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Why These 5 Prominent Stocks Are Making Moves Today

The markets looked a little shaky on Thursday morning as oil prices and earnings’ reports threatened to dent sentiment, but they have rebounded into positive territory in the early afternoon hours. Among the stocks generating the most interest and trading activity today are BlackRock, Inc. (NYSE:BLK), Pier 1 Imports Inc (NYSE:PIR), PepsiCo, Inc. (NYSE:PEP), Sunedison Inc (NYSE:SUNE), and Chipotle Mexican Grill, Inc. (NYSE:CMG). Let’s have a detailed look at the factors behind the movement in these stocks and analyze hedge funds’ collective sentiment towards them.

Our research has shown that the best strategy is to follow hedge funds into their small-cap picks. This approach can allow monthly returns of nearly 95 basis points above the market, as we determined through extensive backtests covering the period between 1999 and 2012 (see the details here).

Weak Earnings Report from BlackRock

BlackRock, Inc. (NYSE:BLK)’s stock has gained 1.60% today after the gargantuan investment firm reported its earnings for the first quarter. The firm reported earnings of $4.25 per share, missing analysts’ expectations of $4.29 per share. Revenue declined by 3.6% year-over-year to $2.62 billion, while there was a 20% year-over-year drop in first quarter profits, to $657 million. Larry Fink, CEO of BlackRock, cited lower fees collected on investment products as the main reason for the bleak quarterly report. Last month, Bloomberg reported that the firm is planning to cut 400 jobs because of market pressure and rising costs.

34 funds in our system held long positions in BlackRock at the end of 2015, with a total value of approximately $485.7 million. Phill Gross’ Adage Capital Management was one of the most notable of those shareholders, with ownership of more than 190,000 shares of the company.

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Declining Sales and Revenue at Pier 1

Shares of Pier 1 Imports Inc (NYSE:PIR) are down by approximately 4.77% this afternoon following its earnings report for the fourth quarter of fiscal year 2016. The retailer reported earnings of $0.23 per share, down from $0.37 per share a year earlier, while the company’s revenue dipped by 1.4% year-over-year to $542.33 million. Pier 1 Imports’ strategy to shift towards e-commerce was partly responsible for the dent in sales.

Overall, 12 hedge funds out of those tracked by Insider Monkey held positions in Pier 1 Imports at the end of the fourth quarter. Mario Gabelli’s GAMCO Investors held 954,700 shares of Pier 1 Imports Inc (NYSE:PIR) on December 31.

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We uncover the driving forces behind three other moving stocks today on the next page.

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