BCE), Dollar Tree Inc. (DLTR), Nucor Corporation (NUE), Microchip Technology Incorporated (MCHP), and Rogers Communications Inc. (RCI). I briefly show the past trading activities of the hedge fund with respect to these stocks and the stock's most recent performance and margins.

Shares Held

Market Value

% of Portfolio

Change in Shares

% Change

Profit Margin

EPS Growth (next 5 years)

BCE Inc.

436,937

$19,199,011

0.26%

436,937

New

14.10%

3.15%

Dollar Tree Inc.

150,146

$7,250,550

0.10%

150,146

New

7.57%

17.45%

Nucor Corporation

329,712

$12,614,781

0.17%

329,712

New

2.98%

5.50%

Microchip Technology Incorporated

422,376

$13,828,591

0.19%

422,376

New

15.37%

8.70%

Rogers Communications Inc.

289,700

$11,703,880

0.16%

289,700

New

12.34%

8.27%

Sources: whalewisdom.com & finviz.com

BCE Inc.

BCE Inc. is a provider of communications and television services to Canadian customers. It operates under the brands Bell TV, Bell Home Phone, and Bell Fibe TV. The Verdun-based company has over 55,000 employees. Its third-quarter earnings of 76 Canadian cents per share slightly missed the estimate of 78 cents. Nonetheless, the company has met expectations with its $5.06 billion revenue. Last month, BCE's Bell was one of the World's Greenest Companies. It is the only Canadian company that made it in such a prestigious list.

Bridgewater bought 426, 937 shares of BCE in the third quarter; this is equivalent to 0.26% of its total holdings. The purchase's value was $19 million. This amount represents the highest investment so far that the fund manager had poured in BCE in at least within the last 9 quarters. It is noted that Bridgewater had sold all its previous holdings of the company in the first quarter of the current year. BCE's profitability is impressive with a margin of 14.10%. Finviz.com shows the long-term annual growth estimate of 3.15%. The P/E ratio is currently at 13.69, a bit lower than its forward P/E of 13.18. It is top dividend stock of Bridgewater with a yield of 5.37%. The stock has inched up in the year by about 5%.

Dollar Tree Inc.

Dollar Tree Inc. is an operator of discount variety stores, which offer products at a fixed price of $1.00. The company operates in the U.S. and Canada under the brands Dollar Tree, Deal$, and Dollar Bills. The company is soon to report its third-quarter earnings. A report shows that the company expects to beat analyst estimates for the third straight time. Bridgewater initiated a position in the company yet again. The purchase has amounted to $7.25 million and represents 0.10% of the hedge fund's total portfolio. The company has been a constant item in the 13F Filing of the hedge fund. Bridgewater had sold it out a couple of times in the last two years.

Currently, the stock is at a downward trend losing 9.26% compared with that of the previous year. However, current estimates show that earnings are likely to grow within the next 5 years at a remarkable rate of 17.45% per year. The company's sales had been growing in the previous 5 years at 10.81% per year. The company's forward P/E is 13.37, which is significantly lower than the current ratio at 16.83. Meanwhile, its profit margin is 7.57%.

Nucor Corporation

Nucor Corporation is a manufacturer and seller of steel and steel products in the U.S., Canada, and other countries. Its business lines are Steel Mills, Steel Products, and Raw Materials. The Charlotte-based steelmaker has recently entered into an agreement with Canada's Encana Oil & Gas for the development of onshore natural gas drilling program in the U.S. This program aims to develop a reliable and low-cost supply of fuel in the next 20 years.

Dalio's team has poured a significant 0.17% of its total portfolio on Nucor. Whalewisdom.com reported that the purchase has amounted to $12.624 million. This amount is about 10 times the position it opened in the first quarter of 2012, which it later sold in the quarter that followed.

The stock's performance had grown by 4.29% from last year. Its forward P/E ratio is 13.47, which is much lower than the current ratio of 25.4. The company's EPS of $1.58 is expected to jump to $2.98 next year. Nucor's sales had been growing on the average 6.30% each year within the previous 5 years. It also has a respectable dividend yield of 3.64%.

Microchip Technology Incorporated

Microchip Technology Incorporated is a semiconductor company based in Chandler, Arizona. The company has just signed a definitive agreement in the second quarter of 2012 to acquire Standard Microsystems Corporation. It is also said to make a remarkable move into mobile devices with a new technology to allow for interpretation of gestures. Ray Dalio has just bought MCHP shares amounting to $13.828 million at the end of the third quarter. The last time the company appeared on its 13F Filing was in the last quarter of 2011 where it sold all its holdings. The previous trading activities of Bridgewater on the company were all valued above $10 million.

Estimates at finviz.com show that Microchip's EPS will grow in the next 5 years at a decent annual rate of 8.70%. Its profit margin is above the 10 percent mark at 15.37%. MCHP's forward P/E is at 14.08, much lower than the prevailing one at 28.7. The stock, however, is currently sliding. In fact, it has lost 15.20% from last year.

Rogers Communications Inc.

Rogers Communications Inc. is another communications company that Bridgewater has favored in the latest quarter. The Toronto-based company operates wireless, cable and media segments. The company will soon deliver a world-leading internet experience through increasing speeds to 150 Mbps across its internet tiers. To date, this will be Rogers' fastest internet speed.

The hedge fund initiated a large position in the company in the latest quarter. The purchase was worth $11.7 million and was equivalent to 0.16% of the fund's total holdings. Aside from this, the most recent activity of Bridgewater in the company was that in the first quarter where it sold all its 275,200 shares. This third quarter investment was by far the largest within at least the previous two years.

The stock performance is on the rise. Compared with last year, the stock has grown by 16.40%. Its profitability makes it an attractive portfolio addition with a margin of 12.34%. The long-term annual growth of the EPS is 8.27% within the next 5 years. The P/E ratio is 14.98 while the forward ratio is 12.7. The stock is also one of Bridgewater's top dividend stocks with a yield of 3.67%.

Source: 5 Big Buys By Ray Dalio