Bridgewater Associates’ First Quarter Largest Equity Holdings

Last week, Ray Dalio’s Bridgewater Associates, one of the world’s largest hedge funds, with $161.9 billion in Assets Under Management, disclosed its long equity positions at the S.E.C. Its equity portfolio, worth more than $12 billion, is still strongly focused on ETFs, which account for more than 88% of its portfolio’s value. However, the fund also holds stock from several tech, basic materials and services companies. These are the ones that interest us.

Over the quarter Bridgewater started over 120 new equity positions, increased its stakes at another 75, and sold out of 77 positions. Let’s, thus, take a look at the most interesting moves from Q1.

BRIDGEWATER ASSOCIATES

First off is Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT), the $327 billion market cap tech behemoth. Over the quarter, Mr. Dalio increased his stakes in the company by 119%, and now owns 892,645 shares of the company, worth about $35 million. This makes it the fund’s fifth most valuable holding, and the most valuable equity (non-ETF) holding. But this stake is miniscule, compared to Jeffrey Ubben’s (Valueact Capital), who owns more than 71 million shares of Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT), worth more than $2.8 billion, or to Donald Yacktman’s 32.9 million Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) shares.

The fund’s second largest equity position is the one in Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE:VZ), a $201 billion market cap provider of communications, information and entertainment products and services. During the first quarter, Bridgewater upped its bets on Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE:VZ) by 35% and now holds 620,465 shares, valued at more than $30 million.

Even more bullish than Mr. Dalio is Jim Simons, who has almost half a billion dollars invested. Over the first fiscal quarter, his fund increased its stakes by 78%, and now holds about 10 million shares. Another investment guru that also seems to feel quite confident about this company’s future is Warren Buffet, who has also invested about half a billion dollars in Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE:VZ). As we reported in a previous article, this is Mr. Buffett’s largest new position for the first quarter.

Next in this ranking is International Business Machines Corp. (NYSE:IBM), the only stock analyzed in this article that saw Bridgewater decrease its stakes in it. Over 2014’s first quarter, the fund sold 32,800 shares of this $187 billion market cap IT company, and currently holds 135,020 shares of International Business Machines Corp. (NYSE:IBM), worth almost $25 million. Once again, we can count Warren Buffet amongst the company’s hedge fund shareholders; in fact, Berkshire Hathaway is the largest hedge fund stockholder, with 68 million shares (more than $13 billion in International Business Machines Corp. (NYSE:IBM) stock).

Bridgewater’s bet on Johnson & Johnson (NYSE:JNJ), which was, by the end of Q1, slightly less valuable than that placed on IBM, has surged since then. The fund’s 262,993 shares (up 132% in relation to Q4 2013) are worth more than $26.3 million. Other funds with even larger stakes in the $283 billion market cap health care products company are Ken Fisher’s Fisher Asset Management (9.97 million shares) and Donald Yacktman’s Yacktman Asset Management, with 9.57 million shares of Johnson & Johnson (NYSE:JNJ).

Finally, there’s Symantec Corporation (NASDAQ:SYMC), a $15.2 billion market cap security, backup and availability solutions provider. The company saw Bridgewater Associates almost triple its wager over Q1. The fund last declared owning 1.286 million shares of the company, worth more than $28 million. Symantec Corporation (NASDAQ:SYMC) is another stock that has escalated in value since the end of the first fiscal quarter. Once again, Jeffrey Ubben’s Valueact Capital is amongst the company’s hedge fund bulls. His fund started a position in Symantec Corporation (NASDAQ:SYMC) with 7.59 million shares held as of the end of March.

Disclosure: Javier Hasse holds no position in any stocks mentioned.

Recommended Reading:

Top 10 Most Popular Companies in Hedge Funds’ Equity Portfolios in Q1

What are the Two of the Best Hedge Fund Managers of 2013 Buying?

Hedge Fund Highlights: Warren Buffet, Kyle Bass & Julian Robertson

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