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Canyon Capital Advisors LLC is a hedge fund management firm founded by Joshua S. Friedman and Mitchell R. Julis. The firm manages over $10 billion in assets (equity plus fixed income) through the Canyon family of hedge funds, CSOF II Fund (Cayman), Ltd. and the CSOF II Fund, L.P.

Investment Strategy: Canyon Capital Advisors employs a risk averse, event driven and bottom-up research approach in its investment decisions. The firm seeks to achieve superior risk-adjusted returns significantly in excess of, and uncorrelated to, the debt and equity market indices.

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.

Company

Symbol

Shares held 12-31-2010

Shares held 03-31-2011

Yahoo! Inc.

YHOO

0

5,115,119

Marathon Oil Corporation

MRO

0

1,202,784

Bank of America Corporation

BAC

1,471,920

6,043,751

Lowe’s Companies Inc.

LOW

0

2,055,876

HCA Holdings Inc.

HCA

0

1,500,000

Sunoco Inc.

SUN

0

829,836

Dynegy Inc.

DYN

0

5,920,892

NRG Energy, Inc.

NRG

0

1,564,000

El Paso Corp.

EP

0

1,492,855

The Washington Post Company

WPO

0

59,743

Citigroup, Inc.

C

0

5,424,475

MFA Financial, Inc.

MFA

0

2610,000

Apollo Group Inc.

APOL

0

499,592

CVS Caremark Corporation

CVS

0

600,000

Genworth Financial, Inc.

GNW

4,122,800

5,463,428

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:

Yahoo! Inc. (NASDAQ:YHOO)

Canyon bought 5,115,119 shares of Yahoo! Inc. last quarter. This is a new position for the fund and is 5.14% of its portfolio. The share price of the company has increased from $16.63 on December 31, 2010, to $16.68 on March 31, 2011.

Yahoo! Inc. is a digital media company that delivers personalized digital content and experiences, across devices and around the globe. Yahoo’s EPS forecast for the current year is $0.78 and next year is $0.91. According to consensus estimates, its top line is expected to decline 0.80% in the current year and grow 6.00% next year. It is trading at a forward P/E of 17.23. Out of 34 analysts covering the company, 14 are positive and have buy ratings, 19 have hold ratings and one has a sell rating.

Marathon Oil Corporation (NYSE:MRO)

Canyon bought 1,202,784 shares of Marathon Oil Corporation last quarter. This is a new position for the fund and is 3.37% of its portfolio. The share price of the company has increased from $37.03 on December 31, 2010, to $53.31 on March 31, 2011.

Marathon Oil Corporation, through its subsidiaries, operates as an integrated energy company primarily in North America, Africa, and Europe. The company operates in four segments: Exploration and Production; Oil Sands Mining; Integrated Gas; and Refining, Marketing, and Transportation. Marathon’s EPS forecast for the current year is $6.41 and next year is $6.30. According to consensus estimates, its top line is expected to grow 20.70% in the current year and 7.20% next year. It is trading at a forward P/E of 8.22. Out of 22 analysts covering the company, 13 are positive and have buy ratings, 8 have hold ratings and one has a sell rating.

Bank of America Corporation (NYSE:BAC)

Canyon bought 4,571,831 shares of Bank of America Corporation last quarter and now holds a total of 6,043,751 shares. This position is 4.86% of its portfolio. The share price of the company has decreased from $13.34 on December 31, 2010, to $13.33 on March 31.

Bank of America Corporation, a financial holding company, provides banking and non- banking financial services and products to individuals, small- and middle-market businesses, large corporations, and governments in the United States and internationally. Bank of America’s EPS forecast for the current year is $1.06 and next year is $1.71. According to consensus estimates, its top line is expected to decline 4.20% in the current year and grow 5.30% next year. It is trading at a forward P/E of 6.60. Out of 31 analysts covering the company, 17 are positive and have buy ratings and 14 have hold ratings.

Lowe's Companies Inc. (NYSE:LOW)

Canyon bought 2,055,876 shares of Lowe's Companies Inc. last quarter. This is a new position for the fund and is 3.28% of its portfolio. The share price of the company has increased from $25.08 on December 31, 2010, to $26.43 on March 31.

