John Griffin’s Blue Ridge Capital had a great start to the year, as its 45 long positions in stocks with a market cap above $1.0 billion returned 6.8% in the first quarter. While the long/short equity hedge fund’s top 5 picks achieved an average return of 11% during this period, in this article we will focus on its other best performing equities, which include BioMarin Pharmaceutical Inc. (NASDAQ:BMRN), Endo International plc (NASDAQ:ENDP), Charter Communications, Inc. (NASDAQ:CHTR), Ulta Salon, Cosmetics & Fragrance, Inc. (NASDAQ:ULTA), and Marathon Petroleum Corp (NYSE:MPC). These positions returned an average 22.03% during the first quarter of 2015.
Tracking the activity of hedge funds such as Blue Ridge Capital is vital for small investors who try to seek out new promising investment opportunities. However, simply imitating the moves made by billionaires and hedge funds firms does not guarantee great returns because most of their top picks are in large-cap stocks. These equities usually don’t beat the market by a large margin, as they are usually more efficiently priced. Hence, here at Insider Monkey, we concentrate our efforts on gathering and analyzing information regarding the small-cap picks of more than 700 hedge funds. Our research have shown that the most popular small-cap stocks among hedge funds beat the market by 95 basis points per month between 1999 and 2012. There aren’t a lot of investment strategies that can beat the market by 10 percentage points a year so we started tracking the performance of hedge fund’s most popular small cap picks since the end of August 2012. These stocks returned more than 137% since then through the end of March 2015 and dominated S&P 500 ETF (SPY)’s 54% gain by more than 82 percentage points (read the details here).
Blue Ridge Capital’s holding in BioMarin Pharmaceutical Inc. (NASDAQ:BMRN), which amounts to 2.23 million shares, valued at around $201.59 million, proved to be highly lucrative. In the first three months of the year, the stock returned a whopping 37.85%. BioMarin Pharmaceutical Inc. (NASDAQ:BMRN) not only benefitted Mr. Griffin’s firm, but also Visium Asset Management, which held the stock as its top pick this quarter. Jacob Gottlieb’s fund held 988,400 shares at the beginning of the year, valued at around $89.35 million.
Although Blue Ridge Capital reduced its stake in Endo International plc (NASDAQ:ENDP) by 1.29 million shares last quarter, Blue Ridge continued to keep its call positions on the company unchanged. The firm’s position in the healthcare company returned 24.38% during the first three months of the year, thus ranking as one of the most profitable holdings in its equity portfolio. Daniel Och’s OZ Management was also bullish regarding Endo International plc (NASDAQ:ENDP), as the fund initiated a position of 5.22 million shares this quarter, valued at $376.58 million. Other billionaire managers betting on Endo International include Larry Robbins, Ken Griffin, and George Soros.