Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Stockpicking: Follow That Guru

Bill Nygren, who runs the $6 billion Oakmark Select Fund, is not bashful about taking tips from competitors. Earlier this year he noticed in the shareholder reports of Longleaf Partners, Legg Mason, and Dodge & Cox that they were all accumulating shares in wireless telco Sprint Nextel. "Many competitors we respected made it a large position," he says. "That suggested it was worth looking at." When the stock later dipped from 20 to 18, he swooped in. Today it trades at 22.

One current position is Home Depot. The retailer is what Charlie Tian, GuruFocus' founder, calls "a triple buy." Not only do 19 gurus own it, but the company is aggressively buying back stock and corporate insiders are purchasing shares as well. Other triples include car dealer AutoNation, financial software maker Fair Isaac, and Rent-A-Center, which sells furniture and consumer electronics on a rent-to-own basis.

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