Why Are These 5 Stocks in the Spotlight Today?

It’s the heart of earnings season, as many big companies are now reporting their first quarter results. Among the stocks that reported earnings this morning or yesterday evening are UnitedHealth Group Inc (NYSE:UNH), Johnson & Johnson (NYSE:JNJ), Goldman Sachs Group Inc (NYSE:GS), Harley-Davidson Inc (NYSE:HOG), and Philip Morris International Inc. (NYSE:PM). Let’s take a closer look at how these companies performed during the first quarter and see how the smart money tracked by Insider Monkey was positioned in each stock heading into the period.

Our research determined that following the small-cap stocks that hedge funds are collectively bullish on can help a smaller investor to beat the S&P 500 by around 95 basis points per month (see the details here).

UnitedHealth Reports a Good Quarter

UnitedHealth Group Inc (NYSE:UNH) reported solid quarterly results, posting first quarter earnings of $1.81 per share on revenue of $44.53 billion. The results beat expectations by $0.09 per share and $570 million respectively, and UnitedHealth’s shares are over 1% higher today because of it. Driving the strong performance was healthy premiums growth of 9.9% year-over-year to $34.8 billion and products growth of 419.8% year-over-year to $6.39 billion. Management expects more of the same strong results for the full 2016 year, with stated guidance of $7.75-to-$7.95 per share, up from previous guidance of $7.60-to-$7.80 per share. Hedge fund sentiment in UnitedHealth Group Inc (NYSE:UNH) has been steady of late, with the number of funds in our database holding shares of the company falling by just one quarter-over-quarter to 50 as of the end of December. Cliff Asness‘ AQR Capital Management owned more than 4.00 million UnitedHealth shares at the end of 2015.

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Johnson & Johnson Beats, Shares on the Rise

Johnson & Johnson (NYSE:JNJ) earned $1.68 per share on revenue of $17.48 billion for the first quarter, beating analysts’ consensus earnings estimate by $0.02 per share. Although its top-line missed by $20 million, the healthcare giant’s quarterly revenue was essentially in-line with estimates. Leading the way in terms of growth was Johnson and Johnson’s Pharmaceutical division, which saw its revenue jump by 5.9% on the back of strong oncology and immunology drug sales. For 2016, the company expects non-GAAP EPS of $6.53-to-$6.68 and revenue of $71.2 billion-to-$71.9 billion. Shares of Johnson & Johnson are up by 1.97% this morning after trading nearly flat in the pre-market, so investors appear to like what they see as they have more time to dig deeper into the results. Johnson & Johnson (NYSE:JNJ) was the 40th-most widely held stock in our hedge fund database on December 31, as 72 elite funds held shares of the company. Ken Fisher‘s Fisher Asset Management reported owning 10.8 million shares as of March 31.

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On the next page we examine how three big names: Goldman Sachs Group Inc, Harley-Davidson Inc, and Philip Morris International Inc. performed during the past quarter.