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Bill Frels Adds to Stake in American Express

As the portfolio manager at Mairs & Power, Bill Frels (Trades, Portfolio) was in a position to influence the firm's investing philosophy. He is recently retired but still serves the firm as chairman of its investment committee. That's quite a responsibility - as well as an endorsement of his skill - considering that Mairs & Power delivered returns of 8.12% in 2014, 35.64% in 2013 and 21.91% in 2012.


Frels increased his position in 60 companies in the second quarter. He raised his stake in American Express Co. (AXP), a financial services company based in Manhattan, by more than 300%, purchasing 316,810 shares for an average price of $79.32 per share. The transaction had a 0.35% impact on Frels' portfolio.

American Express has a market cap of $74.29 billion and an enterprise value of $110.44 billion. It has a P/E of 13.0, a Price/Book of 3.4 and a Price/Sales of 2.3. Warren Buffett (Trades, Portfolio), Chris Davis (Trades, Portfolio), James Barrow (Trades, Portfolio), First Eagle Investment (Trades, Portfolio), Ken Fisher (Trades, Portfolio), Jeff Ubben (Trades, Portfolio), Jeremy Grantham (Trades, Portfolio), Brian Rogers (Trades, Portfolio), Bill Nygren (Trades, Portfolio), Mario Gabelli (Trades, Portfolio), Pioneer Investments (Trades, Portfolio), Ruane Cunniff (Trades, Portfolio), Sarah Ketterer (Trades, Portfolio), PRIMECAP Management (Trades, Portfolio), Tom Gayner (Trades, Portfolio), Paul Tudor Jones (Trades, Portfolio), Tweedy Browne (Trades, Portfolio), Dodge & Cox, Tom Russo (Trades, Portfolio), John Rogers (Trades, Portfolio), Mark Hillman (Trades, Portfolio), David Dreman (Trades, Portfolio), Jeff Auxier (Trades, Portfolio), Joel Greenblatt (Trades, Portfolio) and Lee Ainslie (Trades, Portfolio) have shares of American Express in their portfolios.

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Frels also added to his existing stake in Stratasys Ltd. (SSYS), a Minnesota-based manufacturer of 3D printers and production systems. Frels acquired 453,890 shares for an average price of $42.12 per share. The deal had a 0.22% impact on his portfolio.

Stratasys has a market cap of $1.47 billion and an enterprise value of $1.29 billion. It has a Price/Book of 0.7 and a Price/Sales of 1.9. Frels is the leading shareholder in Stratasys among the gurus; PRIMECAP Management (Trades, Portfolio), Mario Gabelli (Trades, Portfolio), Chuck Royce (Trades, Portfolio) and Louis Moore Bacon (Trades, Portfolio) have shares of Stratasys in their portfolios.

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Frels bought stakes in five companies in the second quarter - Raven Industries Inc. (RAVN), iShares Russell Midcap Index Fund (ETF) [IWR], iShares Gold Trust (ETF) [IAU], iShares MSCI Emerging Markets Index (ETF) [EEM] and WEC Energy Group Inc. (WEC).

In his most significant new purchase, Frels acquired 130,284 shares of Raven Industries, a Sioux Falls, S.D. maker of plastic, electronic and "special apparel" products, for an average price of $20.24 per share. The purchase had a 0.04% impact on Frels' portfolio.

Raven Industries has a market cap of $640.13 million and an enterprise value of $601.41 million. It has a P/E of 29.5, a Price/Book of 2.2 and a Price/Sales of 2.0. Chuck Royce (Trades, Portfolio), Jim Simons (Trades, Portfolio), Mario Gabelli (Trades, Portfolio) and Donald Yacktman (Trades, Portfolio) have shares of Raven Industries in their portfolios.

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Reductions and divestitures

Frels sold 10 stakes in his portfolio, the most significant being the sale of his 53,900-share stake in Murphy Oil Corp. (MUR), an El Dorado, Ark.-based oil and gas company, for an average price of $45.53 per share. The deal had a -0.03% impact on Frels' portfolio.

Murphy Oil has a market cap of $4.91 billion and an enterprise value of $6.89 billion. It has a P/E of 9.6, a Price/Book of 0.6 and a Price/Sales of 1.1. Mason Hawkins (Trades, Portfolio), HOTCHKIS & WILEY, Richard Pzena (Trades, Portfolio), James Barrow (Trades, Portfolio), Brian Rogers (Trades, Portfolio), Jeremy Grantham (Trades, Portfolio), Steven Cohen (Trades, Portfolio), Jim Simons (Trades, Portfolio), Ray Dalio (Trades, Portfolio), First Eagle Investment (Trades, Portfolio), Paul Tudor Jones (Trades, Portfolio), RS Investment Management (Trades, Portfolio) and David Dreman (Trades, Portfolio) have shares of Murphy Oil in their portfolios.

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Frels sold portions of 85 existing stakes in his portfolio. He sold 330,219 shares of his stake in Toro Co. (TTC), a Bloomington, Minn.-based maker of lawn mowers, snow blowers and irrigation systems, for an average price of $68.63 per share. The sale had a -032% impact on Frels' portfolio.

