What do Bank of New York Mellon Corp., AT&T Inc. and Monsanto Co. have in common? In the third quarter, these stocks were snapped up by Warren Buffett and George Soros, according to quarterly filings with the Securities & Exchange Commission.
At the same time, hedge fund manager John Paulson retreated from U.S. financial stocks during the third quarter, eliminating stakes in Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and reducing stakes in Citigroup Inc., Bank of America Corp. and J.P. Morgan Chase & Co.
For investors who like to emulate what the big guys are doing, there are some conflicting signals here, of course, which suggests that even the smartest of the smart-money have different views on the stock market.
In Mr. Buffett's case, his move into Bank of New York Mellon is actually fairly minor, at $52-million (U.S.). The financial firm has a market capitalization of $34-billion, while Mr. Buffett's investment vehicle - Berkshire Hathaway Inc. - controls nearly $50-billion in equities.
Perhaps what's more interesting is that Mr. Buffett - revered as a long-term investor - cut a number of other holdings, including shares of Home Depot Inc., CarMax Inc., Iron Mountain Inc., NRG Energy Inc. and Republic Services Inc.
The Wall Street Journal pointed out that these moves might be in preparation for the arrival of Todd Combs as an incoming Berkshire investment manager. Some of the stocks ditched in the third quarter were picked by Berkshire's Lou Simpson, who is retiring.