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Adage Capital’s Biggest Q2 Moves As It Adjusts to “Factor-Based Investing”

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Adage Capital Management is a Boston-based hedge fund, founded by Phil Gross and Robert Atchinson in 2001. According to its latest 13F filing with the SEC, Adage Capital manages a U.S public equity portfolio worth over $36 billion. However, during the 12 months ended June 30 (the fund’s fiscal year), the fund underperformed the market, gaining just 1.1%, versus the S&P 500 Index’s overall gain of 4%. That was the first time in its 15-year history that Adage Capital underperformed the market during one of its fiscal years.

In its quarterly letter to investors for the second quarter, Adage Capital identified factor-based investing as a prime reason for its rare market-lagging results. The fund is facing difficulties in trading large positions due to the wedge between the price of equities and their fundamental values, which is created as a result of factor investing. Macroeconomic factors now have more influence on stock prices, the fund suggests, and investment paradigms like ‘smart beta’ and factor-based ETF’s are creating a “challenging environment” for the fund to operate in. However, Adage Capital said that it is in a strong position to benefit from pricing disparity created by ETF’s since value will eventually be driven by the actual worth of stocks.

In this article, we’ll take a closer look at Adage’s biggest moves during the second quarter to see how it’s adjusting to the paradigm shift afflicting large hedge funds in the modern investing landscape.

Through extensive research, we have determined that the due diligence that these investors employ, as well as their long-term focus makes them perfect targets to emulate. However, the results of our analysis have also showed that the small-cap picks of these funds can generate much better returns, with the 15 most popular small-cap stocks beating the market by an average of 95 basis points per month (read more details here).Phill Gross

Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN)

– Shares Owned by Adage Capital Management (as of June 30): 660,383

– Value of Adage Capital Management’s Holding (as of June 30): $472.58 million

Adage Capital Management increased its stake in Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN) by 18% during the second quarter, ending the period with 660,383 shares of the e-commerce giant, worth about $472.58 million. Earlier this month, MKM Partners reiterated its ‘Buy’ rating for Amazon, and upped its price target on the stock to $995 from $850, citing the company’s stellar performance in the second quarter. Amazon earned $1.78 per share for the quarter on $30.4 billion in revenue, clobbering the average analyst estimate of $1.11 in EPS on $29.55 billion in revenue. The stock is up by over 13% so far this year. Andreas Halvorsen’s Viking Global owns more than 3.27 million shares of Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN) as of the end of the second quarter.

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Honeywell International Inc. (NYSE:HON)

– Shares Owned by Adage Capital Management (as of June 30): 2.82 million

– Value of Adage Capital Management’s Holding (as of June 30): $328.66 million

Adage Capital Management acquired 638,677 shares of civil and military avionics manufacturer Honeywell International during the June quarter, increasing its stake in the company by some 29%. Honeywell International Inc. (NYSE:HON) shares are up by around 12% year-to-date. Earlier this week, the Wall Street Journal reported that Honeywell is close to acquiring JDA Software Group for around $3 billion, including debt. However, Blackstone Group LP (NYSE:BX) is reportedly willing to provide a financing plan to JDA that could allow it to avoid being acquired. Honeywell is swiftly transitioning away from its traditional jet engines business towards software. Mario Gabelli’s GAMCO Investors is one of the biggest stakeholders in Honeywell International Inc. (NYSE:HON) in our system, having amassed over 1.90 million shares of the company as of the end of June.

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On the next page we’ll take a look at some other important salers and purchases executed by Adage Capital in the second quarter.

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