George Soros is known as the man who broke the Bank of England, and some of his other trades have won him renown and respect. Investors and analysts alike have closely tracked his investment strategies.
Let's find out why he might find these stocks attractive and whether you should follow his lead and make them a part of your portfolio. It always behooves you to find out what investors such as Soros and Warren Buffett are buying and selling.
According to the latest 13-F filing from Soros Fund Management, as of the end of the third quarter, Soros owned 4.4 million shares of PayPal, which were worth $137 million. The stock is now the ninth largest holding in his portfolio.
Soros may be interested in PayPal because of the company's future potential for growth. On average, analysts expect it to grow earnings 16.8% per year over the next five years.
For the third quarter, PayPal's first as an independently traded company following its spinoff from eBay, the company reported record revenue of $2.26 billion, but the number was slightly weaker than the average analyst estimate of $2.27 billion. Adjusted earnings per share of 31 cents did beat the analyst consensus of 29 cents, however.
Digital payments, the area where PayPal operates, is an exciting growth sector. Traditional cash, credit card and debit payments total about $13 trillion a year, according to this InvestorPlace article that cites analysis by Accenture. As more of those payments shift into the digital space, companies such as PayPal stand to gain, the article also suggests.
PayPal's mobile Venmo app is seeing transaction volumes triple, which shows how strong this company's growth prospects are. PayPal has other strong digital offerings, including Braintree and Xoom.
Another big name associated with PayPal is activist investor Carl Icahn. After convincing eBay to spin off PayPal as a separate company, Icahn dumped all his holdings in the former and now holds a stake in PayPal that is worth $1.65 billion.
PayPal has a price-to-earnings ratio of 23.5, based on earnings estimates for the next year. That's higher than the forward P/E for the S&P 500, which is 17.4. But given that PayPal could see hot long-term growth, the valuation is probably merited.
Soros would have reasons aplenty to buy the 360,429 shares of Intuit that he purchased in the most recent quarter.
To start with, the tax and accounting software company recorded revenues of $713 million in its first fiscal quarter, which ended Oct. 31. That was up 17% year over year. Its operating loss for the quarter at $29 million came in much lower than management forecasts of $95 million to $100 million. The performance was helped by an accounting change the company has made, according to this Motley Fool article.
What's more, Intuit, which is best known for its TurboTax product, has increased its forecast for adjusted earnings per share in fiscal 2016, which ends next October, to $3.45-$3.50 per share, as against $3.40-$3.45 per share earlier.
Another factor bolstering the company is the robust 57% growth in subscribers of QuickBooks Online.
This stock is a regular dividend payer, but you want to buy it for its growth story. It's well-suited for a long-term growth portfolio based on value criteria.
3. CIT Group
Soros bought more than $112 million worth of CIT Group stock. After this bank stock spiked to $46 in October, it gave up some of those gains and is trading between $42 and $43.
In the most recent quarter, the bank holding company's net interest revenue was $271.1 million, more than double the $119.4 million in the year-earlier quarter. Diluted earnings per share grew to $3.61 in the latest quarter from $2.76 a year before and were much higher than the 71 cents that analysts were expecting on average.
For the future, analysts too seem to be fairly bullish on the stock. There are 12 ratings of strong buy or buy on the stock and seven hold ratings.
Among hedge funds, 28 tracked by Insider Monkey held long positions in the third quarter in CIT Group. Although this was sequentially lower by 15%, Insider Monkey said an "upper tier" of important hedge fund managers were either building on their holdings or had already accumulated large positions.
CIT Group is an undervalued stock that can scale new heights with its strong fundamentals.
Did you know there are certain swift-moving, opportunistic stocks that master investors Soros, Buffett and others bought to kick-start their wealth early in their careers? But now these Wall Street stars can't invest in these stocks anymore; they're too wealthy. But you can! If you're a non-billionaire, these stocks can change your whole life. Take a look.