By Eric Winter
For the retail investor tracking the holdings of hedge funds, positions held a year or longer by managers can convey a strong sense of support for those companies. Stocks that reside in a portfolio for a longer term have certain holding period benefits that include lower capital gains taxes and an increased opportunity to collect dividend payments. We have taken this information into account and have created a strategy that has returned 37% between September 2012 and March 2013 versus 12.9% for the S&P 500 (see the details here). We create such strategies by sifting through large amounts of hedge fund data for actionable information. With that in mind, let's take a look at some of the best dividend-paying stocks that billionaire David Tepper has held in his portfolio for a year or greater.
Chimera Investment Corp. (CIM) takes the top spot with its 11.4% dividend yield, which is the result of a low price per share ($3.16 as of the time of this writing) and a $0.09 quarterly dividend. Tepper more than doubled his share size going into the second half of 2012 and ended the year with 9mm shares. The securitized asset-focused REIT has roughly matched the market's overall return looking a year back and has a mildly respectable following amongst the funds we track (twenty-two claimed ownership in Q4 2012 despite the small price and $3.3bn market cap). It should be noted that CIM has failed to file any quarterly reports to the SEC for 2012 yet. D. E. Shaw has almost double the amount of shares as Tepper (check out the fund's portfolio here).
Two Harbors Investment Corp (TWO) is another mortgage-focused REIT, which, due to its incorporation and tax structure, pays a considerable amount of earnings out as dividends, similar to CIM. As such, TWO carries a yield of 10.9%. In his fund, Appaloosa Management, Tepper brought down his TWO holdings slightly throughout 2012, holding 2.4mm in Q4 2012 versus 3mm in Q1. However, during that time period, the stock netted the fund a gain of 18.5% in addition to the dividend income. The finance company recently priced a 50mm share secondary offering to earn gross proceeds of over $670mm. Billionaire Steven Cohen of SAC Capital Advisors keeps 4mm shares in his fund (see his other holdings here).
MFA Financial, Inc. (MFA) keeps the mortgage REIT train going by offering the third-highest dividend yield (9.6%) to Tepper's long-term portfolio. MFA is roughly the same size as both CIM and TWO; all three companies hover around the $3.3-3.5bn market cap mark. MFA produced the most outsized gains going back a year, returning 25% to investors who bought in this time in 2012. Tepper unwound his position slightly throughout that year, with his size dropping about 15%. MFA bumped up its quarterly dividend on the 28th of March, increasing it $0.02 to $0.22. Billionaire Ken Griffin of Citadel Investment Group has about $6mm worth of shares versus Tepper's $7mm.
Calumet Specialty Partners (CLMT) takes a step away from the REITS as the only specialty hydrocarbon producer on our list. Similar to MFA, Tepper reduced his position in CLMT gradually throughout 2012, all while the stock posted a 70% gain. Its annual dividend yield of 7% surely augmented the run-up. However, CLMT received lower price target projections from Deutsche Bank last week, factoring in weaker margins that are expected to weigh on near term earnings. Billionaire Jim Simons' Renaissance Technologies has a $4mm investment relative to Tepper's $22mm.
Ford Motor Company (F) takes the last spot on our list with a dividend yield of 3.1%, coming in at less than half of CLMT's. The automaker saw increased interest from the funds we track going into the end of last year, as 58 funds mentioned an F position versus 53 in Q3 2012. As Ford joins General Motors (NYSE:GM) in looking towards China for increased 2013 sales, analysts remain bullish on Ford's stock price, garnering the stock with a one year mean price target that is 17% away from current levels. Wall Street will see if the company can keep up its streak of beating earnings every quarter when Ford announces on the 24th of April. Billionaire Daniel S. Och of OZ Management has a put position in F amounting to nearly $70mm.