Investors have started mulling over the top bets of big investors like Bill Ackman, George Soros, Carl Icahn, David Tepper, Larry Robbins, Leon Cooperman, Daniel Loeb, David Einhorn and Stanley Druckenmiller, following the first-quarter release of 13F Forms.
The group, often known as hedge funds and shifting composition, has outperformed the broad stock market this year after nearly a decade of underperformance. This is especially true as the HFRI Fund Weighted Composite Index gained 0.39% through April against the loss of 0.38% for the S&P 500.
Technology: A Sweet Spot
Hedge Fund “Hot Dogs," which are defined as stocks that capture the maximum hedge-fund dollars, centers around the technology, media and Internet sectors. Topping the list is FANG stocks, acronym for Facebook (FB - Free Report) , Amazon (AMZN - Free Report) , Netflix (NFLX - Free Report) and Alphabet (GOOGL - Free Report) , which lost their charm in March, slipping into deep correction territory (down more than 10% from its latest peak). The beaten down prices have compelled big investors to buy more shares of these stocks given their compelling valuation and encouraging fundamentals.
In particular, hedge funds owned $19.4 billion in FB, $12.2 billion in AMZN, $8.5 billion in NFLX and $18.9 billion in GOOGL. Out of these, Amazon has a solid Zacks Rank #2 (Buy) while others have a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold).
The Zacks Ranked #3 software companies like Microsoft (MSFT - Free Report) , Adobe Systems (ADBE - Free Report) and Electronic Arts EA also gained hedge funds love with investments of $16.4 billion, $6.6 billion and $5.5 billion, respectively. Meanwhile, Apple (AAPL - Free Report) with a Zacks Rank #3 remains the beloved stock of Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway as it purchased an additional 75 million shares in the iPhone maker in the first quarter, raising its stake to $44 billion or 5%. However, Bloomberg noted that institutional investors abandoned Apple at a rate not seen since 2008. As such, Apple dropped from eight position to the 18th on the list.
The Zacks Ranked #3 Time Warner (TWX - Free Report) is also a hot stock, attracting investments of $10.5 billion from the hedge funds.
Healthcare Gains Love
Besides technology, healthcare is the second top choice of the hedge funds with bets on a insurers like UnitedHealth Group UNH and Anthem ANTM. The move came due to the steep decline in their share prices after Jeff Bezos, Warren Buffett and Jamie Dimon announced a joint venture to curb medical costs. UNH carries a Zacks Rank #3 while ANTM has a Zacks Rank #2.
The pharmacy benefits managers Express Scripts ESRX and CVS Health Corp CVS also became friends of hedge fund managers as their stock price tumbled on speculation that Amazon could enter that business. CVS seems a nice option with a Zacks Rank #3.
Small Caps Intact
With small-cap stocks on a tear lately, as evident by the Russell 2000 Index’s new records, many investors might want to invest like billionaires in this space. Although the hedge fund’s small-cap space is dominated by the health care sector, the top two stocks, Green Brick Partners Inc. GRBK and Mammoth Energy Services Inc. TUSK, based on ownership value as a percentage of market cap does not belong to healthcare.
The next are the three health-care companies, namely Genomic Health (GHDX - Free Report) , Zogenix (ZGNX - Free Report) and Retrophin (RTRX - Free Report) that showed that hedge funds had a 48% or greater ownership of the stock as a percentage of market cap. Genomic Health currently carries a top Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy) with solid earnings estimate revision of 13 cents over the past 30 days for this year. You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.
In particular, hedge funds added exposure to small-cap biotech companies like PTC Therapeutics PTCT, Pacira Pharmaceuticals PCRX, Strongbridge Biopharma (SBBP - Free Report) , and Corium International CORI in the first quarter.
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