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What are Top Investment Managers Holding in Their Portfolios?

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The following is an complimentary excerpt from our Markets This Month dispatch from our premium newsletter called VC+. For more like this, get a VC+ annual membership for 25% off.

Analyzing the Funds of Five “Super Investors”

With the market usually taking a breather during the summer, it’s a great opportunity to analyze how top funds positioned their portfolios at the end of Q1 2023.

We selected five funds of various sizes, each one with a renowned investor at its helm that often has a unique outlook on the market and strategy towards building out their portfolio.

Selected super investor funds

The differences in portfolio compositions underline the variety of investment strategies, showing how some of the top investors approach portfolio construction.

Warren Buffett at Berkshire Hathaway, Investment Portfolio at end of Q1 2023

Berkshire Hathaway has one of the world’s best known and most successful portfolios, which has significantly outperformed the S&P 500 over the long term.

While the S&P 500 has returned 195% since 2013, Warren Buffett and Charlie Munger’s fund grew by 260% over the same time period.

Although Buffett is known for preaching diversification, almost half of Berkshire’s portfolio is all in the market’s most valuable company, Apple. The rest of the portfolio is fairly diversified with a mix of bank stocks, consumer staples like Coca-Cola and Kraft, along with oil and gas companies.

Jim Simons at Renaissance Technologies, Investment Portfolio at end of Q1 2023

Jim Simons’ hedge fund, Renaissance Technologies, is best known for its groundbreaking use of complex mathematical models and algorithms which pioneered the practice of quantitative investing.

As a result, the hedge fund’s portfolio holdings showcase astounding diversification, with the fund’s largest holding being a 2% allocation to pharmaceutical giant Novo Nordisk.

The portfolio is split across more than 3,900 different positions, showcasing the fund’s strategy of squeezing out returns from a diverse collection of investments through its algorithm-driven, statistical arbitrage approach.

Ray Dalio at Bridgewater Associates, Investment Portfolio at end of Q1 2023

Ray Dalio’s Bridgewater Associates was one of the few hedge funds to predict and successfully navigate the 2008 financial crisis, largely thanks to its “all weather” strategy which looks to perform well in all economic environments through diversification and a risk-parity approach to asset allocation.

As a result, you see many parallels and “counterweights” in the fund’s holdings. Its largest holding of MSCI’s Emerging Markets ETF is balanced out by the Core S&P 500 ETF.

Bridgewater is also one of the few funds which holds shares in a gold ETF. While other funds we’ve looked at have investments in gold royalty companies or miners, which likely have strong balance sheets and businesses to support the investment, Dalio’s fund has preferred to invest directly in the precious metal.

Stanley Druckenmiller at Duquesne Capital., Investment Portfolio at end of Q1 2023

Stanley Druckenmiller is best known as having been a key strategist for George Soros’s Quantum Fund, along with his own consistent record of returns with Duquesne which average 30% annually.

Known for his macroeconomic approach to investing, Druckenmiller isn’t afraid to make unique and concentrated bets when he has high conviction.

Currently his highest conviction bet and largest holding in his portfolio is Coupang Inc., which is South Korea’s largest online marketplace. Along with Coupang, Druckenmiller positioned his fund to take advantage of this year’s AI boom, with significant holdings in companies like NVIDIA, Microsoft, and Alphabet.

Michael Burry at Scion Asset Management, Investment Portfolio at end of Q1 2023

The smallest of all five funds we looked at, Michael Burry’s Scion Asset Management might be one of the best known for its role in predicting the 2008 financial crisis early on.

The protagonist of the film, The Big Short, Michael Burry is best known for his aggressive short bets and overall value investing approach especially in distressed assets.

Scion Asset Management’s portfolio reflects this as a good portion of its holdings at the end of Q1 this year were in various bank stocks which had declined significantly throughout the month of March.

Burry’s biggest bets however are in Chinese ecommerce companies JD.com and Alibaba, indicating Burry’s belief in a consumer driven economic reopening for China this year.

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Agriculture

The World’s Top Cocoa Producing Countries

Here are the largest cocoa producing countries globally—from Côte d’Ivoire to Brazil—as cocoa prices hit record highs.

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This tree map graphic shows the world's biggest cocoa producers.

The World’s Top Cocoa Producing Countries

This was originally posted on our Voronoi app. Download the app for free on iOS or Android and discover incredible data-driven charts from a variety of trusted sources.

West Africa is home to the largest cocoa producing countries worldwide, with 3.9 million tonnes of production in 2022.

In fact, there are about one million farmers in Côte d’Ivoire supplying cocoa to key customers such as Nestlé, Mars, and Hershey. But the massive influence of this industry has led to significant forest loss to plant cocoa trees.

This graphic shows the leading producers of cocoa, based on data from the UN FAO.

Global Hotspots for Cocoa Production

Below, we break down the top cocoa producing countries as of 2022:

Country2022 Production, Tonnes
🇨🇮 Côte d'Ivoire2.2M
🇬🇭 Ghana1.1M
🇮🇩 Indonesia667K
🇪🇨 Ecuador337K
🇨🇲 Cameroon300K
🇳🇬 Nigeria280K
🇧🇷 Brazil274K
🇵🇪 Peru171K
🇩🇴 Dominican Republic76K
🌍 Other386K

With 2.2 million tonnes of cocoa in 2022, Côte d’Ivoire is the world’s largest producer, accounting for a third of the global total.

For many reasons, the cocoa trade in Côte d’Ivoire and Western Africa has been controversial. Often, farmers make about 5% of the retail price of a chocolate bar, and earn $1.20 each day. Adding to this, roughly a third of cocoa farms operate on forests that are meant to be protected.

As the third largest producer, Indonesia produced 667,000 tonnes of cocoa with the U.S., Malaysia, and Singapore as major importers. Overall, small-scale farmers produce 95% of cocoa in the country, but face several challenges such as low pay and unwanted impacts from climate change. Alongside aging trees in the country, these setbacks have led productivity to decline.

In South America, major producers include Ecuador and Brazil. In the early 1900s, Ecuador was the world’s largest cocoa producing country, however shifts in the global marketplace and crop disease led its position to fall. Today, the country is most known for its high-grade single-origin chocolate, with farms seen across the Amazon rainforest.

Altogether, global cocoa production reached 6.5 million tonnes, supported by strong demand. On average, the market has grown 3% annually over the last several decades.

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