Top Funds' Activity in Q4 2019

Aparna Narayanan of Investor's Business Daily reports that Warren Buffett made some surprising buys and sells for Berkshire Hathaway in Q4:
Warren Buffett bought shares of Kroger (KR) and Biogen (BIIB) in the fourth quarter, but the investing legend further pared his Apple (AAPL) and Wells Fargo (WFC) stakes, Berkshire Hathaway's (BRKB) latest quarterly 13F filings with the SEC showed.

Individual investors use the regulatory data to gauge where the "smart money," including the Oracle of Omaha, is placing its bets. The 13F filings show holdings at the end of each quarter, so big institutions and hedge funds may have made changes to stock positions since then.

Warren Buffett Buys Kroger Stock, Pares Apple Stock

Berkshire Hathaway reduced its stakes in Apple (AAPL) by 3.7 million shares, or a 1% cut; in Wells Fargo (WFC) by 55 million shares, a 14% cut; and in Bank of America (BAC) by more than 2 million shares, a fractional cut.

It left stakes in other top 10 stocks in its portfolio unchanged. The 13F filings showed Berkshire Hathaway also left Amazon (AMZN), which it first bought in Q1 2019, unchanged.

In Q4, the Warren Buffett-run company took new positions in Kroger and Biogen. It bought nearly 19 million shares of Kroger, worth around $549 million, and roughly 649,000 shares of Biogen, worth $192 million.

Berkshire grew its stake in IBD Leaderboard stock RH (RH), formerly Restoration Hardware, by 41%, after first picking up RH stock in Q3. It grew Occidental Petroleum (OXY) by 153%, after also picking up the oil giant in Q3. In 2019, Berkshire Hathaway invested $10 billion in Occidental to help secure funding for its $38 billion acquisition of Anadarko Petroleum.

Buffett began building a stake in Apple after that stock sold off at the start of 2016. Berkshire steadily grew its Apple stake until modest trims in the final two quarters of 2019. In Q3 2019, Berkshire Hathaway had sold shares of both Apple and Wells Fargo.

This Remains The Top Warren Buffett Stock

But Apple stock remains the No. 1 stock in Buffett's portfolio at 29% of assets, as per 13F filings tracked by

Apple also ranks as one of the best investment decisions Buffett has made in his five decades running Berkshire Hathaway. Berkshire Hathaway is estimated to have paid an average $149.26 per Apple share.

Apple stock closed near 325 on the stock market today. Kroger stock surged 6% in late trade after closing down 1.4%. Biogen stock was not active late.

Meanwhile, top hedge funds bought Amazon (AMZN) and sold Microsoft (MSFT) in Q4.
Ms. Narayanan also covered the activity of top hedge funds in Q4:
Top hedge funds bought and sold shares of Alphabet (GOOGLE), Microsoft (MSFT), Facebook (FB), Uber (UBER) and Beyond Meat (BYND) last quarter but they appeared to agree that Amazon (AMZN) was a buy, the latest quarterly 13F filings with the SEC show.

Individual investors use the regulatory data to gauge where the "smart money" is placing its bets. The 13F filings show holdings at the end of each quarter, so hedge funds may have made changes to stock positions since then.

Third Point

Activist investor Dan Loeb of Third Point continued to be active in Q4, adding and dumping dozens of stocks, as per 13F filings tracked by The fund's biggest new buys in the quarter included Avantor (AVTR) and IAA (IAA). Loeb bought 6.5 million shares of salvage car auction specialist IAA worth more than $305 million. IAA stock popped 3.3% to close at 50.34 on the stock market today.

Other significant new buys included Amazon, recently reclaimed a market cap of $1 trillion, Ferrari (RACE), TD Ameritrade (AMTD) and Charles Schwab (SCHW). Online broker stocks had dived in Q4 on the move to zero stock trading commissions.

Third Point exited PayPal (PYPL) and Microsoft in the quarter.

Among top three stocks in the portfolio, Third Point cut its stake in United Technologies (UTX) by 13%, boosted Baxter International (BAX) by 3% and left Allergan (AGN) unchanged. It also cut Salesforce (CRM) by 12%, Campbell Soup (CPB) by 13% and boosted Adobe (ADBE) by 15%, all of them top-10 stocks in the fund's portfolio.

While paring United Technologies stock, Third Point took a new position in Raytheon (RTN). Loeb sought the breakup of United Technologies but opposed the industrial conglomerate's planned merger with defense contractor Raytheon.

Tiger Global Management

Chase Coleman's Tiger Global Management loaded up on tech stocks and fintech stocks. The hedge fund's biggest new Q4 buys included more than 2.4 million shares of PayPal worth roughly $264.8 million and more than 106,000 shares of Alphabet (GOOGL) worth $142.5 million. It also took smaller new positions in Cardlytics (CDLX), XP (XP) and (BILL).

The hedge fund exited Fiat Chrysler (FCAU), MercadoLibre (MELI), Wayfair (W) and Beyond Meat (BYND). Fiat Chrysler announced a mega merger with Peugeot parent PSA Group in the quarter.

