Paul Ryan ... expert stock picker?August 13, 2012: 12:49 PM ET
Newly chosen vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan is already well-known for trying to push the U.S. government to cut its way to prosperity. Perhaps he should share some of his stock picks with Uncle Sam in order to boost revenue as well.
Ryan appears to be a savvy investor. The majority of the mostly large-cap stocks he owned in 2011 are on a tear in 2012. According to Ryan's 2011 financial disclosure statements released by The Center for Responsive Politics, he owns a diversified group of large cap stocks that are solidly beating the market.
In the mix: Tech leaders Amazon (AMZN), Apple (AAPL), Priceline (PCLN) and Citrix (CTXS) are all up at least 20% this year. Home Depot (HD) is up 27%, making it one of the Dow's top performers in 2012. Ryan also owns banking giant Wells Fargo (WFC), which is up 23% this year. (He sold part of Bank of America (BAC) in 2011 and owns Goldman Sachs (GS) too.) General Electric (GE), up 17%, is another Ryan holding.
Ryan also not only owns a wide range of stocks, but also has stakes in a variety of bond and mutual funds from Fidelity, Edward Jones, Hartford and Janus. If the vice presidential thing doesn't work out, maybe Ryan can think about a career in the institutional investment world?
Of course, it's been a good year for the stock market. All three major indexes are up more than 8%. But most of Ryan's stock holdings are up more than the broader market. In addition, he only has a few notable losers. Pharmaceutical company Bristol Myers Squibb (BMY) is down 10% and logistics firm CH Robinson Worldwide (CHRW) has fallen 33%.
Ryan's financial disclosure statements don't reveal how many shares he holds of each stock or the breakdown between stocks and bonds and other investments. So it's impossible to estimate just how much his individual stakes are worth currently. But his net worth in 2010 ranged from nearly $1 million to $3 million, according to the most recent estimates from The Center for Responsive Politics.
The fitness freak also holds Nike (NKE). But his portfolio isn't all healthy though. Ryan owns shares of tobacco companies Altria Group (MO) and Philip Morris (PM). He also owns shares of a long-ago employer: McDonald's (MCD). Ryan worked at the fast food chain in high school. But he's offset the exposure to fried food -- and Mickey D's 13% losses this year -- with Whole Foods (WFM). Shares of the organic grocer are up 33% this year.
Ryan also owns shares of Warren Buffett's investment firm. The vice presidential candidate owns the "B" shares of Berkshire Hathaway (BRKB), which trade around $85, and not the "A" shares (BRKA) that are prohibitively expensive for most investors. That is interesting given that Ryan has publicly criticized Buffett's call to force the wealthy to pay more in taxes -- the so-called Buffett Rule -- as "budget pixie dust."
So even though Ryan may not agree with the Oracle of Omaha's political views, it appears that he respects (and hopes to profit from) Buffett's investing expertise.