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AllianceBernstein L.P. is an investment advisory and hedge fund firm managing ~$150 bn in equity assets. The firm is a subsidiary of AXA S.A., which holds 64.7% stake in AB and 34.6% in AllianceBernstein Holding L.P. The firm manages AllianceBernstein series of mutual funds in addition to other funds and caters to individuals and institutions.

Investment Strategy: AllianceBernstein L.P. offers growth, value and blend investment styles, managing domestic and global portfolios. The firm invests across all market-caps. The investment process is generally driven by fundamental company research and quantitative analysis. For the growth strategy, AllianceBernstein evaluates both current and forecasted investment opportunities and conditions to identify companies with unanticipated growth prospects. Investments are primarily made in mid- and large-cap businesses.

The following is a list of its top ten holdings, as released in its most recent 13F filing with the SEC.

Stock

Symbol

Shares Held - 06/30/2011

% of Portfolio

Change in shares

Apple Inc.

AAPL

7,825,686

2.4

-729,873

JP Morgan Chase & Co.

JPM

63,081,154

2.36

-14,963,669

Pfizer Inc.

PFE

109,905,871

2.07

-7,338,974

Johnson & Johnson

JNJ

28,557,022

1.74

-4,315,619

AT&T, Inc.

T

52,406,002

1.51

17,003,649

Citigroup, Inc.

C

39,127,112

1.49

-131,649,110

Comcast Corporation

CMCSA

63,835,901

1.48

-6,896,151

ConocoPhillips

COP

18,945,958

1.3

6,118,154

Marathon Oil Corporation

MRO

25,931,952

1.25

238,104

Google Inc.

GOOG

2,617,445

1.21

-265,591

I like Pfizer and Apple the most among the above list.

Pfizer clearly stands out as the defensive play in the current uncertain environment. It offers an attractive mix of:

  1. Inexpensive valuation, with current year P/E of just 8x
  2. Multiple catalysts in the form of Phase III data or FDA approval for many late-stage drugs in second half of 2011.
  3. High FCF and dividend yield
  4. Limited earnings risk

Last month the company won a case against Teva Pharmaceuticals (NYSE:TEVA), which will prevent Teva from receiving approval for a generic form of Viagra until October 2019. Most of the sell-side analysts were assuming Viagra would lose exclusivity in 2012. The recent ruling can add 5-10 cents in incremental annual EPS for Pfizer till 2019.

More recently, the company received the FDA’s approval for its drug Xalkori (crizotinib, 100% owned) for lung cancer with ALK rearrangements. Also, BMY (50-50 partner) reported strong Phase III Eliquis (apixaban) data in atrial fibrillation. Both are significant positives for the company, and each presents a $1 billion-plus potential opportunity.

Goldman Sachs' analyst recently raised his estimates for the company, noting that new products should help drive earnings growth.

Apple is a secular growth and market share gain story in the smart phone and tablet space. Apple’s competitors in both smart phone and tablet space have, so far, been unable to counter Apple’s continued market share gain in both the segments. Recently Apple’s smart phone competitor Research in Motion (RIMM) declared its quarterly results. Its BlackBerry units plummeted 20% Q/Q while PlayBook shipments tanked 60%. I believe it is only a matter of time before the iPhone and iPad challenge RIMM's enterprise dominance. At 12x next year EPS and cash in hand of ~ $75 bn, it is one of the best stocks to buy in current uncertain times. The coming iPhone 5 launch will likely be the next catalyst for the stock.

For other stocks in the above list, here are some of the specifics about these companies, including a brief description of their business, growth expectations (topline and bottomline):

JPMorgan Chase & Co. is a financial holding company. The bank and nonbank subsidiaries of JPMorgan Chase operate nationally, as well as through overseas branches and subsidiaries, representative offices and subsidiary foreign banks. The Company's activities are organized into six business segments: Investment Bank, Retail Financial Services, Card Services, Commercial Banking, Treasury & Securities Services and Asset Management. JPMorgan's EPS forecast for the current year is $4.79 and next year is $5.36. According to consensus estimates, its top line is expected to decline 3.30% in the current year and grow 1.50% next year.

Johnson & Johnson is a holding company. The Company and its subsidiaries are engaged in the research and development, manufacture and sale of a range of products in the health care field. The Company’s operating companies are organized into three business segments: Consumer, Pharmaceutical and Medical Devices and Diagnostics. Johnson & Johnson's EPS forecast for the current year is $4.97 and next year is $5.29. According to consensus estimates, its top line is expected to grow 6.20% in the current year and 4.70% next year.

AT&T Inc. is a holding company. The Company is a provider of telecommunications services in the United States and worldwide. These include wireless communications, local exchange services, long-distance services, data/broadband and Internet services, video services, managed networking, wholesale services and directory advertising and publishing. AT&T's EPS forecast for the current year is $2.38 and next year is $2.54. According to consensus estimates, its top line is expected to grow 1.50% in the current year and 1.20% next year.

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 operates two primary business segments: Citicorp, consisting of its Regional Consumer Banking businesses and Institutional Clients Group, and Citi Holdings, consisting of its Brokerage and Asset Management, Local Consumer Lending, and Special Asset Pool. Citigroup's EPS forecast for the current year is $3.98 and next year is $4.94. According to consensus estimates, its top line is expected to decline 7.80% in the current year and 4.40% next year.

Comcast Corporation is a provider of video, high-speed Internet and phone services to residential and business customers in the United States. Comcast operates in two segments: Cable and Programming. The Cable segment manages and operates cable systems in the United States. Comcast's EPS forecast for the current year is $1.61 and next year is $1.93. According to consensus estimates, its top line is expected to grow 48.40% in the current year and 7.80% next year.

ConocoPhillips is an international, integrated energy company. the Company operates in six segments: Exploration and Production; Midstream; Refining and Marketing; LUKOIL Investment; Chemicals and Emerging Businesses. ConocoPhillips' EPS forecast for the current year is $8.32 and next year is $8.84. According to consensus estimates, its top line is expected to grow 25.10% in the current year and 1.00% next year.

Marathon Oil Corporation is an integrated international energy company engaged in exploration and production; oil sands mining; integrated gas, and refining, marketing and transportation. Marathon operations consist of four operating segments: Exploration and Production; Oil Sands Mining; Integrated Gas and Refining, Marketing and Transportation. Marathon's EPS forecast for the current year is $3.61 and next year is $3.94.

Google Inc. generates revenue primarily by delivering online advertising. The Company focuses on areas, such as search, advertising, operating systems and platforms, and enterprise. Businesses use its AdWords program to promote their products and services with targeted advertising. In addition, the third parties that comprise the Google Network use its AdSense program to deliver relevant ads that generate revenue and enhance the user experience. Google's EPS forecast for the current year is $35.47 and next year is $42.01. According to consensus estimates, its top line is expected to grow 30.20% in the current year and 21.00% next year.

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

Source: A Look At AllianceBernstein's Top Holdings