Although its shares are down 1.5% this year, Halliburton on Monday reported that fourth-quarter earnings more than doubled from a year earlier because of international demand as well as record U.S. revenue on the industry's rush to exploit shale formations in North America.
Halliburton said revenue and earnings growth will continue through 2011 as high oil prices drive demand for drilling and oil-rig services globally. Its shares gained 37% in 2010, more than twice that of the S&P 500.
Another new portfolio addition to Cambiar in the most recent reporting period was oil-field-services provider Key Energy (KEG), now at 5.3% of the fund. Key's shares gained 48% in 2010 but are down 6.3% this year. Last week, FBR Capital reiterated its "outperform" rating on the company and raised its price target to $16 from $13, citing "favorable secular trends."
Other top holdings of Cambiar include: international oil-and-gas firm Repsol YPF (REP), at 8.3%, and Flextronics International (FLEX), a Singapore-based electronics-assembly contractor, which is 7.5% of the fund.But the fund's returns this year have been buttressed by Canadian transportation conglomerate Bombardier (BBD.B), up 18%; On Semiconductor (ONNN), up 14%; and European Aeronautic Defense (EAD), up 19%. Another large-cap fund off to a quick start is the $2 billion AllianceBernstein Large Cap Growth Fund (APGAX), up 6% this year and 21% over the past 12 months. It's counting on technology darlings Apple (AAPL), the maker of the iPad and iPhone, at 7.5% of the fund, and the Internet search engine Google (GOOG), 5.2% of the fund. Others in its top five include Alcon (ACL), a leading maker of an array of eye-care products, investment bank JPMorgan Chase (JPM) and oil-field-services giant Schlumberger (SLB), all about 4% of the fund. Schlumberger recently reported that fourth-quarter earnings rose 31%, and its results and that of Halliburton support the view that the oil-field-services sector is poised for a strong growth spurt on expectations that oil will top $100 a barrel this year. AllianceBernstein has a volatile performance record and is coming off a particularly poor 2010, when it returned 9.4% versus the S&P 500's 15%. That put it in the 93rd percentile of large-cap funds, as ranked by Morningstar. Another strong performer so far this year is Guinness Atkinson Alternative Energy Fund (GAAEX), up 8.7%. It's a strict play on alternative-energy stocks and, in particular, solar-energy companies. It may be serving as a counterpoint to rising oil and gas prices for some investors, but its long-term prospects are what attract most investors to the $38 million fund.
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