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Goldman Sachs group manages over $100 bn in equities primarily through its asset management subsidiary Goldman Sachs Asset Management. The firm manages the Goldman Sachs series of funds apart from other series of mutual funds and caters to individuals and institutions.

Investment Strategy: Goldman Sachs Asset Management (US) employs various investment styles including growth, value and international strategies. The firm diversifies portfolios across all market-caps, geographic location and industries. Goldman Sachs Asset Management utilizes fundamental analysis in allocating assets and selecting stocks. For the value investments, the firm invests in quality companies selling at an attractive valuation. Goldman Sachs Asset Management seeks businesses with sustainable operating fundamentals, competitive advantage, strong cash flow and balance sheets, ability to earn above their cost of capital and excellent stewardship of capital. The growth portfolios invests in high quality companies that exhibits strong business franchise, experienced management team, sustainable competitive advantage and favourable long-term prospects.

The following is a list of its top 15 buys in the last quarter, as released in its most recent 13F filing with the SEC.

Stock

Symbol

Shares Held - 12/31/2010

Shares Held - 03/31/2011

Devon Energy Corporation

DVN

1,572,249

9,212,314

Google Inc

GOOG

1,955,469

2,678,256

ConocoPhillips

COP

5,015,433

10,075,683

NetApp Inc

NTAP

5,753,088

12,512,519

Cliffs Natural Resources Inc.

CLF

1,112,712

2,706,172

Boston Scientific Corporation

BSX

15,271,929

47,480,170

American Express Company

AXP

2,854,284

7,838,179

Valero Energy Corp

VLO

7,097,180

14,414,279

Praxair Inc

PX

3,304,442

5,421,365

Hess Corporation

HES

1,026,434

3,153,878

Hasbro Inc

HAS

1,563,568

5,387,881

CIT Group Inc

CIT

2,041,380

6,214,231

Scripps Networks Interactive Inc

SNI

133,875

3,625,869

Pioneer Natural Resources Co

PXD

157,510

1,807,840

BP Plc

BP

4,724,171

8,344,223

Here are some of the specifics about these companies, including a brief description of their business, growth expectations (top line and bottom line) and valuation:

Devon Energy Corporation

Goldman Sachs bought 7,640,065 shares of Devon Energy Corporation last quarter and now holds a total of 9,212,314 shares. This position is 0.57% of its portfolio. The share price of the company has increased from $ 78.51 on 31 December 2010 to $91.77 on 31 March.

Devon Energy Corporation is an independent energy company engaged in exploration, development and production of natural gas and oil. The company's operations are concentrated in various North American onshore areas in the United States and Canada. It also has offshore operations located in Brazil and Angola. Devon manages its North American onshore operations through six segments. Devon’s EPS forecast for the current year is $6.43 and next year is $7.97. According to consensus estimates, its top line is expected to decline 0.50% in the current year and grow 17.10% next year. It is trading at a forward P/E of 10.46. Out of 32 analysts covering the company, 18 are positive and have buy ratings and 14 have hold ratings.

Google Inc.

Goldman Sachs bought 722,787 shares of Google Inc. last quarter and now holds a total of 2,678,256 shares. This position is 1.06% of its portfolio. The share price of the company has decreased from $593.97 on 31 December 2010 to $586.76 on 31 March.

Google Inc. is focused on improving the ways people connect with information. The company generates revenue primarily by delivering online advertising. The company focuses on areas such as search, advertising, operating systems and platforms, and enterprise. Google’s EPS forecast for the current year is $29.6 and next year is $33.92. According to consensus estimates, its top line is expected to grow 25.80% in the current year and 20.50% next year. It is trading at a forward P/E of 15.28. Out of 40 analysts covering the company, 35 are positive and have buy ratings and five have hold ratings.

ConocoPhillips

Goldman Sachs bought 5,060,250 shares of ConocoPhillips last quarter and now holds a total of 10,075,683 shares. This position is 0.54% of its portfolio. The share price of the company has increased from $68.1 on 31 December 2010 to $79.86 on 31 March.

ConocoPhillips is an international, integrated energy company. The company operates in six segments: Exploration and Production, which explores for, produces, transports and markets crude oil, bitumen, natural gas, liquefied natural gas and natural gas liquids on a worldwide basis. ConocoPhillips’ EPS forecast for the current year is $8.24 and for the next year is $8.95. According to consensus estimates, its top line is expected to decline 22.50% in the current year and grow 2.50% next year. It is trading at a forward P/E of 8.12. Out of 22 analysts covering the company, nine are positive and have buy ratings, 10 have hold ratings and three have sell ratings.

NetApp Inc.

Goldman Sachs bought 6,759,431 shares of NetApp Inc. last quarter and now holds a total of 12,512,519 shares. This position is 0.41% of its portfolio. The share price of the company has decreased from $54.96 on 31 December 2010 to $48.15 on 31 March.

