AQR Capital Management LLC was founded in 1998 by former Goldman Sachs portfolio manager Cliff Asness. The Connecticut-based hedge fund was also co-founded by Asness’ former colleagues at Goldman Sachs including David Kabiller, Robert Krail and John Liew. The founding group of investment professionals at AQR Capital Management is well-known for their valuable experience in developing and managing quantitative investment strategies, as they have been working together since the late 1980’s at Goldman Sachs. Asness, a hedge fund genius, is currently acting as the Chief Investment Officer at AQR Capital and co-manages a public equity portfolio worth $43.76 billion as of March 31. As AQR employs a dynamic value investment style, we would like to showcase the fund’s long-term holdings in this article, all of which it has held for at least a decade. These companies are Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL), Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT), Pfizer Inc. (NYSE:PFE) and Johnson & Johnson (NYSE:JNJ).
At Insider Monkey, we track hedge funds’ moves in order to identify actionable patterns and profit from them. Our research has shown that hedge funds’ large-cap stock picks historically delivered a monthly alpha of six basis points, though these stocks underperformed the S&P 500 Total Return Index by an average of seven basis points per month between 1999 and 2012. On the other hand, the 15 most popular small-cap stocks among hedge funds outperformed the S&P 500 Index by an average of 95 basis points per month (read the details here). Since the official launch of our small-cap strategy in August 2012, it has performed just as predicted, returning over 144% and beating the market by more than 84 percentage points. We believe the data is clear: investors will be better off by focusing on small-cap stocks utilizing hedge fund expertise rather than large-cap stocks.
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AQR Capital Management added to its equity stake in Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) during the first quarter, with the position now amounting to 6.89 million shares valued at $857.71 million following the fund’s acquisition of 529,740 shares during the quarter. Apple, which owns one of the most profitable businesses ever, doesn’t need much of an introduction. Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL)’s shares have increased by over 18% year-to-date and there are no signs that the stock will stop rising any time soon, as the company has been constantly growing over the last decade and has mounds of cash to facilitate yet further growth. Only a few days ago, Apple reported the acquisition of Metaio, a deeply-rooted company in the augmented reality industry. It is anticipated that the acquisition will enhance Apple’s virtual reality and augmented reality ventures and will also expose the tech giant to some of the interesting projects Metaio has cooking. It is no surprise that Carl Icahn is Apple’s largest shareholder in our database, since the activist investor claimed last year that Apple’s shares were significantly undervalued and has been a very vocal champion of the company.
Asness’ hedge fund increased its equity holding in Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) by 3.86 million shares during the first quarter, reporting a total stake of 13.22 million shares worth $537.46 million as of March 31. Despite the fact the stock has increased by only 0.88% since the beginning of the year, Microsoft’s shares have been riding a strong uptrend in recent quarters. This week, Microsoft announced that it intends to make great efforts in guaranteeing that its app store doesn’t contain any useless and costly apps. Thus, it might be the case that the company will be able to boost revenues from its apps store by eliminating the current state of disorder and confusion. By taking a look at the massive pool of hedge funds that we track, Jeffrey Ubben’s ValueAct Capital is by far the largest shareholder in Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT), owning approximately 75.27 million shares.