We track quarterly 13F filings from hundreds of hedge funds, including billionaire Louis Bacon’s Moore Global. Even though the information in 13Fs is a bit old, there are still a few ways for investors to use it. For one, we’ve found that it’s possible to develop investment strategies based on hedge fund activity- one example is our finding that the most popular small cap stocks among hedge funds generate an average excess return of 18 percentage points per year. We can also compare the most recent filing to the previous one to see which stocks top managers added to their portfolio in the previous quarter, and then determine if each of these picks is worthy of further research. Here are five of the largest new positions in Moore’s 13F for the first quarter of 2013 (or see the full list of Bacon’s stock picks):
The fund bought 4.5 million shares of Morgan Stanley (NYSE:MS) between January and March. The investment bank’s stock price has roughly doubled in the last year, but it remains discounted relative to the book value of the equity at a P/B ratio of 0.8. While Morgan Stanley (NYSE:MS)’s earnings have been low on a trailing basis compared to the valuation, Wall Street analysts expect conditions to improve in the next year and a half and as a result the forward P/E is 10. With revenue up, we think that Morgan Stanley is worth considering even as many other big banks remain cheap.
Bacon and his team initiated a position of 1.3 million shares in Time Warner Inc (NYSE:TWX). The $55 billion market cap media and entertainment company trades at 18 times trailing earnings, which is about even with peers such as News Corp (NASDAQ:NWSA) and The Walt Disney Company (NYSE:DIS) as the industry is seen as having good prospects. Time Warner Inc (NYSE:TWX)’s own earnings grew 24% last quarter compared to the first quarter of 2012, though revenue was actually about flat and so we’d be concerned that high growth in net income is not sustainable. Moore added Dell Inc. (NASDAQ:DELL) to its portfolio in the first quarter of 2013. Private equity group Silver Lake is leading a bid to take Dell Inc. (NASDAQ:DELL) private, as is billionaire activist Carl Icahn (research more stocks Icahn owns). The decline of the PC business has hit Dell Inc. (NASDAQ:DELL) hard, particularly on the bottom line, but cash flow is high enough that these investors think they can make a profit on a buyout. Merger arbitrage is a common hedge fund strategy, since the returns on the investment depend on whether or not a deal closes rather than on economic conditions.