Third Avenue Quarterly Newsletter: What Has It Been Buying?

by: Holmes Osborne

Third Avenue Funds has just released its quarterly newsletter. It's Value Fund (MUTF:TAVFX) was started by famed investor Marty Whitman and has averaged 11.95% since November of 1990, beating the S&P 500 (NYSEARCA:SPY) by well over 2%. Other funds include the Real Estate Fund (MUTF:TVRTX), the Small Cap Fund (MUTF:TVSVX), the International Fund (MUTF:TVIVX), and the Credit Focused Fund (MUTF:TFCVX). Here is a link to Third Avenue's latest newsletter.

The fund managers at Third Avenue are always looking for companies that are trading well below net asset value and/or have nice future cash flows. They are a true go-anywhere fund and invest all over the globe. We'll take a look mainly at stocks that trade here in the states.

The best known new purchase is Dow component Intel (NASDAQ:INTC). According to the newsletter, "Over the longer term, there are a number of opportunities for growth: e.g., should an upgrade cycle be driven by Windows 8, should ultrabooks and/or other tablet hybrid computers take off, should PC growth in emerging markets accelerate. In the meantime, the stock pays a roughly 4.24% dividend; the Fund was able to acquire shares at around 4.6 times EBITDA and 10 times earnings."

The second tech pick is graphic process NVIDIA (NASDAQ:NVDA). "The GPU (graphics process) market is being driven by an increasing demand for graphics due to increasing digital content design (e.g., videos, commercials, 3-D interactive content, product design) and are used heavily in workstations and supercomputers... The company is well-financed with a $3.7 billion war chest, at January 27, 2013, and recently initiated a quarterly dividend. The Fund was able to acquire shares at around 4.8 times EBITDA and eight times earnings ex-cash." Links to recent articles from Seeking Alpha for Intel and NVIDIA are included above.

The International Fund, run by Amit Wadhwaney decreased shares in Sanofi (NYSE:SNY) and eliminated its position in Glaxo Smith Kline (NYSE:GSK), and Encana (NYSE:ECA). My guess is that they took profits in Sanofi, cut losses in Encana, and saw something in Glaxo Smith Kline that they did not like.

This article only talks about a few of Third Avenue's investments. Many of its investments are foreign and trade over the counter. It also owns debt, currencies, and other financial instruments. Readers would be wise to follow these investments as well as they have greatly added to Third Avenue's returns.

Disclosure: I have no positions in any stocks mentioned, and no plans to initiate any positions within the next 72 hours. I wrote this article myself, and it expresses my own opinions. I am not receiving compensation for it (other than from Seeking Alpha). I have no business relationship with any company whose stock is mentioned in this article.

Additional disclosure: We are long Third Avenue Value and International