Stocks 20 Billionaires Loved and Hated in the Third Quarter

Clarification: Updated from Nov. 17 at 2:27 p.m. with clarification that Bruce Berkowitz did not necessarily sell his Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae positions, but is instead not required by SEC guidelines to report those holdings.

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Billionaire investors remained generally bullish about stocks in the third quarter despite increasing volatility in the markets. That's according to the latest regulatory filings, known as 13Fs, that were filed by big investors such as Warren Buffett, George Soros and Dan Loeb.

Though average investors should be cautious about copying the so-called "smart money," it's always fun to see what stocks billionaires like and don't like. Here's what 20 billionaires who made their fortunes in the financial markets were buying and selling in the third quarter, according to iBillionaire, a start-up that tracks the portfolios of financial billionaires.

Bye-Bye NFLX, Hello BABA

The big Netflix (NFLX)  run may be slowing - at least according to how billionaires are handling it. Julian Robertson and Chase Coleman cashed out of the streaming media company in the third quarter, and Carl Icahn further reduced his stake as well. George Soros, on the other hand, initiated a position with the purchase of 98,000 shares.

Billionaires did buy into Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba (BABA) . Robertson acquired 1.2 million shares off of BABA's IPO, and the company now makes up 28% of his equity portfolio. David Tepper, George Soros, Thomas Steyer and Dan Loeb jumped on the Alibaba boat as well.

Buffett Picks on the Rise

Billionaire investors apparently had Buffett on the brain in the third quarter. Ray Dalio picked up a $4.5 million stake in his holding company Berkshire Hathaway Class B shares (BRK.B) , and Richard Chilton upped his position in BRK.B to $3.3 million. Chilton also purchased 17 Berkshire Hathaway Class A shares (BRK.A) . 

Chase Coleman doubled his position in long-time Warren Buffett favorite financial services company MasterCard (MA) to $560 million. Fellow tiger cub Steve Mandel increased his MasterCard position to $1.1 billion from $860 million; the credit card giant is now his fourth largest holding. Ray Dalio bought into financial services company American Express (AXP)  and logistics company UPS (UPS)  with the purchase of 224,000 and 149,000 shares, respectively, valued at $19.6 million and $14.7 million at the end of the third quarter.

The Oracle of Omaha himself cashed out of one position - farm and garden equipment company Deere (DE)  - and cut back energy stakes in ConocoPhillips (COP)  and National-Oilwell Varco (NOV) . He increased his stakes in cable company Charter Communications (CHTR) , satellite television company DirecTV (DTV) and car company General Motors (GM) , and initiated a new position in Express Scripts Holding (ESRX) worth $31.7 million. Buffett also requested that at least one of his trades remain secret.

Everybody (Mostly) Still Likes Apple

Billionaires largely hung onto tech giant Apple (AAPL)  stock in the third quarter, though they did start to cash in. Each of the following six billionaires reduced their positions in Apple, Ray Dalio by 6%, Julian Robertson by 9%, George Soros by 37%, David Tepper by 31%, David Einhorn by 3% and Leon Cooperman by 5%. Richard Chilton, on the other hand, bought 3,452 shares. Apple bull Carl Icahn left his allocation untouched at nearly 53 million shares -- a stake valued at $5.3 billion.

Click through to see what stocks these 19 financial billionaires are buying and selling. 

Ray Dalio's two biggest new acquisitions in the third quarter -- American Express (AXP)  and UPS (UPS)  -- are long-time Warren Buffett picks. He bought into Berkshire Hathaway (BRK.B)  during the period as well, picking up nearly 33,000 shares.

Jorge Lemann swapped his bearish bet, a second-quarter put--or option to sell--in SPDR S&P 500 ETF Trust (SPY) a for a bullish 200,000-share position in the ETF in third quarter. 

Thomas Steyer bought into retailers Dollar General (DG) , Dollar Tree (DLTR)  and Family Dollar (FDO)  in Q3, meaning he'll win whoever comes out ahead in the dollar store wars. He bought up 475,000 DG shares, 505,000 DLTR shares and 125,000 FDO shares, meaning he'll win whoever comes out ahead in the dollar store wars.

 

Wilbur Ross cashed out of video technology company Harmonic  (HLIT) , a company he's invested in since Q4 2010, and bought 18,000 shares of Chinese online auto platform Autohome (ATHM) . 

