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Here’s What George Soros Has Been Buying and Selling

Every quarter, many money managers have to disclose what they’ve bought and sold, via “13F” filings. Their latest moves can shine a bright light on smart stock picks. In an earlier article, “5 US Shares Billionaire Ken Fisher Bought Last Quarter”, we likened this to the top scoring classmate sharing with you his study methods to help you with the next test, and we still stand by that in this article.

George Soros is known to some for his politics and philanthropy, but his fame stems from his wealth, which is a result of his outstanding investing prowess. He founded Soros Fund Management back in 1973, and under its umbrella, the Quantum funds racked up an amazing record, reportedly averaging close to 20% annual growth over four decades.

The company’s reportable stock portfolio totalled $8.4 billion in value as of Dec. 31, 2012.

Interesting developments
So what does Soros’s latest quarterly 13F filing tell us? Here are a few interesting details:

The biggest new holdings are Morgan Stanley and Citrix Systems. Other new holdings of interest include Weatherford International (NYSE: WFT) , whose stock has dropped in part due to expectations that the company will pay millions in settlements to multiple U.S. agencies investigating possible improper practices abroad. It has also been plagued by accounting-related problems and remain challenged by low gas prices and low margins related to an Iraqi contract. In a recent presentation, though, management pointed out that its land-based operations, which represent the bulk of its work, have been growing by an annual average of about 16% over the past decade. Its “unconventional” operations, including shale and oil sands, have been growing even more briskly.

Among holdings in which Soros Fund Management increased its stake were Micron Technology (NASDAQ:MU) and Sarepta Therapeutics (NASDAQ:SRPT). Micron’s bottom line has dropped from the black into the red recently, and the company bought bankrupt Japanese chip maker Elpida last year and is hoping that tablet growth will drive chip demand.

Sarepta, a biotech developing the promising Duchenne muscular dystrophy drug eteplirsen, nearly tripled in a single day recently. It has given back a big chunk of that gain, but some expect further growth while others are wondering whether the company will be acquired. Until or unless the drug receives FDA approval, however, the company’s future is somewhat uncertain.

Soros Fund Management reduced its stake in lots of companies, including RF Micro Devices (NASDAQ:RFMD). RF Micro Devices posted estimate-beating numbers in its second and third quarters, in part due to its role as a radio-frequency component supplier for smart devices, which are selling briskly. It also supports lower-end phones. Bulls are hopeful about it doing a lot of business in China, where smartphones and upgrades of phones are strong sellers.

Finally, Soros’s biggest closed positions included LinkedIn and Express Scripts. Other closed positions of interest include Molycorp (NYSE:MCP), which has been struggling in a tough environment and recently worried investors with a surprisingly large share offering and debt issuance. Some also worry about further capital needs in the near future. The stock has fallen 74% over the past year, but it received a Wall Street upgrade recently. Bears note, though, that it’s long been free of free cash flow, which is not promising.

Foolish bottom line

We should never blindly copy any investor’s moves, no matter how talented the investor. Conduct your research, determine your take on these companies, and formulate your own investing thesis.  But it can be useful to keep an eye on what smart investors are doing. Here at the Motley Fool Singapore, www.fool.sg, we aim to bring you more of these “study methods” from Singapore and all over the world to help you invest better.

The Motley Fool’s purpose is to help the world invest, better. Click here now for yourFREE subscription to Take Stock Singapore, The Motley Fool’s free investing newsletter. Written by David Kuo, Take Stock Singapore tells you exactly what’s happening in today’s markets, and shows how you can GROW your wealth in the years ahead. 

The information provided is for general information purposes only and is not intended to be personalised investment or financial advice.  This article was first written by Selena Maranjian, and published on fool.com.  It has been repurposed for fool.sg. Selena is a contributor to fool.com and owns shares of LinkedIn.