Q1 13F Filings of Bruce Berkowitz, Mohnish Pabrai and Bob Rodriguez

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 |  Includes: AXP, CNQ, CRESY, HTZ, JOE, SHLD, SPR, WFC, ZINCQ
by: Davy Bui

Continuing the theme I discussed yesterday with Seth Klarman and Meryl Witmer's filings, Bruce Berkowitz's Fairholme Capital was strangely subdued (here's the spreadsheet) despite the early March market plunge:

  • As with Klarman and Witmer, no new positions added (according to the 13F -- remember, incomplete information) despite new bear market lows. Instead, it seemed Berkowitz was focusing on building existing positions, especially American Express (NYSE:AXP). A good move on his part thus far as the stock has more than doubled since Berkowitz increased his stake by 76%. Other sizable buying included Florida real estate play St Joe (NYSE:JOE), hedge fund retailer Sears Holdings (NASDAQ:SHLD), aerospace manufacturer Spirit Aerosystems (NYSE:SPR) and rental company Hertz Global (NYSE:HTZ).
  • Fairholme liquidated a few small positions and reduced a wide range of holdings, perhaps to raise cash for their best ideas and meet redemptions. The only notable sell-off was Canadian Natural Resources (NYSE:CNQ), reduced 88% even though they were adding to it in Q4.

Mohnish Pabrai's rocky performance has been well-documented but a quick glance at his 13F spreadsheet suggests recent portfolio moves have been kind to him as financials and base metal miners have moved up fast in the last few weeks:

  • Not to harp on the point but Pabrai continues the trend of pro value investors who took the recent March lows to augment existing stakes as opposed to buying new stocks. Whether this is due to the bear market getting long in the tooth or money being pulled from the funds, it is interesting to observe how the managers are behaving. In Pabrai's case, the only new position added was Wells Fargo (NYSE:WFC), which continues what I perceive to be his recent coat-tailing streak. In this case, he picked the biggest coat tails of them all by piggybacking Warren Buffett.
  • Pabrai made big adds in Berkshire Hathaway (NYSE:BRK.A), which sold off to new lows during the quarter. Since Pabrai has stated in the past that he views Berkshire as a place to safely park cash, something akin to a low-risk cash equivalent, it is difficult to discern whether this was an offensive or defensive move or even both, which is ideal.
  • In a decidedly offensive move, Pabrai put another big bet down on Cresud SA (NASDAQ:CRESY), the Argentinian agriculture and real estate play. I have kept half an eye on this stock for years but the current Kirschner regime in Argentina seems to inch ever closer to socialism (not "Obama" socialism, mind you, but real socialism). Pabrai famously ignores macro considerations in his investments but those factors would seem to be a primary concern in a stock like Cresud.
  • No big sell moves other than what appears to be profit-taking in Sears Holdings and Horsehead Holdings (ZINC), the zinc mining company.

Finally, investors comb through 13F filings to get stock ideas from professional money managers but perhaps the best idea comes from FPA's Robert Rodriguez, who announced that he will be taking a year off come January 2010. After decades of following the markets non-stop, Rodriguez has decided to find out if there might be more to life than ticker symbols and intrinsic value. Any market junkie has to guard against burnout and at the end of the day, each of us only get one life. Instead of me commenting on his filing, why not let the man speak for himself? Readers can examine the spreadsheet for themselves. Here's an interview with Investor's Business Daily where Rodriguez talks about his upcoming vacation, his reduced role, last year's performance and a few stocks.

You can view other managers' 13F holdings spreadsheets here.

Disclosure: no positions