4 Stocks That Hedge Fund Managers Love and Own the Most Of

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Despite struggling mightily over the past couple of years, hedge funds still have a ton of assets under management, an estimated $3 trillion at the end of the first quarter. That includes the actual hedge funds themselves and funds of funds. For years the holdings in many funds were very secretive, but now, due in part to the tremendous growth and regulations, funds post purchases and sales.

A recent research report from FactSet presented a mountain of hedge fund data that was as of the conclusion of the first quarter. While most of it was sector allocation, and the biggest buys and sells, we were intrigued by the top holdings. Here they are starting from the largest by the end-of-the-quarter market value.

Kraft Heinz

This surprising number one is a top consumer staples company. Kraft Heinz Co. (NYSE: KHC) is the third-largest food and beverage company in North America and the fifth largest in the world, with eight $1 billion brands. A globally trusted producer of delicious foods, Kraft Heinz provides high quality, great taste and nutrition for all eating occasions, whether at home in restaurants or on the go.

The company’s iconic brands include Kraft, Heinz, ABC, Capri Sun, Classico, Jell-O, Kool-Aid, Lunchables, Maxwell House, Ore-Ida, Oscar Mayer, Philadelphia, Planters, Plasmon, Quero, Weight Watchers Smart Ones and Velveeta.

Kraft Heinz shareholders are paid a tasty 2.8% dividend. The Thomson/First Call consensus price target for the stock is $90.29. The shares closed Monday at $82.81 apiece.


Allergan

This company remains the second largest hedge fund holdings despite the deal with Pfizer falling through due to regulatory issues. Allergan Inc. (NYSE: AGN) is focused on developing, manufacturing and commercializing innovative branded pharmaceuticals, high-quality generic and over-the-counter medicines, and biologic products for patients around the world.

Allergan markets a portfolio of best-in-class products that provide valuable treatments for the central nervous system, eye care, medical aesthetics, gastroenterology, women’s health, urology, cardiovascular and anti-infective therapeutic categories, and it operates the world’s third-largest global generics business, providing patients around the globe with increased access to affordable, high-quality medicines.

Allergan is an industry leader in research and development, with one of the broadest development pipelines in the pharmaceutical industry and a leading position in the submission of generic product applications globally.

The consensus price objective is a whopping $292.63. The stock closed most recently at $225.51.

Microsoft

This old-school technology stock gives investors a degree of mega-cap tech safety, and there is a massive $99 billion sitting on the balance sheet. Microsoft Inc. (NASDAQ: MSFT) continues to find an increasing amount of support from portfolio managers, who have added the software giant to their holdings at an increasingly faster pace all year. It is the fourth largest holding among hedge fund managers.

With gaming revenues growing at a huge pace, the Xbox continues to gain ever more fans as the ultimate console to own. Microsoft continues to upgrade the popular device, and many think that it could dominate Sony’s PlayStation at some point.

Microsoft investors are paid a very solid 2.88% dividend, and the forward valuation remains compelling. The consensus price objective is $57.65. The stock closed Monday at $50.03 per share.

Facebook

The huge social media leader posted gigantic first-quarter numbers that truly blew most of Wall Street away, and it is the fourth-largest hedge fund holding. Facebook Inc. (NASDAQ: FB) has Instagram, from which some analysts see revenues tripling in 2017 over 2016, Premium video and graph search capabilities to strengthen the social media giant’s earnings flow.

Top analysts have noted in the past that Facebook and Instagram account for 5% of users’ total media time, but the company doesn’t come close to capturing 5% of total advertising budgets. Instagram advertising opened up in the fourth quarter. The company reported revenues for the December quarter that were 10% ahead of many Wall Street estimates.

The consensus price target for the stock is a whopping $142.77. The shares closed on Monday at $115.97.

Again, while hedge funds have done poorly over the past couple of years, some funds have tremendous long-term track records. It’s clear by these holdings the managers like very liquid large cap companies.