Lowe's Companies Inc., together with its subsidiaries, operates as a home improvement retailer in the United States, Canada, and Mexico. The company offers a range of products for maintenance, repair, remodeling, home decorating, and property maintenance. Lowe's EPS forecast for the current year is $1.64 and next year is $1.91. It is trading at a forward P/E of 12.25. Out of 26 analysts covering the company, 15 are positive and have buy ratings, 10 have hold ratings and one has a sell rating.

HCA Holdings Inc. (NYSE:HCA)

Canyon bought 1,500,000 shares of HCA Holdings Inc. last quarter. This is a new position for the fund and is 3.06% of its portfolio.

HCA Holdings Inc. is a non-governmental hospital operator in the United States and an integrated provider of health care and related services. The company has three business segments: Western Group, Central Group and Eastern Group. The company provides services through a network of acute care hospitals, outpatient facilities, clinics and other patient care delivery settings. HCA’s EPS forecast for the current year is $2.78 and next year is $3.02. According to consensus estimates, its top line is expected to grow 5.30% next year. It is trading at a forward P/E of 11.30. Out of 25 analysts covering the company, 24 are positive and have buy ratings and one has a hold rating.

Sunoco Inc. (NYSE:SUN)

Canyon bought 829,836 shares of Sunoco Inc. last quarter. This is a new position for the fund and is 2.28% of its portfolio. The share price of the company has increased from $40.31 on December 31, 2010, to $45.59 on March 31.

Sunoco Inc., through its subsidiaries, manufactures and markets various petroleum, commodity, and intermediate petrochemicals products in the United States. It operates in five segments: Refining and Supply, Retail Marketing, Chemicals, Logistics, and Coke. Sunoco’s EPS forecast for the current year is $1.01 and next year is $2.36. According to consensus estimates, its top line is expected to grow 1.79 % in the current year and 1.01% next year. It is trading at a forward P/E of 16.90. Out of 16 analysts covering the company, two are positive and have buy ratings, 9 have hold ratings and five have sell ratings.

Dynegy Inc. (NYSE:DYN)

Canyon bought 5,920,892 shares of Dynegy Inc. last quarter. This is a new position for the fund and is 2.03% of its portfolio. The share price of the company has increased from $5.62 on December 31, 2010, to $5.69 on March 31.

Dynegy Inc., through its subsidiaries, engages in the production and sale of electric energy, capacity, and ancillary services in the United States. The company sells electric energy, capacity, and ancillary services on a wholesale basis from its natural gas-fired, coal-fired, and oil-fired power generation facilities. Dynegy’s EPS forecast for the current year is -$1.42 and next year is -$1.43. According to consensus estimates, its top line is expected to decline 8.60% in the current year and grow 5.60% next year. Out of nine analysts covering the company, seven have hold ratings and two have sell ratings.

NRG Energy, Inc. (NYSE:NRG)

Canyon bought 1,564,000 shares of NRG Energy, Inc. last quarter. This is a new position for the fund and is 2.03% of its portfolio. The share price of the company has increased from $19.54 on December 31, 2010, to $21.54 on March 31.

NRG Energy, Inc. is a wholesale power generation company. It is engaged in the ownership, development, construction and operation of power generation facilities; the transacting in and trading of fuel and transportation services; and the trading of energy, capacity and related products in the United States and select international markets. NRG’s EPS forecast for the current year is $0.84 and next year is $0.92. According to consensus estimates, its top line is expected to grow 7.30% in the current year and decline 5.00% next year. It is trading at a forward P/E of 25.96. Out of 15 analysts covering the company, seven are positive and have buy ratings and 8 have hold ratings.

El Paso Corporation (EP)

Canyon bought 1,492,855 shares of El Paso Corporation last quarter. This is a new position for the fund and is 1.62% of its portfolio. The share price of the company has increased from $13.76 on December 31, 2010, to $18.00 on March 31.

El Paso Corporation is an energy company, which operates in the natural gas transmission and exploration and production sectors of the energy industry. It operates in two segments: Pipelines and Exploration and Production. El Paso’s EPS forecast for the current year is $1.11 and next year is $1.34. According to consensus estimates, its top line is expected to grow 6.00% in the current year and 13.90% next year. It is trading at a forward P/E of 15.22. Out of 12 analysts covering the company, 11 are positive and have buy ratings and one has a hold rating.

The Washington Post Company (WPO)

Canyon bought 59,743 shares of The Washington Post Company last quarter. This is a new position for the fund and is 1.38% of its portfolio. The share price of the company has decreased from $439.50 on December 31, 2010, to $437.56 on March 31.

