Goldman Sachs VIP List & Hedge Fund Trend Monitor: Stocks That Matter Most to Hedgies ~ market folly

Friday, September 17, 2010

Goldman Sachs VIP List & Hedge Fund Trend Monitor: Stocks That Matter Most to Hedgies

Every quarter, Goldman Sachs releases a list of stocks predominantly owned by hedge funds. The aptly named Goldman Sachs VIP list (or 'Very Important Positions' list) aggregates positions held by hedge funds utilizing fundamental strategies. This is just one part of the data aggregation found in Goldman's quarterly Hedge Fund Trend Monitor and we'll detail the latest findings below.

These positions are derived from 13F filings that hedge funds file with the SEC and those of you with Bloomberg Terminals can find this compilation at: GSTHHVIP. First, some background performance of their VIP list. Goldman writes that the VIP list, "contains the 50 stocks that appear most frequently among the top 10 holdings of fundamentally-driven hedge fund portfolios. The basket of stocks that 'matter most' has outperformed the S&P 500 by 71 bp on a quarterly basis since 2001, with a Sharpe Ratio of 0.26. The VIP list underperformed the S&P 500 during 2Q 2010 by 268 bp (-14.1% vs. -11.4%). Since then VIP list has outperformed the S&P 500 by 247 bp (8.8% vs 6.3%)."

Last quarter, we posted up the previous iteration of the Goldman Sachs VIP list and for Q2 there are a few new additions to the list this time around including: Fidelity National Information (FIS), a stock many hedgies added after the company announced a leveraged recapitalization plan. Another new stock on the list, Comcast (CMCSA), has been a favorite of Columbia's University's value investing professor, Bruce Greenwald.

Two other stocks just added to the VIP list have been favorites of 'Tiger Cub' hedge funds as Andreas Halvorsen's Viking Global has a sizable position in Tyco International (TYC), and Stephen Mandel's Lone Pine Capital is bullish on Cognizant Tech Solutions (CTSH). Other stocks added to Goldman's VIP list in Q2 include: Barrick Gold (ABX), Viacom (VIA.B), Covidien (COV), Freeport McMoran (FCX), Covanta (CVA), Davita (DVA), Schlumberger (SLB), US Bancorp (USB), Halliburton (HAL) and General Electric (GE). These stocks previously did not have enough hedge fund ownership to make the cut, so it's apparent that hedgies were buying those names in Q2.

Without further ado, here are the top 10 stocks on the VIP list ranked by the number of hedge funds with the stock as a top 10 holding:

1. Apple (AAPL): 75 funds
2. JPMorgan Chase (JPM): 42
3. Pfizer (PFE): 36
4. Bank of America (BAC): 34
5. Microsoft (MSFT): 34
6. Citigroup (C): 32
7. Alcon (ACL): 30
8. Google (GOOG): 24
9. Exxon Mobil (XOM): 23
10. Mastercard (MA): 22

In our brand new quarterly newsletter, hedge fund wisdom, we highlighted that many hedgies had been adding Alcon (ACL) in Q2 and the stock consequently has now garnered a place in the top 10 of Goldman's VIP list. What's interesting is that 8 out of the 10 stocks above have seen negative returns year-to-date. Despite Apple's solid performance this year, the weakness in other top holdings could potentially be why so many hedgies are struggling. Mastercard (MA) recently hit a new 52-week low and many hedgies were buying at higher levels in Q2. This stock just broke into the top 10 of the VIP list this quarter.

On a sector basis, hedge funds had their highest weighting in consumer discretionary at 17% followed by information technology at 16%. One interesting find in Goldman's data is that stocks with the least hedge fund ownership have actually outperformed stocks with the highest hedge fund ownership concentration. This just ties into the notion of the hedge fund herd mentality that we've discussed before. Sometimes it's best to head in the opposite direction of the pack.

Embedded below is Goldman Sachs' Hedge Fund Trend Monitor report in its entirety for the second quarter. It includes the VIP list and much more:

You can download a .pdf copy here.

Keep in mind that you can receive complete portfolio updates on 20 of the top hedge funds in the industry via hedge fund wisdom by market folly, our brand new quarterly publication. Readers can receive a free sample issue here.

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