Top Funds' Activity in Q4 2017

Brandon Kochkodin, Hema Parmar and Katia Porzecanski of Bloomberg report, Hedge Funds Are Dumping Facebook and Google:
Billionaire David Tepper’s Appaloosa Management more than tripled its stake in Apple Inc. and almost doubled its holding of Facebook Inc. in the final three months of last year.

Appaloosa reported shares in Apple worth $777 million as of Dec. 31, which represented 7.4 percent of the hedge fund firm’s U.S. stock holdings, according to a regulatory filing Wednesday. Tepper added to his stake in Facebook, his second-biggest position, by more than 2 million shares. That position was valued at $976 million at the end of the fourth quarter.

The FAANG stocks have posted mixed performance this year. Apple is down about 1 percent, while Inc. and Netflix Inc. have soared.

Other big names also expect that the two tech darlings have more room to run. Louis Bacon’s Moore Capital Management added 900,000 shares of Apple, boosting its holding to about $200 million, according to filings. Chase Coleman’s Tiger Global Management pumped up its position in Facebook.

Stephen Mandel’s Lone Pine Capital added a $900 million wager on Amazon snapping up 770,000 shares in the fourth quarter of 2017. The online retailer accounts for nearly 5 percent of the hedge fund’s U.S. stock holdings. The hedge fund firm also started a $625 million stake in Alphabet, buying up about 598,000 shares in the fourth quarter. Meanwhile, it reduced its Facebook position, selling about 632,000 shares of the company.

Some prominent hedge funds retreated from the FAANGs in the fourth quarter.

Philippe Laffont’s Coatue Management, which rode the FAANG wave last year, sold 2.84 million shares of Apple, bringing the value of its holding to $730 million as of Dec. 31. In September, Laffont called the new iPhone X “groundbreaking” but its sales have since disappointed. The firm also reduced its Facebook position by 1.71 million shares, according to regulatory filings Wednesday.

Tiger Global dumped 1.3 million shares of Netflix, leaving it with a stake worth $337 million, and trimmed its Amazon position. Maverick Capital, run by Lee Ainslie, reduced its Facebook and Alphabet Inc. stakes.

It's that time of the year where we get a sneak peek into the holdings of top funds, lagged by 45 days.

From the large, well-known hedge funds, Chase Coleman's Tiger Global just had an astounding year, gaining 50% on its long positions but losing 19% on its shorts:
As Charles “Chase” Coleman looks back on 2017, with his hedge fund Tiger Global up 50% on long exposure but down 19% on the shorts, he has no regrets, sort of.

“TGI’s hit rate on its long positions was the highest ever in our 17-year history and the portfolio generated four times as much profit from its three largest gainers as it lost on its three worst performing positions,” he told investors in  year-end review letter reviewed by ValueWalk ( the letter is dated January 31st, 2018). “On the short side of the portfolio, we felt similarly good about our research process in 2017, but the outcomes were more frustrating. Our short portfolio consists largely of businesses we believe are on the wrong side of change, frauds, and cyclical assets that are over-earning and trading at peak multiples.”
According to Bloomberg, Mr. Coleman's fund also recently amassed a stake of about $1 billion in Barclays Plc, according to a person with knowledge of the hedge fund’s investment:
The New York-based firm’s holding now amounts to about 2.5 percent, the person said, asking not to be identified as the investment hasn’t been publicly disclosed. The purchase makes Tiger Global a top 10 investor in Barclays, the person said. It would be the seventh largest holder, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

A spokesman for Barclays declined to comment, while officials for Tiger Global in New York could not be reached outside regular business hours on Monday. The Financial Times reported Tiger Global’s investment earlier.

Tiger Global, headed by former Julian Robertson protege Chase Coleman, bought some of its stake in Barclays when the bank’s shares slumped to a 52-week low of less than 180 pence in November, the person said. The investment comes amid Barclays Chief Executive Officer Jes Staley’s strategy to focus on the firm’s U.S.-led investment bank and its U.K.-based consumer banking operation.
Smart money buys shares when opportunities arise. Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Inc (BRK-A) on Wednesday disclosed a new stake in generic drugmaker Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd (TEVA) and said it bought more shares of Apple Inc (AAPL), which surpassed Wells Fargo & Co (WFC) as its largest common stock investment.