The Washington Post is a diversified media and education company whose principal operations include newspaper and magazine publishing, television broadcasting, cable television systems, electronic information services, and educational and career services. The Washington Post’s EPS forecast for the current year is $22.78 and next year is $16.96. According to consensus estimates, its top line is expected to decline 6.20% in the current year and 8.90% next year. It is trading at a forward P/E of 24.46. All three analysts covering the company have hold ratings.

Citigroup Inc. (NYSE:C)

Canyon bought 5,424,475 shares of Citigroup Inc. last quarter. This is a new position for the fund and is 1.45% of its portfolio. The share price of the company has decreased from $47.30 on December 31, 2010, to $44.20 on March 31.

Citigroup Inc. is a global diversified financial services holding company. Citigroup businesses provide consumers, corporations, governments and institutions with a range of financial products and services. Citigroup’s EPS forecast for the current year is $4.20 and next year is $5.37. According to consensus estimates, its top line is expected to decline 7.20% in the current year and grow 5.80% next year. It is trading at a forward P/E of 7.42. Out of 24 analysts covering the company, 15 are positive and have buy ratings, 6 have hold ratings and three have sell ratings.

MFA Financial, Inc. (NYSE:MFA)

Canyon bought 2,610,000 shares of MFA Financial, Inc. last quarter. This is a new position for the fund and is 1.29% of its portfolio. The share price of the company has increased from $8.16 on December 31, 2010, to $8.20 on March 31.

MFA Financial Inc. is engaged in the business of investing, on a leveraged basis, in residential Agency and Non-Agency mortgage-backed securities (MBS). MFA’s EPS forecast for the current year is $1.02 and next year is $1.03. According to consensus estimates, its top line is expected to grow 48.10% in the current year and 7.30% next year. It is trading at a forward P/E of 7.81. Out of 14 analysts covering the company, eight are positive and have buy ratings and 6 have hold ratings.

Apollo Group Inc. (NASDAQ:APOL)

Canyon bought 499,592 shares of Apollo Group Inc. last quarter. This is a new position for the fund and is 1.26% of its portfolio. The share price of the company has increased from $39.49 on December 31, 2010, to $41.71 on March 31.

Apollo Group Inc. is a private education provider. The company offers educational programs and services both online and on-campus at the undergraduate, masters and doctoral levels through its subsidiaries: University of Phoenix, Apollo Global, Institute for Professional Development and College for Financial Planning. Apollo’s EPS forecast for the current year is $4.70 and next year is $3.16. According to consensus estimates, its top line is expected to decline 5.20% in the current year and 11.40% next year. It is trading at a forward P/E of 14.57. Out of 23 analysts covering the company, 11 are positive and have buy ratings and 12 have hold ratings.

CVS Caremark Corporation (NYSE:CVS)

Canyon bought 600,000 shares of CVS Caremark Corporation last quarter. This is a new position for the fund and is 1.24% of its portfolio. The share price of the company has decreased from $34.77 on December 31, 2010, to $34.32 on March 31.

CVS Caremark Corp. provides pharmacy health care in the United States with integrated offerings across the entire spectrum of pharmacy care. The company operates through three segments: Pharmacy Services, Retail Pharmacy and Corporate. CVS’ EPS forecast for the current year is $2.78 and next year is $3.16. According to consensus estimates, its top line is expected to grow 12.20% in the current year and 4.80% next year. It is trading at a forward P/E of 12.02. Out of 26 analysts covering the company, 18 are positive and have buy ratings and eight have hold ratings.

Genworth Financial Inc. (NYSE:GNW)

Canyon bought 1,340,628 shares of Genworth Financial Inc. last quarter and now holds a total of 5,463,428 shares. This position is 4.43% of its portfolio. The share price of the company has increased from $13.14 on December 31, 2010, to $13.46 on March 31.

Genworth Financial Inc. is a financial security company, which provides insurance, wealth management, investment and financial solutions. It provides homeownership, life security, wealth management and retirement security needs to its customers. Genworth’s EPS forecast for the current year is $1.00 and next year is $1.64. According to consensus estimates, its top line is expected to grow 4.20% in the current year and 3.70% next year. It is trading at a forward P/E of 6.54. Out of 17 analysts covering the company, four are positive and have buy ratings, 12 have hold ratings and one has a sell rating.

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

Source: Top 15 Buys of Canyon Capital Advisors LLC