NetApp, Inc is a provider of storage and data management solutions. The company offers solutions for storing, managing, protecting and archiving business data. NetApp’s EPS forecast for the current year is $2.47 and next year is $2.84. According to consensus estimates, its top line is expected to grow 29.70% in the current year and 14.60% next year. It is trading at a forward P/E of 19.48. Out of 37 analysts covering the company, 19 are positive and have buy ratings, 17 have hold ratings and one has a sell rating.

Cliffs Natural Resources Inc.

Goldman Sachs bought 1,593, 460 shares of Cliffs Natural Resources Inc. last quarter and now holds a total of 2,706,172 shares. This position is 0.18% of its portfolio. The share price of the company has increased from $78.01 on 31 December 2010 to $98.28 on 31 March.

Cliffs Natural Resources Inc. is an international mining and natural resources company. Cliffs’ EPS forecast for the current year is $13.60 and for the next year is $14.01. According to consensus estimates, its top line is expected to grow 44.40% in the current year and 8.90% in the next year. It is trading at a forward P/E of 6.47. Out of 12 analysts covering the company, nine are positive and have buy ratings and three have hold ratings.

Boston Scientific Corporation

Goldman Sachs bought 32,208,241 shares of Boston Scientific Corporation last quarter and now holds a total of 47,480,170 shares in the company. This position is 0.23% of its portfolio. The share price of the company has decreased from $7.57 on 31 December 2010 to $7.19 on 31 March 2011.

Boston Scientific Corporation is a worldwide developer, manufacturer and marketer of medical devices that are used in a range of interventional medical specialties. During the year ended December 31, 2010, the Company’s products were offered for sale by seven business groups: CRM, Cardiovascular, including International Cardiology and Peripheral Interventions businesses; Electrophysiology; Endoscopy; Urology/Women’s Health; Neuromodulation, and Neurovascular. Boston’s EPS forecast for the current year is $0.39 and for the next year is $0.46. According to consensus estimates, its top line is expected to decline 1.10% in the current year and 1.60% next year. It is trading at a forward P/E of 15.30. Out of 27 analysts covering the company, five are positive and have buy ratings, 20 have hold ratings and two have sell ratings.

American Express Company

Goldman Sachs bought 4,983,895 shares of American Express Company last quarter and now holds a total of 7,838,179 shares in the company. This position is 0.24% of its portfolio. The share price of the company has increased from $42.92 on 31 December 2010 to $45.2 on 31 March.

American Express Company is a bank holding company. Its principal products and services are charge and credit payment card products and travel-related services offered to consumers and businesses. American Express has four segments: U.S. Card Services, International Card Services, Global Commercial Services, and Global Network & Merchant Service. American Express’ EPS forecast for the current year is $3.82 and for the next year is $4.15. According to consensus estimates, its top line is expected to grow 6.30% in the current year and 7.30% in the next year. It is trading at a forward P/E of 12.32. Out of 23 analysts covering the stock, 16 are positive and have buy ratings, five have hold ratings and two have sell ratings.

Valero Energy Corp.

Goldman Sachs bought 7,317,099 shares of Valero Energy Corp. last quarter and now holds a total of 14,414,279 shares in the company. This position is 0.29% of its portfolio. The share price of the company has increased from $23.12 on 31 December 2010 to $29.82 on 31 March.

Valero Energy Corporation, incorporated in 1981, is a North America’s independent petroleum refiner and marketer. As of December 31, 2010, it owned 14 petroleum refineries, which were located in the United States, Canada and Aruba. Valero’s EPS forecast for the current year is $3.48 and for the next year is $3.75. According to consensus estimates, its top line is expected to grow 29.40% in the current year and 2.90% in the next year. It is trading at a forward P/E of 7.18. Out of 24 analysts covering the company, 14 are positive and have buy ratings, nine have hold ratings and one has a sell rating.

Praxair Inc.

Goldman Sachs bought 2,116,923 shares of Praxair Inc. last quarter and now holds a total of 5,421,365 shares. This position is 0.37% of its portfolio. The share price of the company has increased from $95.47 on 31 December 2010 to $101.6 on 31 March.

Praxair, Inc. is an industrial gas supplier in North and South America. Praxair’s primary products for its industrial gases business are atmospheric gases and process gases. Praxair’s EPS forecast for the current year is $5.46 and next year is $6.25. According to consensus estimates, its top line is expected to grow 10.40% in the current year and 9.30% next year. It is trading at a forward P/E of 16.80. Out of 21 analysts covering the company, 12 are positive and have buy ratings, eight have hold ratings and one has a sell rating.

Hess Corporation

Goldman Sachs bought 2,127,444 shares of Hess Corporation last quarter and now holds a total of 3,153,878 shares. This position is 0.18% of its portfolio. The share price of the company has increased from $76.54 on 31 December 2010 to $85.21 on 31 March.