I've discussed Teva Pharmaceuticals a few times on this blog, noting that David Abrams, Jonathan Jacobson, Ken Griffin and other top managers bought big stakes before and after shares plunged in Q4 (click on image):

You can see a list of Teva's top institutional holders here

Now, full disclosure: After some initital reticence, I listened to my friend in Trois-Rivières, Quebec and bought Teva's shares at $14 after the big plunge. I see more upside and have yet to sell but that can change depending on many factors.

Why was I hesitant? Because I typically don't buy broken charts and huge dips on any stock but when I saw David Abrams and Highfields’ Jonathan Jacobson -- two deep value gurus -- buying a big stake back in Q3 before the big plunge, I inititiated a position after the big dip in Q4 and added to my shares. This week's Berkshire announcement was icing on the cake.

But I'm constantly looking at stocks, hundreds and thousands of stocks and while I'm making great money on Teva shares, I kicked myself for not holding a huge position in Mirati Therapeutics (MRTX) when it was trading at $5 (click on image):

That's the type of chart I like, a big dip, huge consolidation over many months, and then "BAM!", breakout to the upside and making new highs.

And if you look at the top institutional holders of Mirati here, you won't find Warren Buffett and other deep value gurus, but some great biotech funds I track regularly every quarter (see links to all of them below).

Why am I bringing this up? Because when I told you it's time to take a closer look at hedge funds, I wasn't just referring to the large, well-known funds, I was also referring to smaller funds that crushed it in 2017, like Joseph Edelman's Perceptive Life Sciences fund which surged 43 percent last year (that's him at the top of this comment).

Edelman’s Perceptive Advisors and a few other top biotech funds have been generating incredible returns, above and beyond the biotech indexes, and they are part of a new generation of highly specialized sector managers who really know their stuff (still, in biotech, for every home run, you're going to have a few bombs, and even Perceptive has had its share).

I mention this because it's important to look at some of the smaller funds that are delivering alpha. For example, CNBC used data from hedge fund tracking firm to find the top 10 managers and their biggest bets, according to recent filings. Take the time to read this article here.

Whatever you do, stop chasing after Chase Coleman and other large hedge funds coming off great years. You need to really look into their portfolio and think about the positions they're taking given the macro environment.

This is why I spend so much time focusing on macro, because if you don't get your macro calls right, chances are you won't get your hedge funds right and will likely get burned.

Take the time to read some of my macro and market comments form the start of the years:
These comments alone will allow you to gain a much better understanding of my macro concerns and how I view market risks in relation to these concerns.

Why am I sharing this? Because you can be the best stock picker but if the macro winds change abruptly and go against you, it will hurt your portfolio and you will suffer material losses.

This is why I keep telling you to hedge your portfolio risk by putting 50% of your money in US long bonds (TLT) and another 50% in the S&P 500 low vol ETF (SPLV) and "just relax and sleep well at night”. Forget what top funds are buying and selling, if you follow them blindly, you will get crushed.

However, I realize there are traders, portfolio managers and investors who like buying a portfolio of stocks and know how to critically examine what top funds bought and sold last quarter. That's why I put up these quarterly comments.

All I can tell you is analyzing and trading markets and stocks is a passion of mine. I regularly look at the YTD performance of stocks, the 12-month leaders, the 52-week highs and 52-week lows. I also like to track the most shorted stocks and highest yielding stocks in various exchanges and I have a list of stocks I track in over 100 industries/ themes to see what is moving in real time.

When I'm not looking at thousands of stocks and charts and who bought or added to positions, the other thing I love doing is thinking macro. If I were to write a macro comment this week, it would have been titled "Much Ado About US Inflation?", basically ridiculing the inflation scare story because all you need to do is look at the US dollar over the last year to understand this is cyclical (temporary) inflation, not something which is sustainable going forward (lower US dollar, higher import prices, not higher wages!!).

Anyway, have fun looking at the fourth quarter activity of top funds listed below. The links take you straight to their top holdings and then click on the fourth column head, % chg, to see where they decreased (click once on % chg column head) and increased their holdings (click twice on % chg column head).

