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2017’s Billion-Earning Hedge Fund Managers All Love These Surprising Stocks

NRG Energy Inc (NYSE:NRG)

Share Ownership of NRG Energy Inc (NYSE:NRG): Appaloosa Management – 6.73 million, BlueCrest Capital Management – 46,942 (new position), Citadel Investment Group – 1.63 million, Renaissance Technologies – 7.18 million

NRG Energy Inc (NYSE:NRG) has been red-hot since late-2016, more than doubling in value, greatly outpacing the sluggish utilities sector in the process. That trend has continued in 2018 despite a pullback during the first two months of the year, which may be what prompted BlueCrest to open a position in the stock.

The company’s transformation plan that was announced last July appears to be paying dividends, as NRG’s first-quarter results released at the beginning of this month provided the latest jolt of energy to the stock, courtesy adjusted earnings of $1.03 per share and revenue of $2.42 billion, both of which topped estimates.

While all four of the top-earning hedge fund managers own NRG, Paul Singer’s activist hedge fund Elliott Management, which was instrumental in pushing for and shaping that transformation plan, sold out of the stock in the first-quarter. Singer, who manages a more concentrated portfolio than any of those four managers, likely felt his work on the stock (and the handsome returns that came along with it) was done and that the capital tied up in it could be better deployed elsewhere now.

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Huntsman Corporation (NYSE:HUN)

Share Ownership of Huntsman Corporation (NYSE:HUN): Appaloosa Management – 3.74 million, BlueCrest Capital Management – 323,250 (new position), Citadel Investment Group – 483,533, Renaissance Technologies – 2.11 million

Lastly is Huntsman Corporation (NYSE:HUN), which has enjoyed an even more impressive run than NRG, with gains of nearly 300% since the beginning of 2016. All four of the chemical company’s divisions enjoyed a stronger first-quarter than the year before, lead by its polyurethanes segment, which delivered a 28% year-over-year revenue jump to $1.22 billion and an 81% adjusted EBITDA increase, to $261 million.

Huntsman Corporation (NYSE:HUN)’s balance sheet is strong, with net leverage sitting at just 1.3x, and the company has $1.25 billion in cash and credit facilities available should a tantalizing acquisition opportunity present itself, as it did earlier this year when Huntsman paid $350 million in cash to acquire Demilec, further strengthening its polyurethanes business.

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Disclosure: None

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