U.S. Markets close in 4 hrs 23 mins

Ruane Cunniff Sells Berkshire and Praxair, Exits Walmart

- By Tiziano Frateschi

Ruane, Cunniff & Goldfarb Inc. was founded by William Ruane, and Ruane Cunniff ( Trades , Portfolio )'s current investment committee is directed by Richard Cunniff. He manages a portfolio composed of 92 stocks with a total value of $10.642 billion. During the fourth quarter the guru sold shares in the following stocks:


The guru reduced its holding in Berkshire Hathaway Inc. Class A (BRK.A) by 19.71% with an impact of -2.39% on the portfolio.

It is a conglomerate holding company owning subsidiaries engaged in a number of business activities including property and casualty insurance and reinsurance, utilities and energy, finance, manufacturing, service and retailing.

GuruFocus gives the stock a profitability and growth rating of 7 out of 10. While the return on equity (ROE) of 9.05% is underperforming the sector, the return on assets (ROA) of 4.07% is outperforming 75% of the companies in the Global Insurance - Diversified industry. Financial strength has a rating of 7 out of 10 with a cash to debt of 0.85.

The largest shareholder among the gurus is Tom Russo (Trades, Portfolio) with 0.3% of outstanding shares followed by Ruane Cunniff with 0.29%, Chris Davis (Trades, Portfolio) with 0.26%, First Eagle Investment (Trades, Portfolio) with 0.09%, Charles de Vaulx (Trades, Portfolio) with 0.08%, Tweedy Browne (Trades, Portfolio) with 0.07%, Tom Gayner (Trades, Portfolio) with 0.07%, Tweedy Browne Global Value with 0.03% and Jim Simons (Trades, Portfolio) with 0.03%.

The guru reduced its position in Praxair Inc. (PX) by 78.25% with an impact of -1.73% on the portfolio.

The company is engaged in the production, distribution and sale of atmospheric and process gases and surface coatings in North America, Europe, South America and Asia. Its products include oxygen, helium, nitrogen and specialty gases among others. Fourth-quarter sales grew 2% year over year, and operating profit was 4% below the prior-year quarter.

GuruFocus gives the stock a profitability and growth rating of 7 out of 10. The ROE of 30.39% and ROA of 7.78% are outperforming 75% of the companies in the Global Specialty Chemicals industry. Financial strength has a rating of 5 out of 10. The cash to debt of 0.06 is below the industry median of 0.72.

First Eagle Investment is the largest shareholder among the gurus with 1.42% of outstanding shares followed by Davis with 1.04%, PRIMECAP Management (Trades, Portfolio) with 0.54%, Diamond Hill Capital (Trades, Portfolio) with 0.36%, Simons with 0.14%, Ruane Cunniff with 0.12% and Wallace Weitz (Trades, Portfolio) with 0.07%.

The investor reduced its shares of Mohawk Industries Inc. (MHK) by 25.27%. The trade had an impact of -1.17% on the portfolio.

It is a flooring manufacturer that creates products to enhance residential and commercial spaces around the world. The company's segments are: Carpet, Ceramic and Laminate and Wood. During the fourth quarter net earnings were $234 million and diluted earnings per share (EPS) was $3.13, an increase of 22% versus the prior year.

GuruFocus gives the stock a profitability and growth rating of 8 out of 10. The ROE of 17.34% and ROA of 9.09% are outperforming 80% of the companies in the Global Home Furnishings and Fixtures industry. Financial strength has a rating of 6 out of 10. The cash to debt of 0.05 is below the industry median of 1.07.

The largest shareholder among the gurus is Ruane Cunniff with 2.48% of outstanding shares followed by Daniel Loeb (Trades, Portfolio) with 1.62%, David Tepper (Trades, Portfolio) with 0.85%, Steven Cohen (Trades, Portfolio) with 0.59%, Eric Mindich (Trades, Portfolio) with 0.56%, Ron Baron (Trades, Portfolio) with 0.44%, Simons with 0.44% and John Rogers (Trades, Portfolio) with 0.37%.

The guru reduced its holding in Fastenal Co. (FAST) by 18.01%; the trade had an impact of -0.81% on the portfolio.

