Here Are The 50 Stocks That Big Hedge Funds Love Most

Heart candyREUTERS/Francois LenoirA worker displays a heart-shaped praline for Valentine’s Day at a Wittamer chocolate boutique in Brussels.

FactSet has released its report on the 50 largest hedge funds and their holdings during the third quarter.

These funds increased their exposure to stocks by 3.8% as the market extended its 5-year old bull run. FactSet’s John Butters noted that the most popular stocks to buy were in the in the information technology sector, followed by consumer discretionary and energy sectors.

Shares of Shire PLC were the most bought in the third quarter, even as the biopharmaceutical company negotiated acquisition offers by Abbvie that eventually fell through.

The largest funds owned stocks with a combined market value worth $US790 billion. Using FactSet’s data, we’ve compiled a list of the 50 most widely held stocks and ranked them by the dollar value held by the funds.

50. Twenty-First Century Fox, Class B, is held by 11 funds.

Sector: Consumer Discretionary

Market value held by funds (in millions): $US2,483

Weight of stock in Top 50's aggregated portfolio: 0.3%

% of shares outstanding: 9.3%

Comment: 'We continued our focus on driving long-term value through our planned investments in a number of our growing brands, most notably our new channels FXX, Fox Sports 1 and STAR Sports,' said Chairman and CEO Rupert Murdoch in the company's first quarter earnings release.

Source: FactSet

49. Pioneer Natural Resources is held by 12 funds

Sector: Energy

Market value held by funds (in millions): $US2,563

Weight of stock in Top 50's aggregated portfolio: 0.3%

% of shares outstanding: 9.1%

Comment: 'Looking beyond 2014, Pioneer plans to continue to prudently develop our industry-leading position in the Spraberry/Wolfcamp,' said Scott D. Sheffield, chairman and CEO, in the company's fourth quarter earnings release.

Source: FactSet

47. Hess Corporation is held by 16 funds

Sector: Energy

Market value held by funds (in millions): $US2,598

Weight of stock in Top 50's aggregated portfolio: 0.3%

% of shares outstanding: 9.0%

Comment: 'With our focused, balanced portfolio and strong balance sheet, we are well positioned in the current price environment to drive cash generative growth and sustainable returns for our shareholders,' said CEO John Hess in the third quarter earnings release.

Source: FactSet

46. Gilead Sciences is held by 15 funds

Sector: Health Care

Market value held by funds (in millions): $US2,654

Weight of stock in Top 50's aggregated portfolio: 0.3%

% of shares outstanding: 1.6%

Comment: 'To date approximately 117,000 patients have been treated with Sovaldi and with the introduction of Harvoni - a single tablet regimen for the treatment of HCV-infected individuals which does not require either interferon or ribavirin - many more patients will have the potential to be cured of HCV infection,' said John C. Martin, PhD, Gilead's Chairman and CEO, in the third quarter earnings release
.

Source: FactSet

45. Family Dollar is held by 20 funds

Sector: Consumer Discretionary

Market value held by funds (in millions): $US2,802

Weight of stock in Top 50's aggregated portfolio: 0.4%

% of shares outstanding: 31.7%

Comment: 'While we are still in the early stages of our turnaround plan, we believe that the strategic actions taken in fiscal 2014 will position the Company for better sales and earnings performance in fiscal 2015,' said Howard R. Levine, Chairman and CEO, in the fourth quarter earnings statement.

Source: FactSet

44. JPMorgan Chase is held by 14 funds.

Sector: Financials

Market value held by funds (in millions): $US2,931

Weight of stock in Top 50's aggregated portfolio: 0.4%

% of shares outstanding: 1.3%

Comment: JP Morgan chairman and CEO Jamie Dimon said in the third quarter earnings release: 'While challenges remain in the global economic recovery, the U.S. economy is an exception, showing signs of steady improvement. Corporate America is in good shape with strong balance sheets and employment trends continue to be positive.'

Source: FactSet

41. Citigroup is held by 19 funds

Sector: Financials

Market value held by funds (in millions): $US3,025

Weight of stock in Top 50's aggregated portfolio: 0.4%

% of shares outstanding: 1.9%

Comment: 'With Citi Holdings again turning a profit and the utilization of additional deferred tax assets, we again demonstrated progress against two execution priorities and increased our capital base,' said CEO Michael Corbat, in the third quarter earnings release.

