GOLDMAN: Here are the 18 stocks that hedge funds love the most

Hedge funds can’t live without Apple.

“As the most popular hedge fund long holding and largest US stock, Apple is a key driver of hedge fund performance as well as US equity earnings growth and returns,” wrote Goldman Sachs’ Ben Snider in the latest Hedge Fund Trend Monitor.

The list is based on Goldman’s analysis of 688 hedge funds, who hold $US882 billion in equity assets that own between 10 and 200 individual stock positions.

The stocks are ranked by the number of hedge funds that hold the stock among their top 10 holdings, from least to most widely held.

Charter Communications

Ticker: CHTR

Sub-sector: Cable & Satellite

No. of funds with stock as top 10 holding: 27

% of equity cap owned by hedge funds: 36%

Comment: Video added the most to the cable company's revenue in 2014, increasing 8.1% to $US1.13 billion year-over-year.

Source: Goldman Sachs

Time Warner Cable

Ticker: TWC

Sub-sector: Cable & Satellite

No. of funds with stock as top 10 holding: 29

% of equity cap owned by hedge funds: 17%

Comment: The $US45-billion purchase of Time Warner Cable by Comcast cleared a hurdle February 13, after an administrative law judge in San Francisco recommended that the Public Utilities Commission endorse the deal.

Source: Goldman Sachs

DIRECTV

Ticker: DTV

Sub-sector: Cable & Satellite

No. of funds with stock as top 10 holding: 29

% of equity cap owned by hedge funds: 18%

Comment: 'Of course, our top priority in 2015 is to successfully close the merger with AT&T and also ensure we'll be ready to hit the ground running as a combined business with compelling bundled offers and services on customer day 1,' CEO Michael White said during the Q4 2014 earnings call.

Source: Goldman Sachs

Delta Air Lines

Ticker: DAL

Sub-sector: Airlines

No. of funds with stock as top 10 holding: 29

% of equity cap owned by hedge funds: 11%

Comment: Delta Airlines' 80,000 global employees will receive $US1.1 billion in profit sharing: The largest in the company's history.

Source: Goldman Sachs

Citigroup

Ticker: C

Sub-sector: Diversified Banks

No. of funds with stock as top 10 holding: 29

% of equity cap owned by hedge funds: 3%

Comment: Citigroup is in the process of selling its consumer lending unit, OneMain Financial Inc., to subprime lender Springleaf Holdings for over $US4 billion, according to a report.

Source: Goldman Sachs

Yahoo!

Ticker: YHOO

Sub-sector: Internet Software & Services

No. of funds with stock as top 10 holding: 30

% of equity cap owned by hedge funds: 12%

Comment: Yahoo entered a five-year partnership with Mozilla to make its search engine the default in Firefox instead of Google's -- 'the most significant partnership for Yahoo in five years,' according to the company.

Source: Goldman Sachs

Microsoft

Ticker: MSFT

Sub-sector: Systems Software

No. of funds with stock as top 10 holding: 31

% of equity cap owned by hedge funds: 2%

Comment: Microsoft is aggressively expanding its share of the mobile market and has acquired several companies in recent months including Sunrise, a calendar app, and Accompli, an email app.

Source: Goldman Sachs

General Motors

Ticker: GM

Sub-sector: Automobile Manufacturers

No. of funds with stock as top 10 holding: 31

% of equity cap owned by hedge funds: 6%

Comment: GM's net profit jumped 22% year-over-year in the fourth quarter to $US1.1 billion, amid several lawsuits related to the recall of over 30 million vehicles.

Source: Goldman Sachs

AIG

Ticker: AIG

Sub-sector: Multi-line Insurance

No. of funds with stock as top 10 holding: 32

% of equity cap owned by hedge funds: 7%

Comment: AIG's profits tanked 67% year-over-year in the fourth quarter, missing estimates. Its shares fell in after-hours trading after the release.

Source: Goldman Sachs

Liberty Global

Ticker: LBTYK

Sub-sector: Cable & Satellite

No. of funds with stock as top 10 holding: 34

% of equity cap owned by hedge funds: 23%

Comment: 'Last month, Liberty Global acquired around 6.4% of ITV plc, the largest commercial TV broadcaster in the U.K., from British Sky Broadcasting Group plc for a total consideration of GBP 481 million (around $US824 million),' according to Zacks.

Source: Goldman Sachs

Medtronic

Ticker: MDT

Sub-sector: Health Care Equipment

No. of funds with stock as top 10 holding: 39

% of equity cap owned by hedge funds: 13%

Comment: Medtronic finalized its $US42.9 billion acquisition of Covidien PLC in January, and will spin off the company to focus on medical supplies.

Source: Goldman Sachs

Allergan

Ticker: AGN

Sub-sector: Pharmaceuticals

No. of funds with stock as top 10 holding: 56

% of equity cap owned by hedge funds: 33%

Comment: Pharmaceutical company Actavis announced plans to sell $US8.4 billion in shares to fund its acquisition of Allergan, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Source: Goldman Sachs

Actavis

Ticker: ACT

Sub-sector: Pharmaceuticals

No. of funds with stock as top 10 holding: 59

% of equity cap owned by hedge funds: 19%

Comment: Actavis will change its name to Allergan after the planned $US66 billion takeover, to focus on patented drugs, Reuters reported.

Source: Goldman Sachs

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