Top multi-strategy and event driven hedge funds

As the name implies, these hedge funds invest across a wide variety of hedge fund strategies like L/S Equity, L/S credit, global macro, convertible arbitrage, risk arbitrage, volatility arbitrage, merger arbitrage, distressed debt and statistical pair trading.

Unlike fund of hedge funds, the fees are lower because there is a single manager managing the portfolio, allocating across various alpha strategies as opportunities arise. Below are links to the holdings of some top multi-strategy hedge funds I track closely:

1) Citadel Advisors

2) Balyasny Asset Management

3) Farallon Capital Management

4) Peak6 Investments

5) Kingdon Capital Management

6) Millennium Management

7) Eton Park Capital Management

8) HBK Investments

9) Highbridge Capital Management

10) Highland Capital Management

11) Pentwater Capital Management

12) Och-Ziff Capital Management

13) Pine River Capital Capital Management

14) Carlson Capital Management

15) Magnetar Capital

16) Mount Kellett Capital Management 

17) Whitebox Advisors

18) QVT Financial 

19) Paloma Partners

20) Weiss Multi-Strategy Advisors

21) York Capital Management

Top Global Macro Hedge Funds and Family Offices

These hedge funds gained notoriety because of George Soros, arguably the best and most famous hedge fund manager. Global macros typically invest across fixed income, currency, commodity and equity markets.

George Soros, Carl Icahn, Stanley Druckenmiller, Julian Robertson and now Steve Cohen have converted their hedge funds into family offices to manage their own money and basically only answer to themselves (that is my definition of true investment success).

1) Soros Fund Management

2) Icahn Associates

3) Duquesne Family Office (Stanley Druckenmiller)

4) Bridgewater Associates

5) Pointstate Capital Partners 

6) Caxton Associates (Bruce Kovner)

7) Tudor Investment Corporation (Paul Tudor Jones)

8) Tiger Management (Julian Robertson)

9) Moore Capital Management

10) Point72 Asset Management (Steve Cohen)

11) Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation Trust (Michael Larson, the man behind Gates)

12) Joho Capital (Robert Karr, a super succesful Tiger Cub who shut his fund in 2014)

Top Quant and Market Neutral Hedge Funds

These funds use sophisticated mathematical algorithms to make their returns, typically using high-frequency models so they churn their portfolios often. A few of them have outstanding long-term track records and many believe quants are taking over the world. They typically only hire PhDs in mathematics, physics and computer science to develop their algorithms. Market neutral funds will engage in pair trading to remove market beta.

1) Alyeska Investment Group

2) Renaissance Technologies

3) DE Shaw & Co.

4) Two Sigma Investments

5) Cubist Systematic Strategies (a quant division of Point72)

6) Numeric Investors

7) Analytic Investors

8) AQR Capital Management

9) SABA Capital Management

10) Quantitative Investment Management

11) Oxford Asset Management

12) PDT Partners

13) Princeton Alpha Management

14) Angelo Gordon

15) Quantitative Systematic Strategies

Top Deep Value,
Activist, Event Driven and Distressed Debt Funds

These are among the top long-only funds that everyone tracks. They include funds run by legendary investors like Warren Buffet, Seth Klarman, Ron Baron and Ken Fisher. Activist investors like to make investments in companies where management lacks the proper incentives to maximize shareholder value. They differ from traditional L/S hedge funds by having a more concentrated portfolio. Distressed debt funds typically invest in debt of a company but sometimes take equity positions.

1) Abrams Capital Management (the one-man wealth machine)

2) Berkshire Hathaway

3) Baron Partners Fund (click here to view other Baron funds)