Julian Robertson initiated a 1.2-million-share stake in Alibaba (BABA) , valued at $180 million at the end of Q3. It's now his top allocation. Moreover, two of his top three equity allocations (Alibaba, Gilead Sciences and eBay) are brand new stakes. 

Chase Coleman's top position has remained a 23.5-million-share put the in SPDR S&P Homebuilders ETF (XHB)  across two quarters. 

Warren Buffett sold off all of his nearly 3.98 million Deere (DE)  in Q3, closing out a position he initiated in Q3 2012. In the two years Buffett has owned DE, the company's share price grew 0.44%. DE has also had nine dividend payments in that period. 

It looks like it's still Icahn vs. Ackman on Herbalife (HLF) . Carl Icahn didn't sell a single share of the embattled nutrition company in Q3. 

The health care sector is growing on John Paulson - he's upped stakes in pharmaceutical companies like Actavis (ACT) , Shire (SHPG) , Mallinckrodt (MNK)  and Valeant (VRX) , and he initiated positions in AbbVie (ABBV)  and Repros Therapeutics (RPRX) . Collectively, health care makes up more than 35% of his equity portfolio. His positions in the sector are now worth $8.76 billion.

Steve Mandel boosted his allocations in "aspirational" picks Michael Kors (KORS) , Tiffany (TIF) in Q3 to 15.5 million and 6.8 million shares, respectively. Combined, his KORS and TIF stakes are worth $1.8 billion.

George Soros' top two new buys were Alibaba (BABA)  and online company Yahoo! (YHOO) , which together make up 4.5% of his equity holdings.

Edward Lampert sold off all of his 2.8 million shares in clothing retailer Gap (GPS) . 

David Tepper reduced his stake in airline American Airlines (AAL)  -- one of his biggest moneymakers of the year -- by 37% with the sale of 4.4 million shares. He upped his position in airline Delta (DAL)  by 16% and now holds 7.5 million shares.

David Einhorn's top four stock picks are tech companies -- Micron (MU) , Apple (AAPL) , SunEdison (SUNE)  and Marvell Technology (MRVL) . However, he reduced his positions in all four in Q3 by 24%, 3%. 0.10% and 33%, respectively.

Dan Loeb drastically reduced his stakes in energy companies YPF (YPF) , Williams Companies (WMB)  and Cheniere (LNG) , selling off 65,500, 135,000 and 97,000 shares, respectively. The companies now have a combined 3.3% allocation in his equity portfolio, as opposed to 7.2% in Q2. 

Bruce Berkowitz reported no positions in mortgage servicing companies Fannie Mae (FNMA)  and Freddie Mac (FMCC) ,  citing SEC guidelines that do not require him to do so. His stakes in the companies were previously reported to be worth a combined $1.6 billion.

Bill Ackman left all of his positions untouched in Q3 except for train company Canadian Pacific Railway (CP) , increasing his position by 367,000 shares, and a new stake in animal healthcare company Zoetis (ZTS) , valued at $204 million at the end of Q3.

Richard Chilton boosted his stake in restaurant chain McDonald's (MCD)  to $28 million and slashed his Dollar General (DG)  position to $232,000 from from 51.5 million in Q2.  

Leon Cooperman has taken new positions in struggling companies dEliA*s (DLIA) , a catalog retailer, and Groupon (GRPN) , a local coupon company. 

Medical testing company Thermo Fisher Scientific (TMO)  continues to be Larry Robbins' top holding - a spot it's held since Q1 2013. During the third quarter of this year, he purchased an additional 434,000 shares, increasing to his stake to a total 11.4 million shares. 

This article is commentary by an independent contributor, separate from TheStreet's regular news coverage. At the time of publication, the author held no positions in any of the stocks mentioned.

More from Opinion

3 New Investing Myths That Must Be Busted

3 New Investing Myths That Must Be Busted

Why a Global Stock Market Crash Is Coming

Why a Global Stock Market Crash Is Coming

Sears CEO Eddie Lampert Looks Like He Is Sucking Company Dry

Sears CEO Eddie Lampert Looks Like He Is Sucking Company Dry

Nasdaq Exec: Exchange Is 'All-In' on Using Blockchain Technology

Nasdaq Exec: Exchange Is 'All-In' on Using Blockchain Technology

It's Dumb to Think Legalizing Weed Is Still a Political Issue

It's Dumb to Think Legalizing Weed Is Still a Political Issue