Ken Fisher is the author of seven money management books, three of which are New York Times bestsellers. He's been writing the Portfolio Strategy column for Forbes for over 26 years, and he's the fourth-longest running columnist in Forbes' history. He's currently ranked #252 on the 2010 Forbes 400 list of richest Americans. He founded private investment firm Fisher Investments in 1979. As of Sept. 30, 2010, funds there were valued at more than $31 Billion. He is also one of Insider Monkey's favorite fund managers.
In 2010, Forbes published an accounting of Fisher’s stock picks made in his columns over the preceding 14 years. His stock picks beat the S&P 500 overall on average. Ken Fisher's picks lagged the S&P 500 in just three years within the last 14 years. His picks in 2009 outperformed the S&P 500 index by 24 percentage points. The outperformance in 2010 was 5 percentage points.
Fisher Asset Management holds at least 562 different securities in its portfolio. It wouldn’t be practical to imitate all of these transactions, but one can approximate his return by monkeying his top ten positions reported on Form 13F. At the end of 2010, Fisher Investments had almost same number of securities as it did three months prior. Here is how his top 10 positions performed during the past four months:
1- iShares MSCI Emerging Mkt (EEM): EEM was Fisher's biggest investment at the end of 2010. Fisher Asset Management had $991 Million worth of EEM shares, which gained 1.3% since the end of September, underperforming the SPY’s 13.1% return.
2- Occidental Petroleum Corp (OXY): Fisher's second favorite investment at the end of last quarter was OXY. He had 8.1 million OXY shares, valued at $800 million at the end of 2010. The stock gained nearly 20% in the last four months, beating the SPY by 6.7 percentage points.
3- Siemens AG (SI): Fisher Asset Management held 6.2 Million SI shares on December 31st 2010, almost unchanged since the end of September. Siemens gained 20.8% since then, outperforming the SPY by 6.7 percentage points.
4- Freeport-McMoran Copper (FCX): Fisher Asset Management had $763 Million in FCX shares at the end of December. These shares gained 24.3% during the last four months, once again beating the SPY. Jim Rogers is also extremely bullish about commodities.
5- BASF (OTCQX:BASFY): Fisher’s $761 Million investment in BASFY returned 20.5% since the end of September. Fisher Asset Management holds almost the same number of stocks as it did in September 2010.
6- Anadarko Petroleum Corp (APC): APC was one of Fisher’s biggest investments in the last quarter of 2010. The firm owned nearly 9.5 million shares of APC. This pick returned 30% in last four months, beating the market by a large margin. Anadarko is one of hedge funds’ favorite stocks. It's owned by 77 hedge funds. Legendary oil investor T. Boone Pickens has some Anadarko shares in his hedge fund too.
7- Schlumberger Ltd (SLB): This stock is one of Ken Fisher’s best picks. It returned 40.7% since the end of September. Fisher had $667 Million invested. T. Boone Pickens has positions in this stock too.
8- Caterpillar Inc (CAT): This is another stock with 20%+ returns during the past four months. CAT gained 21.6% in four months, beating the SPY by 8.5 percentage points.
9- Oracle Corp (ORCL): Oracle gained 19.2% since the end of September, beating the market like most of Fisher’s top holdings. Brevan Howard and Lee Ainslie’s Maverick Capital are among the hedge funds with significant Oracle positions.
10- BHP Billiton Ltd (BHP): The BHP investment returned 14.3% since September, which is slightly better than the S&P 500 index.
Ken Fisher seemed to have taken advantage of the Gulf Oil spill. He invested in some beaten down oil stocks. He also has picks from several other industries, forming a diverse portfolio. Nine of Ken Fisher’s top 10 picks managed to beat the market. The average weighted return over the past four months of these stocks is 19.8%, vs. 13.1% return for the SPY. Considering these are all large cap stocks and the outperformance wasn’t due to a single investment, outsiders should dig deeper into monkeying Ken Fisher’s top holdings.
Disclosure: I am long SPY.