Fresh Picks From a Wizened Fund

John Armitage and William Bollinger started Egerton Capital almost 20 years ago, making this firm a dinosaur in the fly-by-night hedge-fund industry. Bollinger has since retired from the London-based fund, leaving Armitage at its helm to manage the firm's $2.6 billion in assets. Highly favoring service-based companies like Visa (V) and MasterCard (MA), the hedge fund recently showed its latest allocations with its fourth-quarter 13F filing (see how they stand next to Egerton's previous 13F). We've sorted the list to identify the top five newest positions that Egerton has tacked on to the portfolio as of December.

First, joining Armitage's list of credit-card holdings is American Express (AXP). The company, which roughly matches MasterCard's market capitalization of $65 billion, is known primarily for its charge- and credit-payment-card products. A number of analysts ranked the stock a buy going into 2012, but the latter half of the year saw downgrades to neutral from the likes of Goldman Sachs and J.P. Morgan. Egerton certainly seems to be rounding out his exposure to credit-card-based firms with this purchase, although AmEx's all-encompassing business model squeezes out more value in the processing chain vs. Visa or MasterCard. (Billionaire Warren Buffett also has a position in AmEx -- an incredible $8.6 billion, via his Berkshire-Hathaway (BRK.A) -- though this isn't even his largest holding.)...393 more words left in this article. To read them, just click below and try Real Money FREE for 14 days.

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