This series of articles are an ongoing analysis of the changes made to George Soros's US stock portfolio on a quarterly basis. Soros Fund Management invests globally and long positions in the US market reported in the 13F filings represent only ~20% of the overall portfolio. The US investments are diversified, with a large number of very small positions and a small number of very large positions. As the small positions (<0.5%) are not an indication of a clear bias, the focus is on the larger positions.
Comverse Technology (CMVT.PK): CMVT, established this quarter when the price-per-share varied between $6.34 and $7, is a 2% of the US long portfolio stake. Currently, the stock trades at $6.38. The US portfolio is experiencing a strong technology company bias, and the CMVT acquisition highlights that trend - this small-cap software company ($1.33B market cap) is focused in billing and customer management of wireless, wireline, and cable services. For investors attempting to follow Soros's trades, CMVT is a good option to consider.
Amazon.com Inc (AMZN): AMZN, a ~1% of the US long portfolio stake, was liquidated in the quarter when the price-per-share varied between $173 and $247. The stock has been in the portfolio since early on, and was actively traded. 2011 started with the fund holding a ~1% position and then it was trimmed down to a ~0.1% position in Q2 2011 and upped again to a ~1% position in Q3 2011. Soros essentially employed AMZN as a trading stock during the year.
Emdeon Inc (EM): The bulk of the ~2% of the US long portfolio stake was purchased in Q3 2009 when the price-per-share varied between $15.23 and $17.49. The stake was established immediately after the IPO of EM (August 12, 2009). The company was acquired by Blackstone Group on August 4, 2011 at $19 per share in cash, and so the stake disposal.
Apple Inc (AAPL): AAPL, a ~0.5% of the US long portfolio stake, has consistently figured in the portfolio since 2005 and has been actively traded. As of Q4 2010, the fund held about 305K shares. The stake reduced to ~83K shares by Q3 2011, and has since mustered vigor, and as of Q4 2011, is at 95K shares. Between Q3 2011 and Q4 2011, the fund's long exposure to AAPL reduced substantially, as the fund liquidated a fairly large stake (~1.5% of the US long portfolio) in Apple Calls.
Express Scripts (ESRX): ESRX, a ~0.7% of the US long portfolio stake, was enhanced 3.5-times this quarter. Protective puts are in place for around 40% of that position. The initial long position was established in Q3 and Q4 of 2009, when the price-per-share varied between $32.36 and $52.67. In Q4 2011, the price-per-share varied between $35.71 and $48.32. The stock currently trades at $52.01. The significant stake enhancement this quarter indicates a mild bullish bias.
Google Inc (GOOG): GOOG, a fairly large ~3.5% of the US long portfolio, has played peek-a-boo with the portfolio since 2008. In Q1 2011, a ~2% position was held in GOOG stock which was sold in Q2 2011, and an insignificantly small stake was re-established in Q3 2011. The large stake increase this quarter when the price-per-share varied between $495 and $646 signifies a strong bullish bias.
Medco Health (MHS): Since 2010, a very small stake in MHS was present in the portfolio. In Q4 2011, a more significant 0.6% stake was added when the price-per-share varied between $45.64 and $58.11. The stock currently trades at $64.01. Soros is hedged against down-side risk in MHS through protective puts on 38% of the shares. The stake building signifies a mild bullish bias.
Mercury Computer (MRCY): MRCY, consistently built-up from a very low base in 2007, now accounts for 0.67% of the US long portfolio. As the stake has almost doubled in the last two years, it is clear that Soros is very bullish on this position. The stock traded between $10.85 and $21.73 during the period, and is currently trading at $14.95. For investors attempting to shadow Soros, MRCY is a respectable option, and is trading at the mid-point of the range of prices Soros could have paid in the last two years.
Wells Fargo (WFC): WFC has been in the portfolio since 2009, though insignificant positions were also held prior to this date. A comparatively large ~2.5% of the US long portfolio stake was established in Q1 2011, when the price-per-share varied between $30.99 and $33.76. Around 80% of that stake was liquidated in Q2 2011, when the price-per-share varied between $25.36 and $32.40. A 0.7% stake was reestablished in Q4 2011 when the price-per-share varied between $23.18 and $27.79. The stock is currently trading outside that range at around $31. The stake reestablishment indicates a mild bullish bias.
Westport Innovations (WPRT): WPRT, a significant 2.3% of the US long portfolio stake, was incrementally increased this quarter. The stake was aggressively built from Q2 2010 to Q1 2011 from 2.34M shares to a high of 5.5M shares when the share price ranged between $15.15 and $20.25. Since then, the position was trimmed to ~3.16M shares by Q3 2011, when the share price ranged between $20 and $31.63. The slight stake increase in the price-range $25.20 to $33.65 indicates a mild bullish bias. The stock currently trades at $44.90, well above the range Soros acquired the shares at.
