As the latest round of 13F filings has witnessed an increase in bullish sentiments among hedge funds. This especially affected the most popular companies, with the top three stocks seeing more hedge funds adding them to their equity portfolios. As it was in the previous quarters, the largest share of over 700 hedge funds that we track at Insider Monkey have been betting heavily on the Tech and Financial sectors. In this article, we will look deeper into hedge funds’ positions in top 10 most popular stocks, according to our calculations. Some of the highlights of our list are Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL), Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOGL), and Alibaba Group Holding Ltd (NYSE:BABA).
On the first place is Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL), which has held the leading spot in the previous round of filings. In this way, Apple managed to recover after it lost some ground during the first quarter, which saw the stock fall to the eighth spot from the third position held at the end of 2013. This was probably caused by Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) splitting its stock earlier this year, which made it more accessible for investors. Therefore, at the end of the third quarter, Apple could be found in the equity portfolios of 153 funds that we follow, up from 152 funds at the end of June. However, due to the stock gaining ground over the last several months, investors have been picking their profits and the aggregate value of positions declined by aproximately $2.71 billion to $22.51 billion.
One of the largest shareholders of Apple at the end of the third quarter was Carl Icahn, which held 52.76 million shares, valued at $5.32 billion. Mr. Icahn’s Icahn Capital is the largest shareholder among the funds that we track. However, while Mr. Icahn has left his position unchanged during the third quarter, one of the most bullish investors has been Laurion Capital Management, led by Benjamin A. Smith, which initiated a stake worth $183.47 million, holding 1.82 million shares as of the end of June.
One of the reasons why investors are bullish on Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) is the fact that it is considered a growth company. As David Einhorn of Greenlight Capital has put it during an interview, Apple has a customer base that will most likely switch to new devices as they are released, while also gaining new customers. Greenlight Capital owns around 9.17 million shares of the company as of the end of September, down by 2% over the quarter, but the $924.08 million position is the second-largest in its equity portfolio.
Next in line comes Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOGL), which can be found in the equity portfolios of 136 funds tracked by us, as of the end of September, up by 5 funds over the quarter. Moreover, the total value of the positions held by this funds has picked up to $7.45 billion, from $6.67 billion in the previous quarter. However, it is important to mention, that Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOGL) appears twice in our list of 10 most popular stocks. Its class C stock that was issued earlier this year, currently occupies the eighth position. The difference is probably explained by the fact that Class C stock does not grant any voting rights, even though both classes come almost hand-in-hand in terms of price and returns.
Among the hedge funds that we track, the largest shareholder of Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOGL) is Harris Associates, a hedge fund managed by Natixis Global Asset Management, which owns 1.69 million shares as of the end of September, up by some 397,600 shares over the quarter. The position is valued at $996.67 million and amasses 1.64% of the equity portfolio.
On the third spot is a financial company. Citigroup Inc (NYSE:C) was in equity portfolios of 131 hedge funds at the end of the third quarter, up by 1 fund over the quarter. The aggregate value of the positions is valued at $11.17 billion, up from $9.25 billion at the end of the previous quarter. Eagle Capital Management, led by Boykin Curry, is one of the top shareholders of Citigroup Inc (NYSE:C), holding 26.79 million shares, up by 267,900 shares. The $1.39 billion position amasses 5.36% of the fund’s equity portfolio.
Next on the list is also a financial stock, American International Group Inc (NYSE:AIG). However, this stock has witnessed a decrease in popularity with the total number of funds holding it declining by 5 funds. The aggregate value is at $13.44 billion, down by $1.68 billion in the previous quarter. One of the largest shareholders of American International Group Inc (NYSE:AIG) is Bruce Berkowitz‘s Fairholme Capital Management. The fund sold around 9.50 million shares during the July-September period and currently owns 60.31 million shares, worth $3.26 billion. The position amasses over 44% of Fairholme’s equity portfolio. Moreover, it is important to mention that American International Group Inc (NYSE:AIG) is one of Mr. Berkowitz most favorite companies, as he said during an interview, adding that he would prefer to invest in AIG, rather than six different stocks.