The company is engaged in the wholesale distribution of industrial and construction supplies in North America. The company offers bolts, nuts, screws, studs and related washers and miscellaneous supplies and hardware.

GuruFocus gives the stock a profitability and growth rating of 8 out of 10. The ROE of 26.76% and ROA of 18.81% are outperforming 94% of the companies in the Global Industrial Distribution industry. Financial strength has a rating of 8 out of 10. The cash to debt of 0.29 is below the industry median of 0.89.

David Rolfe (Trades, Portfolio) is another notable shareholder among the gurus with 0.86% of outstanding shares followed by Mairs and Power (Trades, Portfolio) with 0.75%, Baron with 0.64%, Diamond Hill Capital with 0.19% and Cohen with 0.06%.

The investor exited its position in Walmart Stores Inc. (WMT) with an impact of -0.61% on the portfolio.

The company operates retail stores in various formats under various banners. Its operations comprise of three reportable business segments, Walmart U.S., Walmart International and Sam's Club, in three categories: retail, wholesale and others. Total revenues grew 1.0%, but net sales decreased 5.1%. It generated $11.9 billion in operating cash flow and returned $3.6 billion to shareholders through dividends and share repurchases.

GuruFocus gives the stock a profitability and growth rating of 7 out of 10. The ROE of 17.59% and ROA of 6.81% are outperforming 77% of the companies in the Global Discount Stores industry. Financial strength has a rating of 6 out of 10. The cash to debt of 0.15 is below the industry median of 0.48.

The largest shareholder among the gurus is Dodge & Cox with 0.71% of outstanding shares followed by Bill Gates (Trades, Portfolio) with 0.38%, Ken Fisher (Trades, Portfolio) with 0.17%, Richard Pzena (Trades, Portfolio) with 0.16%, Barrow, Hanley, Mewhinney & Strauss with 0.14% and Simons with 0.13%.

The investor reduced its stake of Primerica Inc. (PRI) by 25.11% with an impact of -0.5% on the portfolio.

It is a distributor of financial products to middle income households in the U.S. and Canada. The company assists its clients in terms of life insurance, mutual funds, annuities and other financial products.

GuruFocus gives the stock a profitability and growth rating of 8 out of 10. The ROE of 18.23% and ROA of 1.97% are outperforming 76% of the companies in the Global Insurance - Life industry. Financial strength has a rating of 6 out of 10. The cash to debt of 0.24 is below the industry median of 8.67.

Another notable shareholder among the gurus is Baron with 6.41% of outstanding shares followed by Glenn Greenberg (Trades, Portfolio) with 3.52%, RS Investment Management (Trades, Portfolio) with 2.73%, Simons with 0.84%, Paul Tudor Jones (Trades, Portfolio) with 0.04% and David Dreman (Trades, Portfolio) with 0.02%.

The guru reduced its shares of JPMorgan Chase & Co. (JPM) by 49.55% with an impact of -0.31% on the portfolio.

The company is a financial services firm and a banking institution. Its segments are Consumer and Community Banking, Corporate and Investment Bank, Commercial Banking and Asset Management. Fourth-quarter net income was $6.7 billion compared to $400 million in a quarter before and $1.3 billion in the same quarter of a year before. The company reported earnings per share of $1.71 compared to 13 cents in the third quarter and 39 cents in the fourth quarter of the prior year.

GuruFocus gives the stock a profitability and growth rating of 7 out of 10. The ROE of 9.17% and ROA of 1.01% are outperforming 56% of the companies in the Global Banks - Global industry. Financial strength has a rating of 6 out of 10 with cash to debt of 11.31 is above the industry median of 1.88.

The largest shareholder among the gurus is Dodge & Cox with 0.75% of outstanding shares followed by PRIMECAP Management with 0.66%, Barrow, Hanley, Mewhinney & Strauss with 0.62%, Davis with 0.47%, Fisher with 0.39%, T Rowe Price Equity Income Fund (Trades, Portfolio) with 0.29% and Bill Nygren (Trades, Portfolio) with 0.17%.

Disclosure: I do not own any shares of any stocks mentioned in this article.

Start a free seven-day trial of Premium Membership to GuruFocus.

This article first appeared on GuruFocus.