Why These 5 Stocks Are Making Noise Today

Crude futures are 0.7% in the green this Thursday morning as bullish investors position themselves for the upcoming Doha meeting of oil producers this weekend. Given the correlation between crude and the stock market, it’s not surprising that the S&P 500 and Dow futures are positive, albeit only slightly. Among the stocks buzzing today are Bank of America Corp (NYSE:BAC), Delta Air Lines, Inc. (NYSE:DAL), McDonald’s Corporation (NYSE:MCD), Valeant Pharmaceuticals Intl Inc (NYSE:VRX), and Seagate Technology PLC (NASDAQ:STX). Let’s find out why and see what the world’s greatest investors think of each stock.

Our backtests that covered the period between 1999 and 2012, showed that following the 15 most popular small-caps among hedge funds can help a retail investor beat the market by an average of 95 basis points per month (see the details here).

America’s Bank Reports Earnings

Bank of America Corp (NYSE:BAC) is up by 1.4% this morning after reporting mixed earnings for the first quarter. The bank earned $0.21 per share on revenue of $19.7 billion for the period, meeting analysts’ earnings estimates but whiffing on their top-line expectations by $600 million. Revenue came in lower than last year’s results due to lower interest rates and weaker trading revenue. Tangible book value rose to $16.17 versus $15.62 in the fourth quarter, while Bank of America’s CET1 ratio came in at 11%. Bank of America’s consumer banking division is becoming more efficient, with the efficiency ratio falling by 300 basis points to 56%. Bank of America is somewhat of a hedge fund favorite, with its stock being the most widely-held financial stock among the elite funds that we track. 113  of those funds held shares of Bank of America Corp (NYSE:BAC) at the end of the fourth quarter, up from 108 funds at the end of the third quarter.

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Leading Airline Reports Better Than Expected Bottom-Line Results

Delta Air Lines, Inc. (NYSE:DAL) is 0.75% higher in early trading today after the company turned in a solid first quarter. For the first three months of the year, Delta earned $1.32 per share on revenue of $9.25 billion, beating earnings estimates by $0.02 per share. However, the strong dollar caused Delta’s operating revenue to decline by 1.5% year-over-year and led the company to miss sales expectations by $20 million. Management expects an operating margin of 21%-to-23% for the second quarter, and for passenger unit revenue to decline by 2.5%-to-4.5%. David Tepper‘s Appaloosa Management LP was one of the 108 funds in our database that held shares of Delta Air Lines, Inc. (NYSE:DAL) on December 31.

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On the next page, we examine why McDonald’s Corporation, Valeant Pharmaceuticals, and Seagate Technology are all making noise this morning.