The Ten Most Popular Stocks Among Hedge Funds

Our database of 13F filings allows us to track the long equity positions of hedge funds and other notable investors when these filings occur about seven weeks after the end of each quarter. We can not only look at a specific manager and see what he or she is thinking, but also identify broader trends among hedge funds. For example, we can process the filings and rank the ten most popular stocks among hedge funds (see our rankings for the second quarter). Here are the ten stocks which the largest number of investors in our database reported a long position in at the end of September:

HIGHBRIDGE CAPITAL MANAGEMENT

    1. Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL). No surprise here: once again, Apple was the most popular stock among hedge funds. 146 investors reported a position, down only slightly from 147 last quarter. Highbridge Capital Management, managed by billionaire Glenn Dubin, had owned a fairly small position in Apple at the beginning of July but had increased it to about 120,000 shares by the end of September (see Glenn Dubin’s stock picks). Billionaire Dan Loeb’s Third Point also bought shares during the quarter (find more stocks that Third Point bought).
    2. Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG). Google gained on Apple- 132 funds and other investors owned Google at the end of the quarter, up from 118 three months earlier- but it wasn’t quite enough to reach the top slot. Platinum Asset Management, an Australian fund managed by billionaire Kerr Nielson, increased its holdings of Google to 300,000 shares by the end of the quarter (see Kerr Nielson’s top holdings). Tiger Global Management, which is managed by billionaire Chase Coleman and his investment team, also added shares. Find more stocks that Tiger Global liked.
    3. American International Group, Inc. (NYSE:AIG). Talk about a hot stock: about 50 different investors in our database initiated a position in AIG during the third quarter of the year, with a total of 110 hedge funds holding it in their portfolio. This not only got AIG into the top ten list, but made it the third most popular stock. Billionaire Leon Cooperman’s Omega Advisors increased its stake in AIG by 75%, making it Omega’s largest holding (see more of Cooperman’s largest holdings); AIG is also George Soros’s largest long equity position after he bought shares as well. Check out George Soros’s portfolio.
    4. Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT). AIG’s rise contributed to Microsoft’s fall from the #3 spot. A small number of hedge funds also sold out of Microsoft, reducing its ownership below 100 filers in our database to 96. Bridgewater Associates’ position in Microsoft was its largest long position for a company at the end of September; the large and successful hedge fund is managed by billionaire Ray Dalio (see more stocks that billionaire Ray Dalio likes).

  1. Citigroup Inc. (NYSE:C). Big banks in general saw hedge fund interest increase slightly, and the most popular pick in the industry was Citi with 93 hedge funds owning the stock. Billionaire David Tepper’s Appaloosa Management increased its holdings of Citi to 10.2 million shares between the beginning of July and the end of the third quarter (find more stock picks from David Tepper)
  2. General Motors Company (NYSE:GM). Even before billionaire David Einhorn of told attendees at October’s Value Investing Congress that GM was one of his long stock picks, the hedge fund community had been buying in with the 78 holders of the stock from the end of the second quarter increasing to 88. Einhorn’s fund had owned about 23 million shares of the stock at the end of September. See David Einhorn’s top holdings.
  3. Bank of America Corp (NYSE:BAC). 85 hedge funds and other notable investors reported owning Bank of America, up from 82 in the previous quarter. D.E. Shaw, a large hedge fund managed by David Shaw, reported owning over 8 million shares of the bank on its 13F. Check out more stocks that D.E. Shaw owns.
  4. JPMorgan Chase & Co. (NYSE:JPM). Ownership ticked up slightly here as well, with our database showing 83 13F filers with positions in JPMorgan Chase. Fisher Asset Management, a money management firm run by billionaire Ken Fisher, more than doubled the size of its position in JPMorgan Chase during the third quarter of the year (find more of Ken Fisher’s stock picks).
  5. Wells Fargo & Company (NYSE:WFC). You can have your C and BAC and JPM, but Warren Buffett will stick with Wells Fargo. Berkshire Hathaway actually increased its stake in what is generally considered to be one of the safest large banks and with a total of 81 filers in our database owning the stock it kept right behind the other big banks in our rankings. See what other stocks are in Warren Buffett’s portfolio.
  6. QUALCOMM, Inc. (NASDAQ:QCOM). Thanks to upstarts AIG, GM, and Wells Fargo, Qualcomm dropped three places in our rankings even though the number of hedge funds reporting a position decreased by only two (from 79 to 77). Billionaire Stephen Mandel’s Lone Pine Capital cut its stake but still owned 6.9 million shares at the end of the quarter, a position worth over $400 million at that time (research more stocks that Lone Pine Capital owned).
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