BOSTON -- Many of the most highly rated mutual funds sought solace and safety in conservative large-company stocks last year as the European sovereign debt crisis dragged on.
Morningstar, the mutual-fund and stock-rating firm, regularly tracks the top holdings and portfolio changes of 26 of its highly rated funds run by veteran managers, including Donald Yacktman's Yacktman Fund (YACKX), Bruce Berkowitz's Fairholme Fund (FAIRX), William Browne's Tweedy, Browne Value (TWEBX) and Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway (BRK.B), a holding company.
Morningstar comes up with a short list of the most widely held stocks of the 26 funds and then whittles it down using its own stock ratings to end up with a portfolio of 10 stocks for what it calls the "ultimate stock pickers."
So the 10 stocks are all ultra-conservative picks and it seems clear these funds were trying to minimize downside risk well into the fourth quarter as the sovereign debt crisis raged, and there was lots of doom and gloom in the air at home.
Such stodginess may be why many of these stocks are lagging the S&P 500's 7.7% gain this year.
Here, then, are 10 stocks that are the most popular with the 26 funds that make up the "ultimate stock pickers" team, per Morningstar, in inverse order of the number of funds in the group that hold them:
To see these stocks in action, visit the 10 Companies in the "Ultimate Stock Pickers" Portfolio portfolio on Stockpickr.
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