Bill Miller wagers on reopening plays, taking stakes in Expedia and United Airlines

Value investor Bill Miller placed his bets on the reopening play last quarter after adding shares in Expedia and United Airlines . Miller added a new holding in travel name Expedia in the second quarter, according to a recent 13F filing. As of June 30, the investor held 616,700 shares totaling $58.5 million, according to InsiderScore. The stock accounts for 3% of the portfolio. He also bought shares of United Airlines for the first time since exiting the stock after the second quarter of 2020, when flights were grounded because of the pandemic. Miller added 1.19 million shares worth about $42.1 million, which accounts for 2.1% of the investor’s portfolio. The holdings signaled Miller’s confidence in the reopening theme over the summer, when scads of travelers snatched up airline tickets and reserved hotel rooms in spite of delayed flights and rising prices. Both companies said a surge in travel demand boosted second-quarter results, though United faces challenges from higher fuel prices. Expedia surpassed estimates on both the top and bottom lines, while United Airlines hit a key milestone of returning to profitability without the benefit of federal aid for the first time since the pandemic disrupted its business. Whether Miller held on to these stocks in the current quarter is unknown, but both have advanced on the back of a broader market rally since the end of June. Shares of Expedia are down 37% this year, but have since rebounded 19% in the calendar third quarter. The stock has outperformed the 13% gain in the S & P 500 over the same time period. Meanwhile, United Airlines is 11% lower this year, but has rallied 9% in the current quarter — a spike that underperformed the broader market index. The founder of Miller Value Partners built his reputation for market-beating returns in the 1990s and 2000s. Miller managed the Legg Mason Capital Management Value Trust, which outperformed the S & P 500 from 1991 to 2005. Miller also co-manages the Miller Opportunity Trust , a fund with roughly $2.1 billion in assets under management. The fund is down 22% this year, but over a three-year period, it has returned an annualized 9%, according to Morningstar . Other top holdings in the Miller Opportunity Trust include Chinese e-commerce company Alibaba , natural gas firm Ovintiv and toy company Mattel .

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