Toro has a market cap of $3.83 billion and an enterprise value of $3.83 billion. It has a P/E of 21.5, a Price/Book of 8.3 and a Price/Sales of 1.8. Frels is Toro's top shareholder among the gurus; Columbia Wanger (Trades, Portfolio), Ken Fisher (Trades, Portfolio), Chuck Royce (Trades, Portfolio), Diamond Hill Capital (Trades, Portfolio), Jim Simons (Trades, Portfolio), Pioneer Investments (Trades, Portfolio), Mario Gabelli (Trades, Portfolio), Jeremy Grantham (Trades, Portfolio), Paul Tudor Jones (Trades, Portfolio) and First Pacific Advisors (Trades, Portfolio) have shares of Toro in their portfolios.

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A wetter-than-normal spring and preorders for snow equipment helped Toro exceed summer profit expectations by 3 cents.

Frels also sold part of his stake in Western Union Co. (WU), a Meridian,Colo.-based financial services and communications company. Frels sold 1,044,800 shares for an average price of $21.28 per share. The deal had a -0.3% impact on Frels' portfolio.

Western Union has a market cap of $9.13 billion and an enterprise value of $9.79 billion. It has a P/E of 11.1, a Price/Book of 7.1 and a Price/Sales of 1.7. David Abrams (Trades, Portfolio), John Rogers (Trades, Portfolio), Brian Rogers (Trades, Portfolio), Joel Greenblatt (Trades, Portfolio), Jim Simons (Trades, Portfolio), Scott Black (Trades, Portfolio), Jeff Auxier (Trades, Portfolio), Bernard Horn (Trades, Portfolio), Mark Hillman (Trades, Portfolio), Ray Dalio (Trades, Portfolio), Chuck Royce (Trades, Portfolio), David Dreman (Trades, Portfolio) and Paul Tudor Jones (Trades, Portfolio) have shares of Western Union in their portfolios.

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On Aug. 31, Western Union announced it is once again able to transfer money - up to ?500 (about $563.24 in U.S. currency) from Greece. That service was suspended two months ago after Greece's banks were shut to curb mass cash withdrawals.

Frels sold 832,707 shares of General Electric Co. (GE), a Schenectady, N.Y.-based conglomerate, for an average price of $27.03 per share. The transaction had a -0.28% impact on Frels' portfolio.

General Electric has a market cap of $242.42 billion and an enterprise value of $373.26 billion. It has a Price/Book of 2.2 and a Price/Sales of 1.7. Dodge & Cox, Brian Rogers (Trades, Portfolio), Ken Fisher (Trades, Portfolio), Bill Nygren (Trades, Portfolio), Manning & Napier Advisors, Inc., Warren Buffett (Trades, Portfolio), First Pacific Advisors (Trades, Portfolio), Steven Romick (Trades, Portfolio), Pioneer Investments (Trades, Portfolio), NWQ Managers (Trades, Portfolio), Tom Gayner (Trades, Portfolio), James Barrow (Trades, Portfolio), Mario Gabelli (Trades, Portfolio), Jana Partners (Trades, Portfolio), Chris Davis (Trades, Portfolio), Robert Olstein (Trades, Portfolio), Ruane Cunniff (Trades, Portfolio), Steven Cohen (Trades, Portfolio), John Buckingham (Trades, Portfolio), Murray Stahl (Trades, Portfolio), David Dreman (Trades, Portfolio), Jeff Auxier (Trades, Portfolio), Michael Price (Trades, Portfolio), Kahn Brothers (Trades, Portfolio), Richard Snow (Trades, Portfolio), John Keeley (Trades, Portfolio), First Eagle Investment (Trades, Portfolio) and Tom Russo (Trades, Portfolio) have shares of General Electric in their portfolios.

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Frels reduced his position in Target Corp. (TGT), a discount retailer based in Minneapolis, selling 242,177 shares for an average price of $80.95 per share. The sale had a -0.27% impact on his portfolio.

Target has a market cap of $47.92 billion and an enterprise value of $57.9 billion. It has a Price/Book of 3.5 and a Price/Sales of 0.7. James Barrow (Trades, Portfolio), Dodge & Cox, HOTCHKIS & WILEY, NWQ Managers (Trades, Portfolio), Richard Snow (Trades, Portfolio), Joel Greenblatt (Trades, Portfolio), Pioneer Investments (Trades, Portfolio), Steven Cohen (Trades, Portfolio), John Hussman (Trades, Portfolio), Manning & Napier Advisors, Inc, John Buckingham (Trades, Portfolio), Ray Dalio (Trades, Portfolio), Caxton Associates (Trades, Portfolio), Mark Hillman (Trades, Portfolio), Ken Fisher (Trades, Portfolio), Paul Tudor Jones (Trades, Portfolio) and John Burbank (Trades, Portfolio) have shares of Target in their portfolios.

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This article first appeared on GuruFocus.