Cohen likewise made a big move into another high yield energy company, Noble Corp plc (NYSE:NE), which is his next top high dividend pick. The position is in fact a new one in Cohen’s equity portfolio and consists of 3.53 million shares valued at $58.54 million. That ranked him as the second largest shareholder among funds we track, topped only by Firefly Value Partners, which increased their own stake by 50% during the fourth quarter to 3.70 million shares. Noble Corp plc (NYSE:NE) also checked in as the most lucrative dividend stock among Cohen’s top 100 stocks, with a yield of 10.45%. With shares having fallen by more than 55% over the past calendar year, and the dividend payout remaining unchanged during that time at $0.38, the company’s yield has more than doubled from 4.92%. Large integrated oil companies usually have low payout ratios and rarely cut their dividends, so they are good choices for dividend investors. It will be interesting to see if this is the case with Noble Corp plc (NYSE:NE), should the company’s value continue to languish.
Before we move on to Cohen’s final high dividend pick, let’s take a look at a couple of high dividend stocks in the same industry that he did not pick; in fact, he’s betting against them, opening new ‘Put’ positions in both Chevron Corporation (NYSE:CVX) and ConocoPhillips (NYSE:COP) during the fourth quarter, each of which also sports a yield north of 4%. However, Cohen is not alone on this front, as fellow billionaire Paul Singer is also betting against both companies. Like Cohen, Singer is not completely bearish against the entire energy sector, making bullish bets on Hess Corp. (NYSE:HES) and Anadarko Petroleum Corporation (NYSE:APC). Cohen also has long positions in both of those companies, whose yields are much lower than their peers, at less than 1.5%. Given that, both Chevron Corporation (NYSE:CVX) and ConocoPhillips (NYSE:COP) appear to be less than ideal high dividend picks, which may end up losing value, which might result in big losses for investors. However, not all funds are bearish on Chevron Corporation (NYSE:CVX) and ConocoPhillips (NYSE:COP). Jean-Marie Eveillard’s First Eagle Investment has a long position in ConocoPhillips of 8.97 million shares, up by 16% during the fourth quarter, while Donald Yacktman’s Yacktman Asset Management holds 6.02 million shares. Billionaire Ken Fisher is the largest investor in Chevron among funds we track, with 3.44 million shares, while Phill Gross and Rovert Atchinson’s Adage Capital Management holds 2.37 million shares as of the end of 2014.
AstraZeneca plc (ADR) (NYSE:AZN) is Cohen’s third dividend pick boasting a yield of 4%. AstraZeneca plc (ADR) (NYSE:AZN) boasts a rather unique dividend payment structure in which it pays out twice annually as opposed to quarterly, and in with the first of the two annual dividend payments is considerably higher than the second (usually slightly more than double the amount). Cohen holds 587,400 shares in the $88.56 billion market-cap biopharmaceutical company as of the end of 2014, a slight decrease of 4% during the quarter. Arrowstreet Capital holds the largest position at 4.55 million shares, while the quantitative fund Renaissance Technologies, led by billionaire Jim Simons, owns 2.29 million shares.