SFM's biggest buy last quarter was retail behemoth Wal-Mart (WMT), the biggest retailer in the world with almost $450 billion in revenues across more than 10,000 stores. Soros wasn't alone in loving Wal-Mart -- before his firm filed their 13F, Wal-Mart was already hedge funds' favorite consumer stock for last quarter.
But Soros' toe-dipping into this position makes it a standout. SFM picked up 4.83 million shares of WMT in the second quarter, picking up a stake worth $337 billion at last count.>>5 Huge Stocks Set to Slingshot Higher Wal-Mart has established itself as the world's price leader, carving out a challenging but lucrative niche in retail. Wal-Mart's model is built on scale -- without the scale to pull off pricing power with suppliers, WMT couldn't pull it off. But the firm does, and it manages to move mountains of products at small, predictable margins each quarter. With the economy continuing to be a headline-grabbing rollercoaster, Wal-Mart's positioning at the bottom of the retail chain should continue to look attractive. Meanwhile, international growth is clearly the place where WMT has the most room for improvement. The firm's overseas stores, located in 26 countries, have historically been a drag on earnings, and they continue to underperform their domestic counterparts. The U.S. business is pretty predictable, but if WMT can find a fix for its international problems, it would be a coup for patient shareholders. Wal-Mart also shows up in Renaissance Technologies' portfolio as of the most recently reported period and is one of Warren Buffett's holdings.
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