On the fifth spot is Actavis plc (NYSE:ACT), a large-cap healthcare company. The number of hedge funds holding the stock in their 13F portfolios, went up by five to a total of 118 funds, which own a total of $13.04 billion worth of stock. Actavis plc (NYSE:ACT) has been appreciating over the last couple of days amid its deal to acquire botox-maker Allergan, Inc. (NYSE:AGN) for $66 billion, outrunning a bid from Valeant Pharmaceuticals Intl Inc (NYSE:VRX) and Bill Ackman‘s Pershing Square. One of the shareholders of Actavis plc (NYSE:ACT) is Daniel Och‘s OZ Management, which owns 4.83 million shares, valued at $1.17 billion, according to its latest 13F filing.
General Motors Company (NYSE:GM) has also made the list, and is currently the sixth most popular choice among hedge funds. However, during the third quarter, the company has seen a decrease in the interest from hedge funds, the number of which declined by eight to 118 funds. On the other hand, the aggregate value of positions held by these funds declined only by $767.19 million to $6.04 billion, which shows that the majority of investors raised their exposure to the stock. A lion’s share of the capital held in General Motors Company (NYSE:GM) is amassed by Warren Buffett‘s Berkshire Hathaway. During the third quarter, Berkshire upped its stake by 7.04 million shares to 40.0 million shares, valued at $1.28 billion. The stock of General Motors Company (NYSE:GM) lost around 20% year-to-date on the back of various issues, and several big recalls. However, Buffett and other investors must be seeing more long-term opportunities, which explains the bullish sentiment.
GM is followed closely by Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT), in which the total number of funds holding the stock decreased by 12 to 118. These funds own a total of $16.22 billion worth of stock, down from $17.34 billion at the end of the second quarter. As usual, one of the top shareholders of Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) is Jeff Ubben‘s ValueAct Capital, which owns 74.24 million shares as of the end of September; the stake is valued at $3.44 billion, equal to 23% of the fund’s equity portfolio.
As it was mentioned earlier, the eighth position is also held by Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG), but by its class C stock. Overall, 113 hedge funds reported long positions in the company, down by 2 over the quarter. The aggregate value, however, went slightly up to $6.11 billion from $6.02 billion. UK-based Lansdowne Partners, managed by Alex Snow, owns around 959,700 shares of Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG), up by 229,300 shares over the quarter. As of the end of September, the stake is worth $554.07 million and amasses 5% of Lansdowne’s equity portfolio.
Anadarko Petroleum Corporation (NYSE:APC) has also made the list being included in the 13F portfolios of 109 funds, down by 6 over the quarter. Overall, the hedge funds that we follow, own around $9.12 billion worth of the company’s stock, up from $8.54 billion in the previous quarter. One of Anadarko Petroleum Corporation (NYSE:APC)’s shareholders is Eric Mandelblatt‘s Soroban Capital Partners, which held 5.01 million shares at the end of September, up by 2.41 million shares over the quarter; Soroban’s stake in Anadarko Petroleum Corporation (NYSE:APC) is valued at $508.70 million.
It would’ve been a surprise if Alibaba Group Holding Ltd (NYSE:BABA) hadn’t made the list of ten most popular stocks among hedge funds. However, the company is sharing the 9th and 10th position with Anadarko and has been included in the equity portfolios of 109 hedge funds among those that we track after it went public a couple of months ago. Overall, hedge funds hold around $7.68 billion of the Chinese e-commerce giant’s stock. Two notorious investors that are among the shareholders of Alibaba Group Holding Ltd (NYSE:BABA) are Andreas Halvorsen‘s Viking Global and Dan Loeb‘s Third Point. Viking Global reported an $1.01 billion position, which amasses 11.39 million shares, while Third Point’s stake contains 7.20 million shares and is valued at $639.72 million. It is also important to mention that in both funds’ equity portfolios, Alibaba Group Holding Ltd (NYSE:BABA) represents one of the top holdings in terms of value.