Connecticut-based investment management giant AQR Capital Management recently submitted its 13F filing with the SEC for the quarter ended September 30, revealing a U.S equity portfolio worth $65.32 billion. AQR was started in 1997 by billionaire Cliff Asness, who prior to founding, it served as a managing director and director of quantitative research at Goldman Sachs Asset Management. While at Goldman, Mr. Asness founded the Goldman Sachs Global Alpha Fund, which is considered one of the first pure quant hedge funds in the investment management industry and served as a benchmark for several quantitative hedge funds that mushroomed in later years. At the end of August, AQR managed regulatory assets worth over $220 billion, making it one of the largest hedge funds in the world.
According to AQR’s latest filing, the value of its US public equity portfolio increased by more than 15% during the July-to-September period. The filing also revealed that the fund’s portfolio had a low quarterly turnover rate of 14.76% and that at the end of the period, its top-10 equity holdings amassed less than 10% of the total value of its portfolio. Without further ado, let’s take a look at the five major bullish moves made by the mega hedge fund during the third quarter.
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#5 Exxon Mobil Corporation (NYSE:XOM)
– Shares Held by AQR Capital Management (as of September 30): 4.26 Million
– Value of the Holding (as of September 30): $371.73 Million
Exxon Mobil Corporation (NYSE:XOM) has been one of the oldest equity holdings of AQR Capital Management, having made its debut in the fund’s portfolio during the first quarter of 2004. Amid a 7.4% drop in the company’s stock during the most recent quarter, AQR upped its stake in the energy giant by 54%. Although Exxon Mobil Corporation (NYSE:XOM)’s stock has been on a downtrend since July it’s still trading up by 11.2% year-to-date. A number of analysts who track Exxon think that the company’s downstream business could see further improvement going forward and that its U.S refining margins will increase over the next year on the back of a drop in inventory levels and higher consumption. On November 17, the Nigerian government disclosed that it has reached a $5.1 billion settlement with foreign oil companies, including Exxon, for operating costs they incurred during 2010 and 2015.
#4 Alibaba Group Holding Ltd (NYSE:BABA)
– Shares Held by AQR Capital Management (as of September 30): 3.58 Million
– Value of the Holding (as of September 30): $378.56 Million
AQR Capital upped its stake in Alibaba Group Holding Ltd (NYSE:BABA) by 48% during the third quarter, which was also the period when shares of the Chinese e-commerce behemoth registered their largest quarterly gain, of over 30%, since being listed on the NYSE. While the election of Donald Trump as the new POTUS has taken a toll on Alibaba Group Holding Ltd (NYSE:BABA)’s stock over the last few days, it is still trading up by 15.66% in 2016. According to analysts, Alibaba could face a double whammy of sorts if the new President-elect goes ahead with his plans of imposing higher taxes on goods from China. That’s because a decision like that will cause Aliexpress’ sales to decline in the U.S, and could lead to a similar retaliatory move by the Chinese government, which will hurt the sales of Tmall Global in China. In the last few quarters, Alibaba has been expanding its presence in the rapidly-growing cloud computing market, and on November 18, revealed that it will be opening up four new data centers around the world, which will take the tally of its cloud facilities outside of China to eight.
– Related Reading: 4 Reasons China is a Threat to the US
We’ll check out three more of the fund’s big Q3 moves on the next page.