4) BHR Capital

5) Fisher Asset Management

6) Baupost Group

7) Fairfax Financial Holdings

8) Fairholme Capital

9) Trian Fund Management

10) Gotham Asset Management

11) Fir Tree Partners

12) Elliott Associates

13) Jana Partners

14) Gabelli Funds

15) Highfields Capital Management 

16) Eminence Capital

17) Pershing Square Capital Management

18) New Mountain Vantage  Advisers

19) Atlantic Investment Management

20) Scout Capital Management

21) Third Point

22) Marcato Capital Management

23) Glenview Capital Management

24) Apollo Management

25) Avenue Capital

26) Armistice Capital

27) Blue Harbor Group

28) Brigade Capital Management

29) Caspian Capital

30) Kerrisdale Advisers

31) Knighthead Capital Management

32) Relational Investors

33) Roystone Capital Management

34) Scopia Capital Management

35) Schneider Capital Management

36) ValueAct Capital

37) Vulcan Value Partners

38) Okumus Fund Management

39) Eagle Capital Management

40) Sasco Capital

41) Lyrical Asset Management

42) Gabelli Funds

43) Brave Warrior Advisors

44) Matrix Asset Advisors

45) Jet Capital

46) Conatus Capital Management

47) Starboard Value

48) Pzena Investment Management

Top Long/Short Hedge Funds

These hedge funds go long shares they think will rise in value and short those they think will fall. Along with global macro funds, they command the bulk of hedge fund assets. There are many L/S funds but here is a small sample of some well-known funds.

1) Adage Capital Management

2) Appaloosa LP

3) Greenlight Capital

4) Maverick Capital

5) Pointstate Capital Partners 

6) Marathon Asset Management

7) Tiger Global Management (Chase Coleman)

8) Coatue Management

9) Omega Advisors (Leon Cooperman)

10) Artis Capital Management

11) Fox Point Capital Management

12) Jabre Capital Partners

13) Lone Pine Capital

14) Paulson & Co.

15) Bronson Point Management

16) Hoplite Capital Management

17) LSV Asset Management

18) Hussman Strategic Advisors

19) Cantillon Capital Management

20) Brookside Capital Management

21) Blue Ridge Capital

22) Iridian Asset Management

23) Clough Capital Partners

24) GLG Partners LP

25) Cadence Capital Management

26) Karsh Capital Management

27) New Mountain Vantage

28) Penserra Capital Management 

29) Silver Point Capital

30) Steadfast Capital Management

31) Brookside Capital Management

32) PAR Capital Capital Management

33) Gilder, Gagnon, Howe & Co

34) Brahman Capital

35) Bridger Management 

36) Kensico Capital Management

37) Kynikos Associates

38) Soroban Capital Partners

39) Passport Capital

40) Pennant Capital Management

41) Mason Capital Management

42) Tide Point Capital Management

43) Sirios Capital Management 

44) Hayman Capital Management

45) Highside Capital Management

46) Tremblant Capital Group

47) Decade Capital Management

48) T. Boone Pickens BP Capital 

49) Bloom Tree Partners

50) Cadian Capital Management

51) Matrix Capital Management

52) Senvest Partners

53) Falcon Edge Capital Management

54) Park West Asset Management

55) Melvin Capital Partners

56) Owl Creek Asset Management

57) Portolan Capital Management

58) Proxima Capital Management

59) Tourbillon Capital Partners

60) Impala Asset Management

61) Valinor Management

62) Viking Global Investors

63) Marshall Wace

64) Light Street Capital Management

65) Honeycomb Asset Management

66) Rock Springs Capital Management

67) Whale Rock Capital

68) Suvretta Capital Management

69) York Capital Management

70) Zweig-Dimenna Associates

Top Sector and Specialized Funds

I like tracking activity funds that specialize in real estate, biotech, healthcare, retail and other sectors like mid, small and micro caps. Here are some funds worth tracking closely.

1) Armistice Capital

2) Baker Brothers Advisors

3) Palo Alto Investors

4) Broadfin Capital

5) Healthcor Management

6) Orbimed Advisors

7) Deerfield Management

8) BB Biotech AG

9) Birchview Capital

10) Ghost Tree Capital

11) Sectoral Asset Management

12) Oracle Investment Management

13) Perceptive Advisors

14) Consonance Capital Management

15) Camber Capital Management

16) Redmile Group

17) RTW Investments

18) Bridger Capital Management

19) Boxer Capital

20) Bridgeway Capital Management

21) Cohen & Steers

22) Cardinal Capital Management

23) Munder Capital Management

24) Diamondhill Capital Management 

25) Cortina Asset Management

26) Geneva Capital Management

27) Criterion Capital Management

28) Daruma Capital Management

29) 12 West Capital Management

30) RA Capital Management

31) Sarissa Capital Management

32) Rock Springs Capital Management

33) Senzar Asset Management

34) Southeastern Asset Management

35) Sphera Funds

36) Tang Capital Management

37) Thomson Horstmann & Bryant

38) Venbio Select Advisors

39) Ecor1 Capital

40) Opaleye Management

41) NEA Management Company

42) Great Point Partners

43) Tekla Capital Management

Mutual Funds and Asset Managers

Mutual funds and large asset managers are not hedge funds but their sheer size makes them important players. Some asset managers have excellent track records. Below, are a few funds investors track closely.

