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Arguably the world’s most famous investor, with the possible exception of Warren Buffett, George Soros has the ability to move markets with both his capital and with his opinion. A pioneer in the hedge fund industry, the Quantum Fund is known internationally for both its unrivaled long-term performance, and its role in bringing the British central bank to its knees at one point. Mr. Soros has demonstrated a unique ability to understand global macroeconomic impacts of far-reaching events, and to turn that understanding into investing prowess. As such, individual investors as well as professional asset managers pay attention to the stock calls made by Mr. Soros, and use them as a great jumping off point for much of their own research.

Exar Corp. (NYSE:EXAR) – As of the end of the first quarter of 2011, Mr. Soros added to his position in EXAR, bringing his holding size to 0.34 million shares at an estimated average purchase price of $6.46 per share; this resulted in a portfolio weight for EXAR of 0.59%. EXAR recently reported profitable results for the first time ever, and is expected by many analysts to double its revenues within the next twelve to twenty-four months. With roughly 60% of the company’s business in Asia, growth prospects remain strong despite the economic slowdown that has prevailed in certain sectors for the last few years. Rather than focusing on competitors, a look at the company’s primary customers - Cisco (NASDAQ:CSCO), EMC (NYSE:EMC), HP (NYSE:HPQ), and Alcatel (NYSE:ALU) – reveals the strength in EXAR’s downstream customer base. As a final argument in favor of the stock, it has largely gone unnoticed, and, as such, still provides a good value. When a news-worthy story brings attention to the company, it may prove to be the catalyst needed to drive performance.

Microstrategy Inc. (NASDAQ:MSTR) – As of the end of the first quarter of 2011, Mr. Soros added to his position in MSTR, bringing his holding size to 6.6 million shares at an estimated average purchase price of $18.88 per share; this resulted in a portfolio weight for MSTR of 0.5%. Providing Business Intelligence software, the recent release on an iPad app may serve as the catalyst needed to drive performance in the stock. Competitors like IBM (NYSE:IBM), Oracle (NYSE:ORCL), and SAP AG (NYSE:SAP) appear to have far stronger financial metrics, but the story here is in terms of market capitalization. Relative to those behemoths and with a market capitalization just north of $1 billion, MSTR is a growth play or even an acquisition play.

Adecoagro S.A. (NYSE:AGRO) – As of the end of the first quarter of 2011, Mr. Soros initiated a position in AGRO, bringing his holding size to 27.2 million shares at an estimated average purchase price of $12.73 per share; this resulted in a portfolio weight for AGRO of 4.36%. Representing another growth play, AGRO has an interesting global element, operating is South America. While not a great comparison, considering the company relative to Archer Daniels Midland Company (NYSE:ADM) highlights several of the strengths. The real standout is the operating margin achieved by AGRO, in an otherwise tight marketplace. Where ADM has an operating margin of 3.3%, and the industry average is just above 7%, AGRO reports and operating margin of 14.7%. The combination of this type of margin with the diversification strength and growth potential, make the stock an interesting choice.

Motorola Solutions, Inc. (NYSE:MSI) – As of the end of the first quarter of 2011, Mr. Soros initiated a position in MSI, bringing his holding size to 4.5 million shares at an estimated average purchase price of $39.86 per share; this resulted in a portfolio weight for MSI of 2.38%. Centered squarely in the communication equipment space, which has been a hot bed of mergers and acquisitions activity, and considerable press coverage, MSI appears to be a solid value on a trailing price-to-earnings basis. The stock carries a current trailing price-to-earnings ratio of 11.1 relative to 132.2 for Cisco Systems (CSCO) and 14.6 for Honeywell International, Inc. (NYSE:HON), two of its competitors. What this signals to investors is that the company is not expensive in the sense that one pays less for each dollar of earnings than in the other two companies. When growth considerations are introduced, the picture is not as favorable – the company has a price-to-earnings over growth (NYSE:PEG) of 1.6, relative to 0.95 for CSCO and 0.79 for HON. Despite this, the company still bares investigating.

Visteon Corp. (NYSE:VC) – As of the end of the first quarter of 2011, Mr. Soros initiated a position in VC, bringing his holding size to 2.1 million shares at an estimated average purchase price of $69.72 per share; this resulted in a portfolio weight for VC of 1.59%. The auto parts business is unusual in that VC is one of the few remaining companies in its precise nitch. This speaks of its relationships; where Delphi (a General Motors (NYSE:GM) spinoff) failed and is now private, VC has carried on. Trading at a trailing price-to-earnings ratio of just 3.3 when the industry average is around 8.6, the company presents are solid value proposition.

Danaher Corp. (NYSE:DHR) – As of the end of the first quarter of 2011, Mr. Soros added to his position in DHR, bringing his holding size to 1.9 million shares at an estimated average purchase price of $49.27 per share; this resulted in a portfolio weight for DHR of 0.95%. While placing large conglomerates into the proper context is always something of a challenge given their diverse product offerings, there are certain financial metrics which tend to be good indicators of relative strength. The operating margin of a company is some indication of how efficiently the company uses its resources and provides a basis of comparison. With an operating margin of 17.4% relative to General Electric (NYSE:GE) at 11.5%, the company appears to offer a compelling value within this large diversified sector. This is a good case of a company being well-positioned and having received the blessing of Mr. Soros combining to be a catalyst for consideration.


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

Source: 6 Big Buys From Billionaire George Soros