Last week, Goldman Sachs released its quarterly VIP list, showcasing the top 50 stocks that appear most frequently as top-10 holdings among hedge funds. The activity from these fund is quite interesting, and has left numerous trends that could indicate future performance.
A Look At The Top 20
Goldman’s VIP list offers one of the market’s best, most extensive arrays of hedge fund information.
In the report, Goldman states that the average hedge fund has returned gains of 5% YTD, as of May 5, 2013. This compares poorly with the S&P 500’s return of 15% during that same period.
However, for the VIP’s top 20, it is a different story; they have returned a gain of 25% during the same period. You can see those top 20 below; they’re compared against their year-ago counterparts so that we can see how hedge funds have changed their ownership ofcertain stocks.
|Q1 2012||Q1 2013|
|1.||Apple Inc.||American International Group (NYSE:AIG)|
|3.||Express Scripts||Apple Inc.|
|4.||Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT)||Citigroup (NYSE:C)|
|7.||General Motors||Virgin Media|
|19.||Bank of America||Delta Airlines|
The Emergence of AIG
Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) held the top spot on this list for three years, until Q4 2012. Since then, American International Group Inc (NYSE:AIG) has come “back from the dead” with authority. In the year prior, AIG wasn’t even in the top 20 – but now it rests atop the list, where it has stayed for two consecutive quarters.
During the last year, American International Group Inc (NYSE:AIG) has rallied to post gains of 60%. While some might think the stock is now expensive, I still like AIG. Trading at just 65% of its book value per share — the stock’s worth if it liquidated all assets and
paid all debts — the company offers investors a measure of safety.
In addition, American International Group Inc (NYSE:AIG)’s underwriting business has improved, and the company has stated its plan to reduce total share count by 30% in the next two years. Given all that, I am not surprised that hedge funds are rushing to buy American International Group Inc (NYSE:AIG), and I’d expect to see it trade considerably higher.
This Tech Stock’s Rank Falls, But Its Shares Rise
Thus, Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT)’s 28% YTD gains have not come from hedge funds, insider buying, or the inclusion to new indexes — but rather the only remaining investment group: retail investors.
With the company’s new Xbox gaming console release and new products set to arrive later this year, it will be interesting to watch Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) to see whether hedge funds begin to buy this stock. Judging by its current ranking, there is a lot of potential hedge fund money on the table. If in fact hedge funds do begin to buy, it could add another leg to the stock’s rally, making it worth watching.