Newfield Exploration Co. (NFX): Citadel Ups Stake Amid Solid Financial Results

Ken Griffin‘s Citadel Investment Group has significantly raised its passive stake in Newfield Exploration Co. (NYSE:NFX). As a new filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission showed, Citadel currently owns almost 7.28 million shares of Newfield Exploration, versus 1.72 million shares held previously. The new stake amasses 5.3% of the company’s common stock.

Ken Griffin

Citadel is one of the largest hedge funds in the world with over $107 billion in assets under management. The fund uses a complex approach for picking investments, which consist of a combination of advanced computer codes, financial algorithms and a lot of secrecy, which is why it is important to follow Mr. Griffin’s bullish moves. Citadel has been investing heavily in the last several weeks. Just last week, the fund reported raising its holdings in  Rosetta Resources Inc. (NASDAQ:ROSE) and JAKKS Pacific, Inc. (NASDAQ:JAKK) to 3.92 million shares and 1.25 million shares respectively. Prior to that, Citadel boosted its position in Angie’s List Inc (NASDAQ:ANGI) to 3.38 million shares and Starwood Waypoint Residential Trust (NYSE:SWAY), of which it owns 2.07 million shares.

The fund has been a shareholder of Newfield Exploration Co. (NYSE:NFX) for several years, while the stock lost around 23% since 2009. The stake, however, amasses a tiny portion of Citadel’s $74 billion equity portfolio, so the decline did not impact significantly the fund’s returns, which have been well above the S&P 500’s.

The stock gained around 30% year-to-date, and some investors initiated new positions and raising their pre-existing holdings, while others have been selling shares. During the second quarter, Andreas Halvorsen‘s Viking Global added Newfield Exploration Co. (NYSE:NFX) to its equity portfolio, holding around 5.36 million shares, and later raised the stake to 7.78 million sharesDmitry Balyasny‘s Balyasny Asset Management and Israel Englander‘s Millennium Management reduced their holdings by 52% and 45% respectively during the April-June period to 2.62 million and 2.07 million shares respectively.

Newfield Exploration Co. (NYSE:NFX) has recently posted its financial results for the third quarter, reporting earnings of $2.02 per share, a significant improvement over $0.05 per share for the same period of last year. The company also cut its debt by selling some of its non-strategic assets and posted net production of 12.7 MMBOE, which was above the previous guidance.

On the back of solid results, analysts also seem to be optimistic about the prospects of Newfield Exploration Co. (NYSE:NFX). Today Deutsche Bank upgraded the stock to ‘Buy’ from ‘Hold’ and raised its price target for the stock to $42.00 from $38.00, while over a week ago Societe Generale and TheStreet also upgraded it to ‘Buy’ and Societe Generale set the target price at $39.00, versus $33.50.

Tracking the moves by great hedge funds such as Citadel is important for retail investors since these funds usually use a lot of resources and time to research a particular stock. With this in mind, with Citadel and other investors raising their stakes and the company posting an increase in its profits, Newfield Exploration Co. (NYSE:NFX) is worth to be a stock on your watchlist.

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