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Actavis plc (ACT), Valeant Pharmaceuticals Intl Inc (VRX) & More: Top Healthcare Picks Among Hedge Funds Crushed Mr. Market

Investors were also been bullish on the biotech industry during the fourth quarter and Gilead Sciences, Inc. (NASDAQ:GILD) was the most popular stock with 97 investors reporting ownership of $5.0 billion worth of stock. This is not surprising, since the biotechnology industry is flourishing and in fact three of the top gainers on the market are biotech stocks. However, Gilead gained only 4.1% during the first quarter. Nevertheless, during March several analysts upgraded their outlook on Gilead Sciences, Inc. (NASDAQ:GILD)’s stock, including Vetr Inc. and Wells Fargo, with the former upgrading the rating to ‘Strong Buy’ from ‘Buy’ with a price target of $110.67 and the latter reiterating a ‘Buy’ rating and setting a price target of $125.00. Among the funds that we track, the largest shareholder of Gilead Sciences, Inc. (NASDAQ:GILD) is Cliff Asness’ AQR Capital Management, which owns 4.83 million shares as of the end of last year.

Pfizer Inc. (NYSE:PFE) also made the list of the five most popular healthcare stocks among hedge funds with 86 investors reporting holding shares of the company in their latest 13F filings. The stock also had a strong performance during the first quarter, appreciating by 12.66%, which makes it one of the top gainers among stocks with a market capitalization of over $100 billion. Pfizer Inc. (NYSE:PFE) is struggling due to the increased presence of generic drugs producers, which have affected its sales over the past few years, although there are some positive things that investors should be looking forward to. The company is very likely to split in the near future, the first sign being the $17 billion deal to buy Hospira, Inc. (NYSE:HSP), a company engaged in the development of intravenous drugs and devices for injecting them. One of the long-term shareholders of Pfizer Inc. (NYSE:PFE) is Ken Fisher’s Fisher Asset Management, which owns close to 31.20 million shares according to its latest 13F filing.

On the last spot of our compilation is HCA Holdings Inc (NYSE:HCA), which differs from the other four companies by the fact that it is not engaged in the development of drugs but is an operator of medical care facilities. The stock of HCA Holdings increased modestly by 2.5% during the first quarter, slightly underperforming the Medical Care industry, which edged up by 4.80% throughout the same period. One of the reasons for the stock’s growth is the company’s strong financial results for the last year, which showed revenue of $36.92 billion, up from $34.18 billion a year earlier and diluted EPS of $4.16 versus $3.37 in 2013. One of the largest shareholders of HCA Holdings Inc (NYSE:HCA) is Larry Robbins’ Glenview Capital, which owns 6.18 million shares. HCA Holdings was also one of the stocks Mr. Robbins said he liked at last year’s “Delivering Alpha” conference. Overall, a total of 80 funds disclosed holding in aggregate $5.04 billion worth of HCA Holdings Inc (NYSE:HCA)’s stock in their latest 13F filings.

Disclosure: None

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