(Story updated to note that Pepsi plans to cut its workforce by 3%, even as its fourth-quarter earnings rose 3.7%.)
BOSTON (TheStreet) -- Many of the most highly rated mutual funds sought solace and safety in conservative large-company stocks last year as the European sovereign debt crisis dragged on.
Morningstar, the mutual-fund and stock-rating firm, regularly tracks the top holdings and portfolio changes of 26 of its highly rated funds run by veteran managers, including Donald Yacktman's Yacktman Fund (YACKX), Bruce Berkowitz's Fairholme Fund (FAIRX), William Browne's Tweedy, Browne Value (TWEBX) and Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway (BRK.B), a holding company.
Morningstar comes up with a short list of the most widely held stocks of the 26 funds and then whittles it down using its own stock ratings to end up with a portfolio of 10 stocks for what it calls the "ultimate stock pickers."The stocks in the latest list have one thing in common: They're mega-cap stocks with market values ranging from ConocoPhillips' (COP) $96 billion, on up to Exxon Mobil's (XOM) $400 billion. The 10 stocks also include a number of reliable consumer-goods providers, including Wal-Mart (WMT), Procter & Gamble (PG), Pepsi (PEP) and Coca-Cola (KO). So the 10 stocks are all ultra-conservative picks and it seems clear these funds were trying to minimize downside risk well into the fourth quarter as the sovereign debt crisis raged, and there was lots of doom and gloom in the air at home. Such stodginess may be why many of these stocks are lagging the S&P 500's 7.7% gain this year. Here, then, are 10 stocks that are the most popular with the 26 funds that make up the "ultimate stock pickers" team, per Morningstar, in inverse order of the number of funds in the group that hold them:
Select the service that is right for you!COMPARE ALL SERVICES
Jim Cramer and Stephanie Link actively manage a real portfolio and reveal their money management tactics while giving advanced notice before every trade.
- $2.5+ million portfolio
- Large-cap and dividend focus
- Intraday trade alerts from Cramer
- Weekly roundups
Jim Cramer's protege, David Peltier, identifies the best of breed dividend stocks that will pay a reliable AND significant income stream.
- Diversified model portfolio of dividend stocks
- Alerts when market news affect the portfolio
- Bi-weekly updates with exact steps to take - BUY, HOLD, SELL
24/7 market commentary from Jim Cramer and 20+ veteran Wall Street gurus. Get access to the latest trading ideas on stocks, options, and ETFs as well as a real-time forum to see the pros exchanging their investment ideas.
- Jim Cramer + 20 Wall Street pros
- Intraday commentary & news
- Real-time trading forum
- Actionable trade ideas
All of Real Money, plus 15 more of Wall Street's sharpest minds delivering actionable trading ideas, a comprehensive look at the market, and fundamental and technical analysis.
- Real Money + Doug Kass + 15 more Wall Street Pros
- Intraday commentary & news
- Ultra-actionable trading ideas
Our options trading pros provide daily market commentary and over 100 monthly option trading ideas and strategies to help you become a well-seasoned trader.
- 100+ monthly options trading ideas
- Actionable options commentary & news
- Real-time trading community
- Options TV