Seth Klarman is the CEO & President of the Boston based Baupost Group, one of the largest and most successful hedge funds in the world. Klarman, along with Warren Buffett, is also regarded as one of the most successful value investors in the world.
On February 13th, Seth Klarman’s firm The Baupost Group filed its quarterly Form 13F regulatory filing. I reviewed the filing to gain a glimpse into the firm’s large portfolio.
The Baupost Group’s stock portfolio totals $9.8 billion according to the latest filing. The list value of stock holdings is up 21.7% when compared to the last quarter. As a benchmark, the S&P 500 was up 6.1% over the same period. Quite impressive!
Quarter-over-Quarter Turnover (QoQ Turnover) measures the level of trading activity in a portfolio. The Baupost Group’s QoQ Turnover for the latest quarter was 21.6%, so the firm appears to trade a significant percent of its portfolio each quarter.
The Baupost Group’s Largest Holdings
The Ideas section of finbox.io tracks top investors and trending investment themes. You can get the latest data on the holdings discussed below at the The Seth Klarman page. The following table summarizes his firm’s largest holdings reported in the last filing:
The largest stock sale for the quarter was Dell Technologies Inc (NYSE: DVMT). The Baupost Group reduced its position in the company by $235.7 million. The stock now represents 3.0% of the firm’s portfolio.
The Baupost Group’s Low P/E Ratio Stocks
The P/E Ratio indicates the multiple of earnings stock investors are willing to pay for one share of the company. A low P/E can indicate either that a company may currently be undervalued or that the company is doing exceptionally well relative to its past trends. The following table summarizes the firm’s holdings with the lowest P/E multiple.
The cheapest stock that Klarman owns appears to be ChipMOS Technologies Inc (NASDAQ: IMOS) which currently trades at 6.2x earnings.
Klarman’s Value Investing Approach
In 2009, Klarman gave a speech to the Ben Graham Centre for Value Investing in Ontario. During that speech, he shared the following points on investing.
He said you should look at the probability and magnitude of a potential loss before focussing on the potential gain of an investment.
He also suggested focusing on absolute performance rather than relative performance. By doing so investors will be more aware of the possibility that they will lose money. While those focussed on relative returns are striving to lose less than others, those focusing on absolute returns are focussed on making money and protecting capital.
He suggested that investors focus on individual investments rather than top-down, macro investing. Macro investing is very difficult as it involves forecasting economic performance, interest rates, inflation and currency movements – all of which are very difficult to do.
Klarman has also spoken about his philosophy on exiting a position. He likes to buy assets at a discount and then sell them when they appreciate, but before they reach their fair value. In other words, he would rather sell too soon, than risk price weakness just to make the last few percent. Selling early also allows him to buy in again if the price falls.
While it’s helpful to review Klarman’s recent activity, it is important to note that these filings are due 45 days after the quarter end date. Therefore, The Baupost Group’s holdings above represent positions held as of December 31st and not necessarily reflective of the fund’s current stock holdings.
However, most can agree that with thousands of stocks traded on U.S. exchanges, doing thorough research on each one is nearly impossible for smaller investors. Leveraging the resources of the largest hedge funds on Wall Street can be a powerful way to narrow down the list.
Matt Hogan is a co-founder of finbox.io. His expertise is in investment decision making. Prior to finbox.io, Matt worked for an investment banking group providing fairness opinions in connection to stock acquisitions. He spent much of his time building valuation models to help clients determine an asset’s fair value. He believes that these same valuation models should be used by all investors before buying or selling a stock.