Smorgasbord — Some New Value Ideas, and More from My Portfolio

By Travis Johnson, Stock Gumshoe, October 29, 2010

I often get questions from readers about my personal portfolio, and how I weight or invest in things and what kinds of options or mutual funds I own, since I don’t typically write about option or fund positions or keep an updated list of those positions on my portfolio page (which is just the list, in alphabetical order, of the stocks I own).

So today, instead of sniffing out a teaser for you or updating some of the stocks I’ve profiled as Ideas of the Month in the past, I thought I’d try to answer some of those questions with more of a rundown of my portfolio and therefore tell you not just what I like, but what I like enough to own a lot of (a lot by my standards, at least — I’m managing only my own family’s money here as a small individual investor).

Before I get into that, I will start with a couple names I don’t own in case you’re looking for new ideas to research over the weekend: I’ve been revisiting the talks I heard at the Value Investing Congress (how about that Commscope, by the way? That was picked out of the air by Lee Ainslie after his talk as the “least ordinary” large-cap tech stock that he held as a high conviction idea, and what do you know but there’s a takeover announced a couple weeks later at a 30% premium), and the stocks proposed by Alexander Roepers keep coming back to me — he’s the guy behind Atlantic Investment Management, but he came to the hedge fund world from an industrial background, particularly at the Dover Corp. conglomerate, so he has an insider’s sense of some of these industrial companies. He tends to have a very concentrated portfolio of “value” midcap stocks with strong balance sheets and “always make money” histories (often from consumable and recurring businesses, or maintenance and repair operations).

He mentioned a number of stocks, with a focus particularly on Owens-Illinois (OI) and their globally dominant glass container business — you’ll see some articles about his case study in that investment if you search any of the finance sites, but he essentially argues that they have an unassailable business (glass is too heavy to be anything but local), and that if global glass container consumption gets back to 2007 levels they should make ...

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