Hedge Funds Love Exxon Mobil, Schlumberger, and More Energy Stocks

We have put together our database of 13F filings from hundreds of hedge funds and other notable investors following the remaining filings being made public earlier this month. This wave of 13Fs disclose long equity positions as of the end of December 2012. Even with the delay, we’ve developed investing strategies based on 13F activity which can be profitable; for example, the most popular small cap stocks among hedge funds tend to produce an excess return of 18 percentage points per year (learn more about our small cap strategy). We also like to look at which stocks hedge funds like in different sectors. Here are the ten most popular energy stocks:

CITADEL INVESTMENT GROUP

The energy stock that the largest number of filers in our database reported owning was Anadarko Petroleum Corporation (NYSE:APC), a $42 billion market cap oil, gas, and natural gas liquids company.  62 hedge funds reported a position in Anadarko. One of these was billionaire Ken Griffin’s Citadel Investment Group, which increased its holdings by 56% between October and December to a total of 3.5 million shares (see Griffin’s stock picks). Anadarko trades at 16 times consensus earnings for next year.

Schlumberger Limited. (NYSE:SLB), an oilfield services company, had 55 hedge funds report a position- about even with the number who did for the third quarter of 2012. Fisher Asset Management, managed by billionaire Ken Fisher, had 7.8 million shares of Schlumberger in its portfolio (find Fisher’s favorite stocks). While Schlumberger’s revenue was up moderately last quarter compared to the same period in 2011, earnings were down.

54 hedge funds and other notable investors owned supermajor Exxon Mobil Corporation (NYSE:XOM), down from 59 at the end of September. Exxon Mobil- which at one point briefly overtook Apple to become the largest publicly traded U.S. company by market cap- is one of the top picks in the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation Trust’s portfolio. Research more stocks that the foundation’s money is invested in.

Acquisition target Nexen Inc. (NYSE:NXY) was owned by 52 filers in our database, with others which we had previously recorded selling as the gap between the transaction price and the market price narrowed during the quarter as the proposed deal overcame Canadian regulatory hurdles. Learn more about merger arbitrage strategies.

We tracked 50 hedge funds who owned shares of Schlumberger’s smaller peer, Halliburton Company (NYSE:HAL); Halliburton had actually been slightly more popular in our analysis for the third quarter, but was sold more frequently over the next three months. Billionaire Leon Cooperman’s Omega Advisors closed 2012 with 3.8 million shares in its portfolio (check out more stocks Cooperman liked).

See five more energy stocks that were popular among hedge funds:

Occidental Petroleum Corporation (NYSE:OXY) was another popular energy stock among hedge funds, with a small number of sales bringing it to 49 filers. One fund which was adding shares was Renaissance Technologies, founded by billionaire Jim Simons; Renaissance nearly doubled its stake to a total of 2.1 million shares (find more stocks Renaissance was buying).

47 hedge funds and other notable investors owned Valero Energy Corporation (NYSE:VLO), the same number that did at the beginning of October. AQR Capital Management was buying the stock in Q4 2012 and reported owning 1.1 million shares in the 13f filing; AQR is managed by Cliff Asness (check out Asness’s stock picks).

Our database showed that National-Oilwell Varco, Inc. (NYSE:NOV), an equipment and services company which includes drilling rigs among its offerings, was owned by 43 filers that we track. One of these was Berkshire Hathaway; Warren Buffet’s holding company reported a position of 5.3 million shares (research Buffett’s favorite stocks).

50 hedge funds had owned shares of BP plc (NYSE:BP) at the end of the third quarter, but that figure had fallen to 42 by the beginning of 2013. Seth Klarman’s Baupost Group sold a small number of shares ; BP was still that hedge fund’s top stock pick (see more of Klarman’s largest holdings).

Joining BP at the bottom of the top ten list, with 42 13F filers in our database reporting a position, was fellow supermajor Chevron Corporation (NYSE:CVX). D.E. Shaw- named after its founder, billionaire David Shaw- was one fund with a large position in Chevron.

Disclosure: I own no shares of any stocks mentioned in this article.

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