YPF Sociedad Anonima (YPF): YPF, a 0.65% stake, is being built up since Q1 2011, when the price-per-share varied between $31 and $46.31. The stock is currently trading in the low-end of that price range. For investors seeking to shadow Soros, YPF is a good option to consider.
Adecoagro (AGRO): AGRO, a pre-IPO investment, was slightly reduced to a ~4.6% of the US long portfolio stake this quarter. It ranks among his largest investments, and as such, he is quite bullish. The share price at $9.60 is well below the IPO price of $11, and the 52-week ranges from $7.16 to $13.91.
DaVita Inc (DVA): DVA, a ~1% stake established in Q1 2011 from a very small base, was thinned by ~38% in the quarter, and it now accounts for ~0.5% of the US long portfolio. The significant stake reduction in the quarter clearly indicates a bearish bias.
Dish Network (DISH): DISH, a very small position established in 2009, was enhanced significantly to a 1% of the US long portfolio stake in Q1 2011, when the share-price ranged between $19.66 and $24.40. The stock currently trades at $29.02. Soros is bullish on DISH, but as the stock is trading well outside his Q1 2011 purchase price-range, investors wishing to follow Soros should wait for a better entry point.
Extreme Networks (EXTR): EXTR is a 0.5% stake established between Q2 2009 and Q4 2009, from a very low base when the share price varied between $1.61 and $3. Currently, it trades at $3.46. The stake was trimmed slightly in the last two quarters. As such, the trades do not indicate a clear bearish bias.
Interoil Corp (IOC): IOC, a large 4.9% of the US long portfolio built from Q2 2009 and Q4 2010, was trimmed by ~10% during the quarter. Despite this, the fairly large stake indicates a bullish bias. IOC traded in the $24.75 to $83.65 price range during the period, and it currently trades around $65.
iShares Russell 2000 (IWM) PUTS and S&P 500 SPDR (SPY) PUTS: The bulk of the huge ~10% of the US long portfolio stake in IWM puts were purchased in Q2 2011 and was enhanced by ~20% in Q3 2011. It was trimmed down to just ~1% of the US long portfolio this quarter. The share price varied between $64.25 and $94.35 during those two quarters and currently trades at $82.79. The SPY puts are a similarly huge stake built during Q1 and Q2 2011. It was trimmed down to a ~3% of the US long portfolio this quarter. It is clear that Soros has become less bearish as of Q4 2011. As the expiry dates and exact transaction dates are not disclosed, it is unclear how the transactions worked out for Soros.
Medicines (MDCO): MDCO, a 0.5% of the US long portfolio stake, was reduced by 26.5% during the quarter. The stake was established in Q3 2011 when the price-per-share varied between $12.52 and $17. In Q4 2011, the price-per-share varied between $14.88 and $19.91 and currently trades at around $21. The stake disposal indicates a mild bearish bias.
Motorola Solutions Inc (MSI): The bulk of the large MSI stake (4.9% of the US long portfolio) was built in Q1 2011 when the price-per-share varied between $37.15 and $44.40. The position was trimmed by around 24.25% this quarter, when the price-per-share varied between $40.62 and $47.41. Given the large remaining position, the stake disposal does not indicate a clear bearish bias.
Visteon (VC): VC, a large ~2.8% of the US long portfolio stake, was established in Q1 2011 when the price-per-share varied between $69.68 and $74.99. It was trimmed down to just a ~0.25% of the US long portfolio stake during the quarter. During Q4 2011, the price-per-share varied between $40.68 and $58.16. Even in the best-case-scenario, Soros must have realized losses on this transaction. The significant stake disposal indicates a clear bearish bias.
EXAR Corp (EXAR): EXAR, a relatively large (~1% of the US long portfolio) position, remained untouched during the quarter. The stake established in 2009 was doubled in 2010 when the share price ranged in the $5 to $8 range. Since then, the position has remained almost steady. The stock trades now around $7. The current share count reads "6,666,666" - fodder for conspiracy theorists.
The rest of the positions were very small, and as such, does not signify a clear bias. The spreadsheet below shows 22 out of the 145 long positions that have an allocation greater than ~0.5% of Soros's US long portfolio as of Q4 2011:
Please visit our Tracking Soros Fund Management Holdings article for an idea on how his holdings have progressed over the years.
Disclosure: I am long (AAPL).