Steven Romick Buys 2 New Stocks


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Steven Romick , manager of the go-anywhere, value-based FPA Crescent Fund, said on CNBC as recently as March 20 that he has had difficulty finding companies with the kind of margin of safety and risk-reward ratio he demands. Consequently, Romick as of that time has 25% to 30% of his fund in cash, which he plans to deploy when volatility arrives again and presents opportunities.

In total, Romick's FPA Crescent portfolio as of the end of the fourth quarter contains 43 stocks, valued at $6.35 billion, and had a quarter-over-quarter turnover of 2%.

In the fourth quarter bought just two stocks: high-tech engineering and manufacturing company ITT Corp. ( ITT ) and British real estate agency and lettings group Countrywide PLC ( LSE:CWD ).

ITT Corp. ( ITT )

Romick purchased 1,775,800 shares of ITT Corp. for an average price of $26 per share in the fourth quarter. The holding takes a 0.83% portfolio weighting. In the past year the stock gained almost 30% and is near its 10-year high of $29.14 per share on Wednesday.

With 8,000 employees and a $2.58 billion market cap, ITT has four areas of focus: industrial process, motion technologies, interconnect solutions and control technologies. It spun off its defense businesses into ITT Exelis and its water technology business into Xylem Inc. in 2011.

For 2012, ITT Corp. revenue increased 7% year over year to $2.2 billion and net income increased to $125 million, or $1.35 per share, from a $130 million, or $1.40 per-share loss the previous year. The company's free cash flow reached $160 million, from $74 million in 2011. ITT Corp. has $1.02 billion in cash on its balance sheet at year-end, and $1.89 billion in liabilities, with zero long-term debt.

The strong results enabled the company to increase its dividend 10% to $0.10 per share and its share repurchases by an additional $75 million.

ITT Corp. trades with a P/E ratio of 20.7 and P/B ratio of 3.61, near a 10-year high.

Countrywide PLC ( LSE:CWD )

Romick purchased 3,171,611 shares of Countrywide PLC in the fourth quarter for a 0.31% weighting in his portfolio. Shares of the company have increased about 10% over the past year.

Countrywide is the largest local property services company in the UK, with approximately 10,500 employees and arranged 1 out of every 17 mortgages in the UK in 2011.

For the year ended Dec. 31, 2012, the company's revenue increased 6% from the previous year to �539.8 million. EBITDA also increased 12% to �63 million, and it increased its cash position to �47 million pounds on its balance sheet.

Countrywide has a market cap of $899.72 million; its shares were traded on Wednesday around $4.23, with a P/S ratio of 1.6807

See Steven Romick 's portfolio here . Also check out the Undervalued Stocks , Top Growth Companies, and High Yield stocks of Steven Romick.

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This article appears in: Investing

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