Banking & Finance

Paulson Dumps Financials, Shows New Sector Picks (GENZ, SYMC, BRCD, C, GS, BAC, JPM, COF, AU, GLD, APC, DVN, XOM, CMCSA, HOT)

It is 13F season and investors are looking to see what their favorite gurus are up to.  While  everyone is looking at the slew  of Buffett portfolio changes, it is John Paulson of Paulson & Co. Inc. which may be the new favorite among gurus to track.  After all, Paulson profited handsomely during the economic meltdown.  He has made key portfolio changes with some positions in M&A potential in tech and biotech, made some changes to gold and handily slashed his financial stock holdings.  He also trimmed some other key companies and dropped some key oil positions.

Two new large Paulson positions are potential merger and special situation positions in Genzyme Corporation (NASDAQ: GENZ) and in Symantec Corporation (NASDAQ: SYMC).  Genzyme is a new position at 1.9 million shares and Symantec was new at 5 million shares.  Brocade Communications Systems, Inc. (NASDAQ: BRCD) is another new position for Paulson, although that was listed as ‘only’ 2,900,000 shares.

The biggest trade changes were seen in Paulson’s financial portfolio, which saw significant cuts.  Citigroup, Inc. (NYSE: C) saw a drop to 424 million shares versus a prior report of more than 505 million shares.  Goldman Sachs Group inc. (NYSE: GS) is another surprise as paulson eliminated the stake versus a report of 1.1 million shares in the prior report.  Bank of America Corporation (NYSE: BAC) was listed as 138 million shares, down from 168 million before.  J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. (NYSE: JPM) was down 2 million shares to 23.7 million shares.  Another 2 million shares of Capital One Financial Corp. (NYSE: COF) were dropped and the newest Paulson stake is down to 15 million shares.

Paulson recently started a new surge into gold in the last year, so there was a bit of a surprise in some of the holdings there.  AngloGold Ashanti Ltd. (NYSE: AU) was listed as 41,000,000 shares, down from about 43.7 million shares before.  SPDR Gold Trust was kept the same at a whopping 31,500,000 shares, which is now worth over $4 billion.

Several changes were seen in oil companies: Anadarko Petroleum Corp. (NYSE: APC) was a new position of 13.4 million shares; Devon Energy Corporation (NYSE: DVN) and ExxoMobil Corp. (NYSE: XOM) were not listed as positions, down from about 3.3 million shares and 9.2 million shares respectively.

One traded that was a far less excessive than Buffett’s cut was in Comcast Corporation (NASDAQ: CMCSA), which was 40 million versus 44 million the prior report.  Paulson also trimmed Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide Inc. (NYSE: HOT) to 1.6 million shares from 2.6 million before.

So how does all of this work out on a gross or net basis?  The changes were large changes, but not really on a net-net basis in the overall funds.  There was actually a very small change to the overall value of the Paulson & Co. fund.  The September 30, 2010 positions came to $22.899+ billion versus the June 30, 2010 portfolio worth some $22.928+ billion.

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JON C. OGG

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