NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Some of the holdings that are bringing investors like Warren Buffett, George Soros and Dan Loeb holiday cheer this winter might surprise you. It's not only the sexy stocks like Apple (AAPL) and Google (GOOG) that lift billionaires' portfolios to new heights.
The picks listed below are made up of a mix of longtime under-the-radar outperformers as well as a few equities that have only recently gained momentum; there are new sin-stock buys and small-cap surprises as well, on top of generous dividend players and a few more traditional stocks -- plenty of variety to stuff in your holiday equities stockings.
The one thing that binds them together is that they're all making money for some of the most successful investors of all time. Click through to see which surprising stocks are performing the best for which billionaire investors.
The railcar manufacturer has been a bright spot in what otherwise has been a tough year for Icahn. The investment has registered double-digit gains year-to-date.
With a market cap of just $800 million, the game developer is a much smaller player than the billionaire's better known China-based tech picks, such as Vipshop (VIPS) and Bitauto (BITA) . But while the latter two have stumbled in recent weeks, the former has soared. Case in point: IDreamSky is up nearly 10% over the past month.
Molson Coors fell short of expectations with its latest earnings report in November, but investors -- including Loeb -- may not want to run away yet. Analysts' consensus give the company a hold rating, and its 2% dividend yield is attractive.
As of the third quarter, the Greenlight Capital head holds 4.7 million Take-Two shares, giving the company a 1.57% allocation in his public equity portfolio. Piper Jaffray just lifted its price target on the stock from $25.00 to $32.00, meaning it could climb even higher.
David Tepper's quiet third quarter buy into Lorillard (LO) has the potential to be one of his top investments of the year. The cigarette maker has adeptly maneuvered a business terrain where smoking rates are declining by getting into the e-cigarette game. And in July, news broke that it will be bought out by Reynolds American (RAI) in a deal valued at over $27 billion.
Lorillard has gained about 8% over the past three months and has a 3.85% dividend yield.
The billionaire started out the year with 10,000 shares of the company and subsequently upped his stake to 50,000 in the first quarter and 195,000 in the second quarter. In the third quarter, he reduced his position to 75,000 shares -- likely to book a profit.
WhiteWave Foods (WWAV) impressed Wall Street in November with the announcement that its revenue grew 34% in the third quarter -- much to the benefit of John Paulson, who has owned 1.6 million WhiteWave shares.
WhiteWave acquired Earthbound Farms at the start of 2014 and is the force behind a number of well-known food and beverage brands, including International Delight, Land O'Lakes and Horizon Organic. Its stock has climbed high double-digits over the past year.
A number of billionaires have been along for a profitable ride on airline stocks in 2014, including Tiger Management's Julian Robertson. But one of his top-performing air picks -- Ireland's Ryanair Holdings (RYAAY) -- has flown under the radar.
In Robertson's portfolio since 2009, Ryanair has soared nearly 150% over the past five years and about 35% in 2014 alone. This week, it raised its full-year profit forecast for a second time.
Larry Robbins purchased 906,000 shares of Mohawk Industries (MHK) in the third quarter of the year. And he's not the only billionaire taking note of the flooring company. Steve Mandel, Jorge Lemann and Richard Chilton initiated stakes in the firm in the third quarter, and David Tepper picked up a position in the second quarter.
Mohawk has been gaining momentum in recent weeks, its price climbing nearly 8% over the past month.
Post-IPO life hasn't exactly treated Groupon (GRPN) well, but this year, things seem to be turning around for the discount giant. Billionaire Leon Cooperman has taken note. The Omega Advisors founder purchased 8.8 million Groupon shares in the third quarter and has likely made a gain on his investment, given that the stock has climbed about 6% over the past three months about 36% in the past six.
Groupon made serious bank on sales from Black Friday through Cyber Monday -- a nice holiday boost for Cooperman.
The three have well outperformed the SPDR Gold Trust ETF (GLD) , which has been about flat over the same period.
Express Scripts Holding Company (ESRX) became just one of four health care stocks in Warren Buffett's investment portfolio in the third quarter, joining DaVita (DVA) , Sanofi (SNY) and Johnson & Johnson (JNJ) .
The company reached a new lifetime high in late November and as of market close yesterday has gained nearly 10% in just one month.