Baron Fund's Top 5 Increases of the First Quarter

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In the most recent quarter Ron Baron added 61 new stocks and increased his holdings in 106 companies. Four of the top five increases to Baron Fund's portfolio came from various REITs. In 2012 Baron returned 12.4%. Baron Fund's portfolio now consists of 306 stocks which are valued at over $18.307 billion. The following five stocks make up Baron's top five increases of the quarter.

1. Sunstone Hotel Investors ( SHO )

Ron Baron made his largest increase of the first quarter in Sunstone Hotel Investors, increasing her holdings by 1187.32%. Baron bought 2,153,200 shares at an average price of $11.56 per share. Since that buy the price of Sunstone's shares have increased by 11.8% from the average price.



This marks Baron's second consecutive increase in the company since he purchased it in 2012. Baron currently holds 2,334,550 shares of Sunstone. These holdings make up 0.16% of his total portfolio.

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Sunstone Hotel Investors is a lodging REIT that operates under nationally recognized names such as Marriott, Hyatt and Hilton. The company's portfolio mainly consists of upper upscale hotels in the U.S. It also owns luxury, upscale and upper midscale hotels. The company currently maintains 32 hotels in 14 states.

Sunstone Hotel Investors is currently trading at $21.89 with a P/E ratio of 31.70 and a P/S ratio of 2.10. Sunstone has a market cap of $2.08 billion.

2. Ashford Hospitality Trust ( AHT )

Baron increased his fund's holdings in Ashford Hospitality trust by 956.26%. Baron added 588,100 shares in the first quarter at an average price of $11.71 per share. Baron now owns 649,600 shares of AHT.



Baron's holdings in Ashford make up for a total of 0.044% of his total portfolio. Since his increase, the price per share of Ashford has increased by 12.2%.

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Ashford Hospitality Trust, together with its subsidiaries, is a self-advised REIT focused on investing in the hospitality industry across all segments and in all methods including direct real estate, securities, equity and debt. The company currently operates in two business segments within the hotel lodging industry: direct hotel investments and hotel financing.

Ashford Hospitality Trust has a market cap of $883.3 million. It has a P/S ratio of 1.00 and a P/B ratio of 1.10. The company is currently trading at $13.14 per share. Ashford Hospitality Trust had an annual average earnings growth of 54.9% in the past five years.

3. Brookfield Infrastructure Partners LP ( BIP )

Brookfield Infrastructure is the one company in Baron's top five increases that is not an REIT. Baron increased his holdings in Brookfield by 867.71% by adding a total of 180,050 shares at an average price of $38.08. Since his buy, the company's price per share has increased 0.5% from the average price. This marks the sixth increase in Brookfield, since Baron bought it in 2011.



Baron now holds a total of 200,800 shares of Brookfield which make up a total of 0.042% of Baron Fund's total portfolio.

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Brookfield Infrastructure operates high quality, long-life assets that generate stable cash flows and require relatively minimal maintenance capital expenditures. The company's current business operations consist of the ownership and operation of utilities, transport, energy and timber assets in North and South America, Australasia and Europe.

Brookfield Infrastructure has a market cap of $5.52 billion. It is currently being traded at $38.27 per share with a P/E ratio of 159.70 and a P/S ratio of 0.70. Brookfield had an annual average earnings growth of 111.3% over the past five years.

4. American Tower Corp. ( AMT )

In the first quarter Baron bought 44,400 shares of American Tower, representing a 653.33% increase. The shares traded at an average price of $76.88. Since his buy the price of American Tower has increased 8.9% from Baron's average buying price.



Baron currently holds on to 51,196 shares of American Tower. His holdings in AMT make up a small 0.022% of his total assets managed.

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American Tower is a wireless and broadcast communications infrastructure company that owns, operates and develops communications sites. The company began operating as a REIT for federal income tax purposes effective Jan. 1, 2012. The company's main business is leasing antenna space on multi-tenant communications sites to wireless service providers, radio and television broadcast companies, wireless data providers, government agencies and other municipalities and tenants.

American Tower is currently trading at $83.71 with a P/E ratio of 52.6 and a P/S ratio of 11.30. The company's market cap is $32.87 billion. In the past five years the company has seen an average annual earnings growth of 16.5%.

5. Vornado Realty Trust ( VNO )

Baron's fifth largest increase of the quarter came from Vornado Realty Trust where he increased Baron Fund's position by 559.62%. Baron added a total of 66,970 shares at an average price of $83.39 per share. The price of VNO has increased 5.6% from Baron's average purchase price.



Baron Funds now holds a total of 78,937 shares of Vornado. This holding makes up 0.036% of Baron's total portfolio.

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Vornado Realty Trust is a fully-integrated REIT that operates in five different business segments in New York and Washington D.C. The company's portfolio consists of 30 office properties in Manhattan, 7 garages and 1.0 million square feet of retail space in New York City.

Vornado Realty has a market cap of $16.24 billion and is currently being traded at $88.02. The company has a P/E ratio of 30.00 and a P/S ratio of 7.2. Vornado Realty had an annual average earnings growth of 7.7% over the past five years.

Ron Baron's top five holdings currently include: Arch Capital Group ( ACGL ) with a weighting of 2.8%, ITC Holdings ( ITC ), with a weighting of 2.5%, Gartner ( IT ) with a weighting of 2.5%, Penn National Gaming ( PENN ) with a weighting of 2.3% and Dick's Sporting Goods ( DKS ) with a weighting of 2.1% of his total portfolio.

See Ron Baron's portfolio here. Also take a look at Ron Baron's Undervalued Stocks, High Yield stocks and Top Growth Companies.About GuruFocus: GuruFocus.com tracks the stocks picks and portfolio holdings of the world's best investors. This value investing site offers stock screeners and valuation tools. And publishes daily articles tracking the latest moves of the world's best investors. GuruFocus also provides promising stock ideas in 3 monthly newsletters sent to Premium Members .




The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of The NASDAQ OMX Group, Inc.



This article appears in: Investing

Referenced Stocks: ACGL , DKS , IT , ITC , PENN

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