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Zeke Ashton's Top 3 Buys in 2nd Quarter

- By James Li

Zeke Ashton (Trades, Portfolio), managing partner of Centaur Capital Partners, disclosed on Aug. 14 that three of his new positions for the second quarter were Sony Corp. (SNE), Booking Holdings Inc. (BKNG) and Collectors Universe Inc. (CLCT).


Managing a portfolio of 26 stocks, Ashton follows an investment philosophy based on value principles. The guru invests in companies based on several factors, including asset value, cash flow generation, management quality and competitive advantages. Ashton's top three sectors in terms of portfolio weight are financial services, technology and industrials.

Sony

Ashton invested in 84,500 shares of Sony for an average price of $48.66 per share. The guru dedicated 6.9% of his equity portfolio to the position. Sony represents Ashton's third-largest holding.

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The Japanese consumer electronics company develops, designs and manufactures various electronic equipment products, including audio players, smartphones and gaming consoles. Chief Financial Officer Hiroki Totoki said on Aug. 6 that revenues for the quarter ending June 30 were 1.9536 trillion yen ($17.682 billion), up 95.5 billion yen from the prior-year quarter. The revenue increase was primarily driven by a 124 billion yen increase in Gaming & Network Services sales.

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Ashton mentioned in his semiannual report that since 2012, Sony's management has effectively refocused the "sprawling conglomerate" and emphasized the areas where the company has the strongest competitive advantages. GuruFocus ranks Sony's profitability 5 out of 10: even though revenues have declined over the past five years, its return on equity and Joel Greenblatt (Trades, Portfolio) return on capital are outperforming over 90% of global competitors. Positive investing signs include robust interest coverage and a strong Piotroski F-score of 7.

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Booking

Ashton invested in 1,125 shares of Booking for an average price of $2,106 per share. The investor dedicated 3.63% of his equity portfolio to the position.

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Booking provides a wide variety of reservation services through brands like Priceline.com, Booking.com, OpenTable and Rentalcars.com. GuruFocus ranks the Norwalk, Connecticut-based leisure conglomerate's profitability 9 out of 10 on several factors, including a strong Piotroski F-score of 7 and a three-year revenue growth rate that outperforms 84% of global competitors. Booking's business predictability ranks a solid 3.5 stars out of five as the company has moderately consistent revenue and earnings growth over the past 10 years.

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Dodge & Cox, Frank Sands (Trades, Portfolio) and Chase Coleman (Trades, Portfolio)'s Tiger Global Management have the largest holdings in Booking: each have over 600,000 shares as of the latest quarter.

Collectors Universe

Ashton invested in 12,000 shares of Collectors Universe for an average price of $15.52 per share. With this transaction, the guru increased his equity portfolio 0.28%.

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Collectors Universe provides authentication and grading services to dealers and collectors of various high-value memorabilia like coins, trading cards and autographs. The company's profitability ranks 7 out of 10 primarily due to expanding operating margins and returns that outperform over 95% of global competitors. Other positive investing signs include robust interest coverage and a price-sales ratio near a five-year low.

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See also

Ashton's fourth and final buy for the quarter was a 26,000-share holding of the Morgan Stanley China A Share Fund (CAF).

Disclosure: No positions.

This article first appeared on GuruFocus.