Whitney Tilson's 17 Newest Stock Picks From February: Part 2

by: Investment Underground

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Wesco Financial Corp. (NYSEMKT:WSC): The diversified financial corporation chaired by Charlie Munger is based in Pasadena, California and does business in insurance, furniture rental, and steel service. In February, Berkshire Hathaway (NYSE:BRK.A) agreed to acquired the remaining 19.9% of Wesco it does not already own. Warren Buffet publicly stated that prospects for Berkshire shares over the next 10 year are "considerably better" than prospects for Wesco’s shares; we don’t know whether that’s a comment on a perceived weakness of Wesco’s or Berkshire’s strength, but we’ll side with the latter. Wesco’s shares trade at $388.97 at the time of this writing with a .4% yield and an EPS of 10.2.

The Howard Hughes Corp. (NYSE:HHC): This Las Vegas based real estate development and management company has had quite the year. After it’s IPO in November, its stock price hit $69.01 at the time this article was written, and has increased over 27% since the New Year alone. The company arose in 2010 from the bankruptcy restructuring of shopping mall developer General Growth Properties ((GGPs)) and oversees many of GGPs non-retail assets. The Howard Hughes Corp. may only be trading at a fraction of its potential value and is a strong buy.

LECG Corp. (OTCPK:XPRT): This firm provided expert testimony to clients in fields such as competition and antitrust, intellectual property, labor and employment, and mergers and acquisitions, but is now undergoing a fire sale to pay down $27.8 million in debt. The firm inherited $32.4 million in debt from its merger with Smart Business Advisory and Consulting when it made the acquisition last year, and defaulted on existing debt early this year. Tilson betted the default was a short-term issue that LECG could recover from. Instead, LECG announced a "plan of liquidation" and Tilson sold all remaining shares at a loss.

Maxygen Inc. (NASDAQ:MAXY): This company develops protein compounds for pharmaceuticals that treat autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis. Perseid Therapeutics announced its acquisition of Maxygen for $76 million in mid-March, upon which Maxygen stock prices soared nearly 34%. By the end of the day, Maxygen’s price lowered to $5.09, a 25% increase overall. Tilson found a winner with this one.

Wilmington Trust Corp. (NYSE:WL): Delaware-based Wilmington Trust Corporation owns Wilmington Trust Company, which operates local bank branches in Delaware. The company was in dire straits, as it posted a net loss of $720 million for 2010 and carried a $330 million bailout from the Federal Reserve. Wilmington was hard hit by the housing market collapse of 2008, and only highlights the trouble local banks are going through. M&T Bank (NYSE:MTB) acquired Wilmington for $351 million in stock in March. Shares are listed at $4.52 with an EPS of -8.45 at the time of this writing.

Iridium Communications Inc Warrants (NASDAQ:IRDM): This company spun off from Motorola (MOT) in the 90’s and provides mobile voice and data communications via satellite. The U.S. government and various foreign governments utilize Iridium’s service and 60+ satellites, and Iridium plans to move into China, India, and Russia this year. With a subscriber base that grew 60% year-over-year in 2010 and an expected subscriber base growth of 20% in 2011, this looks like a strong pick for the future. The stock trades at $1.50 per share.

Atlas Energy Inc. (NYSE:ATLS): This natural gas company was acquired by Chevron (NYSE:CVX) in mid February for $4.3 billion in stock, cash and debt, and had plenty of short-term interest because of a potential bidding war between Chevron and Reliance Industries. The acquisition plays into Chevron’s vision of natural gas playing an important part in future energy supplies. Chevron expects natural gas to represent 41% of total volumes by 2017, up from the current share of 31%.

JP Morgan Chase & Co. (NYSE:JPM): One of the largest financials services firms in the U.S., JPMorgan Chase’s subsidiaries include the JPMorgan Private Bank and institutional investment manager JPMorgan Asset Management. At the time of this writing, the JP Morgan Chase & Co.’s common stock trades at $46.48 per share, while its shares with warrants and of beneficial interests trades at $16.91. With strong leadership from CEO Jamie Dimon, expect revenue and share price to rise.

Promotora de Informaciones S.A. (NYSE:PRIS): The Madrid-based media holding company operates in newspaper and book publishing, radio broadcasting, and pay TV services in Spain and Latin America. Kepler Capital Markets raised the stock’s rating to "buy" from "hold". The stock currently trades at $11.65 per share.

Promotora de Informaciones S.A. Covertible (NYSE:PRIS.B): The Class B stock of this company trades at $11.84 per share at the time of this writing. For a summary on the company, see the Promotora de Informaciones S.A. description above.

Disclosure: I have no positions in any stocks mentioned, and no plans to initiate any positions within the next 72 hours.