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Hedge fund manager Manikay Partners’ portfolio reveals that the firm has been favoring healthcare, while dumping financials. Over the first quarter of 2009, Manikay purchased approximately $70million in healthcare stocks, while selling over $40 million in financial companies.

Manikay Partners was founded in 2008 by Managing Partner Shane Finemore with backing from Goldman Sachs (NYSE:GS). Prior to founding the firm, Mr. Finemore was in charge of the fundamental investment group in UBS’s investment banking division. Manikay employs an opportunistic investment strategy that has a global long-bias. An analysis of the firm’s recent US portfolio holding reveals that the firm is an active trader as 17 out its total 23 holdings were purchased over Q1 2009, while 13 positions were completely sold.

Overall the firm held 36% of its $225 million in US equity assets under management in healthcares companies. The hedge fund manager preferred large-cap healthcare stocks and CV Therapeutics Inc (CVTX) was its only biotech position. As of 3/31/09, Manikay’s top healthcare positions included:

  • Wyeth (WYE) - $30.0mm, 696,800 shares, 0.1% held, change $30.0mm
  • CV Therapeutics Inc (CVTX) - $17.9mm, 900,000 shares, 1.5% held, change $17.9mm
  • Johnson & Johnson (NYSE:JNJ) - $13.2mm, 250,000 shares, 0.0% held, change $2.4mm
  • Schering Plough Corp (SGP) - $13.0mm, 551,000 shares, 0.0% held, change $13.0mm
  • Pfizer Inc (NYSE:PFE) - $6.8mm, 500,000 shares, 0.0% held, change $5.7mm

Meanwhile, Manikay Partners turned negative on financial stocks, selling completely out of all of its positions, except for 500,000 shares in asset manager Legg Mason Inc (NYSE:LM) and a new 20,000 share position in insurance company Aspen Insurance Holdings Limited (NYSE:AHL). The largest financials sells over Q1 2009 included:

  • SPDR Financial Sector (NYSEARCA:XLF) - change -1,000,000 shares / -$12.5mm
  • Wells Fargo & Co (NYSE:WFC) - change -398,557 shares / -$11.7mm
  • CIT Group Inc (NYSE:CIT) - change -1,699,700 shares, / -$7.7mm
  • Legg Mason Inc (LM) - change -125,000 shares / -$5.7mm
  • NYSE Euronext (NYSE:NYX) - change -78,500 shares / -$2.1mm

Excluding its healthcare sector positions, the firm’s top overall holdings included:

  • Rohm & Haas Co (ROH) - $33.5mm, 425,000 shares, 0.2% held, change $21.1mm, Basic Materials Sector
  • Molson Coors Brewing Company (NYSE:TAP) - $11.1mm, 325,000 shares, 0.2% held, change $11.1mm, Consumer Staples Sector
  • Coca Cola Co (NYSE:KO) - $10.5mm, 238,500 shares, 0.0% held, change $1.9mm, Consumer Staples Sector
  • Petro-Canada (USA) (PCZ) - $10.0mm, 375,000 shares, 0.1% held, change $10.0mm, Energy Sector
  • Noble Corp (NYSE:NE) - $9.6mm, 400,000 shares, 0.1% held, change $9.6mm, Energy Sector

Disclosure: Long PFE, KO