Tiger Global grew its stake in Uber (UBER) stake by nearly 15 million shares, or 224%. The ride-share giant is one of the New York-based group's top stock holdings.

Among other top 12 stocks in the portfolio, the fund lowered stakes in Amazon by 13%, Netflix (NFLX) by 27%, Facebook (FB) by 25%, Microsoft by 28%, and Alibaba (BABA) by 54%. But it kept No. 1 stock (JD) steady, at 10% of portfolio assets.

Appaloosa Management

David Tepper's Appaloosa Management was mixed on its three largest positions: trimming Alphabet (GOOG) by 1%, leaving Facebook unchanged, and growing Amazon (AMZN) by 10%. Together, the three FANG stocks make up more than 42% of the fund's portfolio assets (it doesn't own Netflix).

Among other big holdings, the fund increased its Micron Technology (MU) position by 35% and Alibaba (BABA) by 84%.

Jana Partners

Jana Partners bought Wright Medical Group (WMGI) and sold rival orthopedic implant maker Zimmer Biomet (ZBH) in the fourth quarter.

The activist hedge fund helmed by Barry Rosenstein bought more than 648,000 shares of Wright Medical Group worth nearly $20 million, a new position. Jana more than halved its stake in Zimmer Biomet and slashed Axalta Coating Systems (AXTA) by 60%.

Jana Partners kept its stakes in ConAgra (CAG) unchanged, cutting Callaway Golf (ELY) by 4% and Bloomin' Brands (BLMN) by 0.2%. The stocks are Jana's top three holdings by market value and portfolio weighting.

In 2019, Jana Partners liquidated two stock-picking funds to focus on impact investing. It has been pushing for change at Outback Steakhouse owner Bloomin' Brands, and Reuters reported Feb. 3 that Jana plans to nominate several directors at the dining chain, adding pressure as Bloomin' management continues to explore strategic options, including a sale.

Stryker (SYK) announced in November it is acquiring Wright Medical Group.
Zero Hedge also did a nice roundup of what top hedge funds bought and sold last quarter which you can read here.

It's that time of the year again where we get a sneak peek into the portfolios of top funds, with the customary 45-day lag.

I mention this lag because a lot of things happened in markets since the end of Q4, and some are far more worried about preparing for the coming crash than what Warren Buffett and a bunch of hedge funders bought and sold last quarter.

I can pretty much sum up the activity of top funds lately in the two tweets below which I recently posted on Twitter:

That's pretty much it folks, everyone is flocking to US growth stocks as concerns rise over the global economy and that includes top hedge funds whose managers are growing richer than ever before:

But the fascination with top hedge funds continues. I can tell you that Warren Buffett wasn't the only one who increased his holdings of Biogen (BIIB). Jim Simmons’s quantitative hedge fund powerhouse, Renaissance Technologies (RenTec), also increased its stake in Biogen and made some other notable moves, like massively increasing its stake in Tesla (TSLA) and increasing its stake in Sprint (S) as the stock declined before the recent merger news with T-Mobile:

Now, Biogen is a company I know extremely well. It's a biotech powerhouse, one of the top holdings of the iShares Nasdaq Biotech ETF (IBB), and some are banking that its drug, aducamunab, will get approval to be the first new treatment for Alzheimer’s disease in two decades.

As far as Tesla, I'm starting to think the latest parabolic move was another Renaissance Technologies Pump and dump but I have to wait till next quarter to confirm this. All I can tell you is Tesla shorts like Jim Chanos and David Einhorn got scorched this quarter as the stock went parabolic.

On Sprint, RenTec and Dodge & Cox were the top holders as at the end of Q4, so that turned out to be a great move even though there is some uncertainty surrounding the merger with T-Mobile.

Another notable hedge fund manager I'd like to bring to your attention is Bill Ackman who has quietly been making a nice comeback this year. If you look at his top holdings, you'll see Chipotle (CMG), Starbucks (SBUX) and Restaurant Brands (QSR).

Anyway, markets are closed due to Presidents Day so have fun looking at the latest quarterly activity of top funds listed below.

The links take you straight to their top holdings and then click on the column head "Change (%)" to see where they increased and decreased their holdings (you have to click once or twice to see).

I added TCI Fund Management, the world's most profitable hedge fund last year to my list of activist funds. I also added the top holdings of Skye Global Management, a L/S Equity fund started by ex-Third Point manager Jamie Sterne three years ago (at the age of 28) and the top-performing hedge fund last year posting a 54% gain, trouncing his rivals and the S&P 500 (we shall see if he can keep it up).

I also added Simplex Trading to my list of quant funds to track because I find it an interesting quant shop but I must admit, I don't know them at all. And I added ExodusPoint Capital Management, run by Michael Gelband, to my list of multi-strategy funds.