1) Fidelity

2) Blackrock Fund Advisors

3) Wellington Management

4) AQR Capital Management

5) Sands Capital Management

6) Brookfield Asset Management

7) Dodge & Cox

8) Eaton Vance Management

9) Grantham, Mayo, Van Otterloo & Co.

10) Geode Capital Management

11) Goldman Sachs Group

12) JP Morgan Chase & Co.

13) Morgan Stanley

14) Manulife Asset Management

15) RCM Capital Management

16) UBS Asset Management

17) Barclays Global Investor

18) Epoch Investment Partners

19) Thornburg Investment Management

20) Legg Mason (Bill Miller)

21) Kornitzer Capital Management

22) Batterymarch Financial Management

23) Tocqueville Asset Management

24) Neuberger Berman

25) Winslow Capital Management

26) Herndon Capital Management

27) Artisan Partners

28) Great West Life Insurance Management

29) Lazard Asset Management 

30) Janus Capital Management

31) Franklin Resources

32) Capital Research Global Investors

33) T. Rowe Price

34) First Eagle Investment Management

35) Frontier Capital Management

36) Akre Capital Management

37) Brandywine Global

38) Brown Capital Management

39) Victory Capital Management

Canadian Asset Managers

Here are a few Canadian funds I track closely:

1) Addenda Capital

2) Letko, Brosseau and Associates

3) Fiera Capital Corporation

4) West Face Capital

5) Hexavest

6) 1832 Asset Management

7) Jarislowsky, Fraser

8) Connor, Clark & Lunn Investment Management

9) TD Asset Management

10) CIBC Asset Management

11) Beutel, Goodman & Co

12) Greystone Managed Investments

13) Mackenzie Financial Corporation

14) Great West Life Assurance Co

15) Guardian Capital

16) Scotia Capital

17) AGF Investments

18) Montrusco Bolton

19) CI Investments

20) Venator Capital Management

Pension Funds, Endowment Funds, and Sovereign Wealth Funds

Last but not least, I the track activity of some pension funds, endowment and sovereign wealth funds. I like to focus on funds that invest in top hedge funds and have internal alpha managers. Below, a sample of pension and endowment funds I track closely:

1) Alberta Investment Management Corporation (AIMco)

2) Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan

3) Canada Pension Plan Investment Board

4) Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec

5) OMERS Administration Corp.

6) British Columbia Investment Management Corporation (bcIMC)

7) Public Sector Pension Investment Board (PSP Investments)

8) PGGM Investments

9) APG All Pensions Group

10) California Public Employees Retirement System (CalPERS)

11) California State Teachers Retirement System (CalSTRS)

12) New York State Common Fund

13) New York State Teachers Retirement System

14) State Board of Administration of Florida Retirement System

15) State of Wisconsin Investment Board

16) State of New Jersey Common Pension Fund

17) Public Employees Retirement System of Ohio

18) STRS Ohio

19) Teacher Retirement System of Texas

20) Virginia Retirement Systems

21) TIAA CREF investment Management

22) Harvard Management Co.

23) Norges Bank

24) Nordea Investment Management

25) Korea Investment Corp.

26) Singapore Temasek Holdings 

27) Yale Endowment Fund

Below, CNBC's Leslie Picker highlights 13F filings which include investments in retailers. She also highlights Berkshire Hathaway's new stock positions from their fourth-quarter 13F filing.

Hope you enjoyed reading this comment. As always, please remember to kindly donate or subscribe to this blog on the top right-hand side, under my picture and show your support for the work that goes into these comments. I thank all of you who value my efforts and support my blog through a monetary contribution, it's greatly appreciated.