Hess Corporation is a global integrated energy company that operates in two segments: Exploration and Production, and Marketing and Refining. The E&P segment explores for, develops, produces purchases, transports and sells crude oil and natural gas. Hess’ EPS forecast for the current year is $7.61 and next year is $8.31. According to consensus estimates, its top line is expected to grow 15.20% in the current year and 3.60% next year. It is trading at a forward P/E of 9.46. Out of 18 analysts covering the company, 12 are positive and have buy ratings, five have hold ratings and one has a sell rating.

Hasbro Inc.

Goldman Sachs bought 3,824,313 shares of Hasbro Inc. last quarter and now holds a total of 5,387,881 shares in the company. This position is 0.17% of its portfolio. The share price of the company has decreased from $47.18 on 31 December 2010 to $46.84 on 31 March.

Hasbro, Inc. is engaged in providing children’s and family leisure time products and services with a portfolio of brands and entertainment properties. Its offerings include a range of games, including board, card, hand-held electronic, trading card, role-playing and DVD games, as well as electronic learning aids and puzzles. Hasbro’s EPS forecast for the current year is $3.07 and next year is $3.55. According to consensus estimates, its top line is expected to grow 10.10% in the current year and 5.50% next year. It is trading at a forward P/E of 12.82. Out of 17 analysts covering the company, 11 are positive and have buy ratings and six have hold ratings.

CIT Group Inc.

Goldman Sachs bought 4,172,851 shares of CIT Group Inc. last quarter and now holds a total of 6,214,231 shares in the company. This position is 0.18% of its portfolio. This is a new position for the fund and is 0.79% of its portfolio. The share price of the company has decreased from $47.1 on 31 December 2010 to $42.55 on 31 March.

CIT Group Inc. is a bank holding company, which provides commercial financing and leasing products, and management advisory services to clients in a variety of industries. CIT’s EPS forecast for the current year is $0.35 and next year is $1.45. According to consensus estimates, its top line is expected to decline 154.40% in the current year and 30.40% next year. It is trading at a forward P/E of 30.21. Out of 15 analysts covering the company, five are positive and have buy ratings and 10 have hold ratings.

Scripps Networks Interactive Inc.

Goldman Sachs bought 3,491,994 shares Scripps Networks Interactive Inc. last quarter and now holds a total of 3,625,869 shares in the company. This position is 0.12% of its portfolio. The share price of the company has decreased from $51.75 on 31 December 2010 to $50.09 on 31 March.

Scripps Networks Interactive, Inc. is a lifestyle content and interactive services company with television and interactive brands. SNI manages its operations through two operating segments: Lifestyle Media and Interactive Services. Lifestyle Media includes Home and Garden Television, Food Network, Travel Channel, DIY Network, Cooking Channel and Great American Country. SNI’s EPS forecast for the current year is $2.74 and next year is $3.11. According to consensus estimates, its top line is expected to grow 5.00% in the current year and 8.50% next year. It is trading at a forward P/E of 16.14. Out of 21 analysts covering the company, 11 are positive and have buy ratings, nine have hold ratings and one has a sell rating.

Pioneer Natural Resources Co.

Goldman Sachs bought 1,650,330 shares of Pioneer Natural Resources Co. last quarter and now holds a total of 1,807,840 shares in the company. This position is 0.12% of its portfolio. The share price of the company has increased from $86.82 on 31 December 2010 to $101.92 on 31 March.

Pioneer Natural Resources Company is a holding company. It is an independent oil and gas exploration and production company with existing operations in the United States and South Africa. Pioneer’s EPS forecast for the current year is $3.64 and next year is $5.27. According to consensus estimates, its top line is expected to grow 38.40% in the current year and 28.80% next year. It is trading at a forward P/E of 17.29. Out of 29 analysts covering the company, 20 are positive and have buy ratings and nine have hold ratings.

BP Plc

Goldman Sachs bought 3,620,052 shares of BP Plc. last quarter and now holds a total of 8,344,223 shares in the company. This position is 0.25% of its portfolio. The share price of the company has decreased from $465.55 on 31 December 2010 to $454 on 31 March.

BP Plc is an international oil and gas company. It operates in more than 80 countries, providing its customers with fuel for transportation, energy for heat and light, retail services and petrochemicals products. The Company operates two segments: Exploration and Production, and Refining and Marketing. BP’s EPS forecast for the current year is $6.74 and for the next year is $6.91. According to consensus estimates, its top line is expected to decline 22.10% in the current year and grow 7.00% in the next year. It is trading at a forward P/E of 67.87. Out of 12 analysts tracking the stock, nine are positive and have buy ratings and three have hold ratings.

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

Source: Goldman Sachs' Top 15 Buys