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. Below are links to the holdings of some top multi-strategy hedge funds I track closely:

1) Appaloosa LP

2) Citadel Advisors

3) Balyasny Asset Management

4) Point72 Asset Management (Steve Cohen)

5) Peak6 Investments

6) Kingdon Capital Management

7) Millennium Management

8) Farallon Capital Management

9) HBK Investments

10) Highbridge Capital Management

11) Highland Capital Management

12) Hudson Bay Capital Management

13) Pentwater Capital Management

14) Sculptor Capital Management (formerly known as Och-Ziff Capital Management)

15) ExodusPoint Capital Management

16) Carlson Capital Management

17) Magnetar Capital

18) Whitebox Advisors

19) QVT Financial 

20) Paloma Partners

21) Weiss Multi-Strategy Advisors

22) 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  have converted their hedge funds into family offices to manage their own money.

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) Discovery Capital Management (Rob Citrone)

10 Moore Capital Management

11) Element Capital

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

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. Some are large asset managers that specialize in factor investing.

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 now part of Man Group

7) Analytic Investors

8) AQR Capital Management

9) Dimensional Fund Advisors

10) Quantitative Investment Management

11) Oxford Asset Management

12) PDT Partners

13) Angelo Gordon

14) Quantitative Systematic Strategies

15) Quantitative Investment Management

16) Bayesian Capital Management

17) SABA Capital Management

18) Quadrature Capital

19) Simplex Trading

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) TCI Fund Management

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

5) BHR Capital

6) Fisher Asset Management

7) Baupost Group

8) Fairfax Financial Holdings

9) Fairholme Capital

10) Gotham Asset Management

11) Fir Tree Partners

12) Elliott Associates

13) Jana Partners

14) Miller Value Partners (Bill Miller)

15) Highfields Capital Management 

16) Eminence Capital

17) Pershing Square Capital Management

18) New Mountain Vantage  Advisers

19) Atlantic Investment Management

20) Polaris 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

49) Trian Fund 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) Viking Global Investors

3) Greenlight Capital

4) Maverick Capital

5) Pointstate Capital Partners 

6) Marathon Asset Management

7) Tiger Global Management (Chase Coleman)

8) Coatue Management

9) D1 Capital Partners

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) Honeycomb Asset Management

27) New Mountain Vantage

28) Penserra Capital Management

29) Eminence 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) Suvretta Capital Management

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) Marshall Wace

63) Light Street Capital Management

64) Rock Springs Capital Management

65) Rubric Capital Management

66) Whale Rock Capital

67) Skye Global Management

68) York Capital Management

69) 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) Avoro Capital Advisors (formerly Venbio Select Advisors)

2) Baker Brothers Advisors

3) Perceptive Advisors

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) Palo Alto Investors

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) Ecor1 Capital

39) Opaleye Management

40) NEA Management Company

41) Great Point Partners

42) Tekla Capital Management

43) Van Berkom and Associates

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) Kornitzer Capital Management

21) Batterymarch Financial Management

22) Tocqueville Asset Management

23) Neuberger Berman

24) Winslow Capital Management

25) Herndon Capital Management

26) Artisan Partners

27) Great West Life Insurance Management

28) Lazard Asset Management 

29) Janus Capital Management

30) Franklin Resources

31) Capital Research Global Investors

32) T. Rowe Price

33) First Eagle Investment Management

34) Frontier Capital Management

35) Akre Capital Management

36) Brandywine Global

37) Brown Capital Management

38) Victory Capital Management

39) Orbis

40) ARK Investment 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

21) Van Berkom and Associates

22) Formula Growth

23) Hillsdale Investment 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 (BCI)

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, money managers are out with their holdings and moves from the fourth quarter. 13F filings hit before the weekend, revealing the latest trends among hedge funds as global equities wrapped up their best year in a decade. Bloomberg’s Dani Burger reports on “Bloomberg Markets: European Open.”

And CNBC's Dominic Chu discusses Berkshire's new positions in Kroger and Biogen as well as other positions. Dominic Chu also breaks down Tiger Global's fourth quarter  13F.

In these liquidity-driven markets, take all this lagged information with a shaker, not grain of salt, and always hedge your downside risk!!

Update: On Tuesday morning, Cathie Wood, the best investor you never heard of, appeared on CNBC. Wood is the CEO of ARK Invest which manages the ARK Innovation ETF (ARKK), the best performer among 584 funds with at least US$1 billion of assets in the global equity market, crushing its competitors with a total return of 165% over the past three years.

Wood has a $7,000 price target on Tesla and is the biggest bull on the company stating that Wall Street's skepticism is "the best wall of worry" she has experienced (see last clip below). You can view the ARK Innovation ETF's top ten holding on Yahoo here. A detailed list of ARK Investment Management's holdings is available here and I added it to my list of US asset managers at the end.

Another ETF I'd like to bring to your attention is the Goldman Sachs Hedge Fund VIP Index (GVIP) which is an ETF that tracks the top holdings of top hedge funds using 13F filings. It too has performed well and you can track its performance and the top holdings here.