Shares to buy, hold or sell: Garrett Fish


US semiconductor manufacturer Broadcom has been a favourite of Fish since he bought into the firm for around $26 (£16) per share in 2009.

A major supplier of hardware for wired and wireless networks across the globe, Broadcom has since seen its share price soar and now stands at just over $40.

The main reason behind Fish's current enthusiasm for the company was its decision to close down its struggling 'baseband' business to focus on faster-growing divisions.

"Although the US is one of the fastest-growing developed markets it still has low economic growth - so corporate self-help, whether through mergers and acquisitions or management focusing on optimising current operations, is important," says Fish.

He says the business also boasts some favourable metrics including a price/earnings ratio of just 12.6, falling to 11.3 in 2016, as well as "significant market share" in data centres and corporate and wireless networking.

"We bought more in June, and we have been increasing our position as we think the capital appreciation rate over the next 12 to 18 months is among the highest around. We think [the share price] can probably get to $50," Fish claims.


Fish's ninth-largest holding at 1.7% of the portfolio is Time Warner, one of the world's largest and most profitable media conglomerates.

He is pleased with the direction of the firm, another 'corporate self-help' story, which spun out its slower-growing publishing arm, Time Inc., in June.

"I like Time Warner from a fundamental standpoint on what it is doing: focusing on its core assets. It has good media assets and [growth is] just a function of increasing the distribution of those assets," says Fish.

However, the manager is holding rather than buying, as the firm's future currently hangs in the balance following an aggressive bid from Rupert Murdoch's 21st Century Fox.

In a move broadly welcomed by investors, Fox made a bid 25% above Time Warner's then share price in July; however, Time Warner management refused to enter negotiations.

In refusing Murdoch's bid, Fish says Time Warner walked away from significant cost savings, and that as a result the firm will now need to deliver in order to reassure investors.

"Management now has its feet to the fire, as shareholders will be saying, 'OK, you refused to talk to Fox, so now you have to prove to us that you are better off standalone than as part of a merger where there are pretty easy synergies to cut.'

"That's why we're holding on: there is latent value there but we think the management team is under heightened pressure to perform.

"It is going to have to report better numbers and continue to focus on cost-cutting to show it is better off alone," warns Fish.


Fish bought into General Motors during its initial public offering (IPO) in late 2010, following a bankruptcy action that saw the 106-year-old automobile manufacturer shed several brands and dramatically restructure its balance sheet.

Alongside the benefits of lower debt and reduced costs, Fish says he also saw strong potential in the company as part of the US's then nascent housing recovery, as sales of "pick-up trucks" tend to correlate with housing booms and GM had a new model in the pipeline.

Initially GM's share price tanked from $34 per share at its IPO to a low of $19 in June 2012, but in late 2012 news that the firm was being re-admitted to the S&P 500 index sent shares on a steady rise back to a high of $40 last December.

However, Fish believes that much of the upside has now been seen, particularly in terms of the US housing market recovery, while competition from European manufacturers is increasing.

"We're selling as the story has played out; the housing market is moderating, while overall US vehicle sales are very close to past peaks - the August number was around 17.5 million on a seasonally adjusted rate and prior peaks in 2000 and 2005 were around 18 million.

"Competition is also fierce in almost every segment of the market, so customers will be switching, and firms have to spend more marketing dollars so profitability goes down. Everything has to go right for GM to be a good stock from here, and for a highly cyclical company that's very rare," says Fish.

This feature was written for our sister publication Money Observer