Oakmark Fund: Second Quarter 2016
June 30, 2016
The Oakmark Fund increased 1% in the second quarter of 2016, lagging behind the 2% gain for the S&P 500 Index. News of the U.K.’s decision to leave the European Union, known as Brexit, brought substantial volatility late in the quarter, and our financial holdings were pressured by fears of slower global growth and stubbornly low interest rates. At Oakmark, we evaluate businesses by summing the present value of their future cash flows, which we believe will only be minimally affected by the Brexit. We view this vote as a short-term dislocation that could actually provide buying opportunities for patient, long-term investors. Although our financial holdings were hurt toward the end of the quarter, we continue to think these are among the most attractive names in the Oakmark portfolio. Large financial institutions are in much better shape now than they were during the financial crisis of 2008-2009. We believe they are better capitalized and that most have developed a leaner cost structure and lower risk profile. On a more positive note, energy commodity prices increased significantly during the quarter, and our energy holdings benefited from this favorable pricing trend.
Our biggest contributing sectors were energy and health care, and our worst contributing sectors were consumer discretionary and industrials. Our top individual contributors were LinkedIn, Halliburton and Apache, and our worst contributing securities were Fiat Chrysler, Apple and State Street. LinkedIn was a new holding for the Fund in the second quarter, so we’ve included a brief summary below. We eliminated our position in Franklin Resources during the second quarter following a reduction in our estimate of its intrinsic value, which made the stock less attractive than other alternatives. The decline in intrinsic value was related to product-specific performance issues, as well as a reduction in our outlook for active-management asset flows.
We initiated a position in LinkedIn, the world’s leading professional social network, after the stock declined precipitously in reaction to weaker-than-expected full-year revenue guidance. In our view, the sell-off in LinkedIn’s stock, in which it shed nearly half of its value in one day, was a severe over-reaction when measured against the company’s strong long-term growth potential, its unrivaled competitive position and the attractive economics of its core Software as a Service (SaaS) offerings. Powered by network effects as well as the quality and breadth of its member data, LinkedIn pioneered the concept of “passive recruiting” at a previously unattainable scale, drawing from its approximately 430 million members. In doing so, LinkedIn created a unique, highly profitable subscription-based suite of services that enables corporations to search and communicate with talent, post jobs and market their own enterprises. At our initial purchase price, LinkedIn appeared substantially undervalued relative to other business service and Internet companies on an enterprise value-to-sales ratio. However, the high margins of its core employment services business were being masked by heavy investment spending in earlier stage adjacent businesses, which drastically reduced its reported earnings. In our assessment, we were able to purchase LinkedIn’s still rapidly growing core business at a highly discounted valuation while essentially treating the other investments as cheap call options. On June 13, Microsoft announced an agreement to acquire LinkedIn for $196 per share, a price that is consistent with our thesis and estimate of fair value. While it’s unusual for one of our holdings to reach our estimate of fair value so quickly after purchase, we’re obviously pleased when a strategic buyer sees the same value that we do.
William C. Nygren, CFA
Kevin G. Grant, CFA
Average Annual Total Returns (06/30/16)
Since Inception (08/91) 12.28%
Expense Ratio as of 9/30/15 was 0.85%
Past performance is no guarantee of future results. The performance data quoted represents past performance. Current performance may be lower or higher than the performance data quoted. The investment return and principal value vary so that an investor’s shares when redeemed may be worth more or less than the original cost. To obtain the most recent month-end performance data, view it here.
The holdings mentioned above comprise the following percentages of the Oakmark Fund’s total net assets as of 06/30/16: LinkedIn Corp. 1.6%, Halliburton Co. 1.6%, Apache Corp. 2.8%, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles N.V. 1.0%, Apple, Inc. 2.0%, State Street Corp. 2.1%, and Franklin Resources, Inc. 0%. Portfolio holdings are subject to change without notice and are not intended as recommendations of individual stocks.
Click here to access the full list of holdings for The Oakmark Fund as of the most recent quarter-end.
The S&P 500 Total Return Index is a market capitalization-weighted index of 500 large-capitalization stocks commonly used to represent the U.S. equity market. All returns reflect reinvested dividends and capital gains distributions. This index is unmanaged and investors cannot invest directly in this index.
The Oakmark Fund’s portfolio tends to be invested in a relatively small number of stocks. As a result, the appreciation or depreciation of any one security held by the Fund will have a greater impact on the Fund’s net asset value than it would if the Fund invested in a larger number of securities. Although that strategy has the potential to generate attractive returns over time, it also increases the Fund’s volatility.
The discussion of the Fund’s investments and investment strategy (including current investment themes, the portfolio managers' research and investment process, and portfolio characteristics) represents the Fund’s investments and the views of the portfolio managers and Harris Associates L.P., the Fund’s investment adviser, at the time of this letter, and are subject to change without notice.