Source: FactSet

40. Anadarko Petroleum Corporation is held by 20 funds

Sector: Financials

Market value held by funds (in millions): $US3,088

Weight of stock in Top 50's aggregated portfolio: 0.4%

% of shares outstanding: 6.0%

Comment: 'We believe the depth and flexibility of our portfolio, along with our efficient allocation of capital and commitment to value acceleration will enable us to continue delivering differentiating value to our shareholders,' said Al Walker, Akadarko CEO, in the third quarter earnings release.

Source: FactSet

39. AIG is held by 19 funds

Sector: Financials

Market value held by funds (in millions): $US3,136

Weight of stock in Top 50's aggregated portfolio: 0.4%

% of shares outstanding: 4.1%

Comment: 'Our new management structure brings together a team that has the skill set, experience, and commitment to execute on our strategies and serve our customers around the world. Together, we remain disciplined in our approach to balancing growth, profitability, and risk and focused on maintaining the strength of our industry-leading balance sheet,' said CEO Peter Hancock in the third quarter earnings release.

Source: FactSet

38. Twenty-First Century Fox, Class A, is held by 22 funds.

Sector: Consumer Discretionary

Market value held by funds (in millions): $US3,161

Weight of stock in Top 50's aggregated portfolio: 0.4%

% of shares outstanding: 6.7%

Comment: 'Our strong earnings and revenue growth in the quarter were driven by continued momentum at our Cable Network Programming and Filmed Entertainment segments, reflecting sustained increases in affiliate fees as well as the global box office success of Dawn of the Planet of the Apes and The Fault in Our Stars,' said CEO Rupert Murdoch in the third quarter earnings release.

Source: FactSet

37. Netflix is held by 16 funds

Sector: Consumer Discretionary

Market value held by funds (in millions): $US3,162

Weight of stock in Top 50's aggregated portfolio: 0.4%

% of shares outstanding: 11.7%

Comment: 'With an incredible variety of original series, films and exclusive licensed content arriving on Netflix in the coming quarters, we will continue to thrill our members and expand our membership,' said CEO Reed Hastings in a letter to shareholders after Q3 earnings were released.

Source: FactSet

36. Plains GP Holdings is held by 1 fund

Sector: Energy

Market value held by funds (in millions): $US3,163

Weight of stock in Top 50's aggregated portfolio: 0.4%

% of shares outstanding: 21.6%

Comment: 'PAA is well positioned for recent developments as our existing asset base and capital program are focused primarily on the core shale basins and key market areas and we ended the quarter with a strong balance sheet, our credit metrics compare favourably to our stated target metrics and we have approximately $US2.5 billion in committed liquidity,' said CEO Greg L. Armstrong in the third quarter earnings release.

Source: FactSet

35. Monsanto is held by 16 funds

Sector: Materials

Market value held by funds (in millions): $US3,169

Weight of stock in Top 50's aggregated portfolio: 0.4%

% of shares outstanding: 5.4%

Comment: CEO Hugh Grant said during the third quarter earnings call: 'There are a few companies as well positioned to dedicate a level of spending to deliver truly transformational long-term platforms while maintaining tangible near-term growth. This is an either/or situation of growth or investment. We plan to do both in 2015, and that's the key opportunity this year.'

Source: FactSet

34. Walgreens is held by 18 funds

Sector: Consumer Staples

Market value held by funds (in millions): $US3,177

Weight of stock in Top 50's aggregated portfolio: 0.4%

% of shares outstanding: 5.6%

Comment: 'With a suite of healthcare services and team of professional in our communities, with our approach to omni-channel access and the strength of our loyalty program and most important, the potential of our strategic partnership with Alliance Boots, we're positioned well to serve the needs of a changing customer and industry,' said CEO Greg Wasson during the fourth quarter earnings call.

Source: FactSet

32. CVR Energy is held by 7 funds

Sector: Energy

Market value held by funds (in millions): $US3,220

Weight of stock in Top 50's aggregated portfolio: 0.4%

% of shares outstanding: 82.9%

Comment: 'Even with the downtime, the Coffeyville and Wynnewood refineries posted combined total crude throughput of 176,367 barrels per day (bpd) for the quarter,' said Jack Lipinski, CVR Energy's CEO, in the third quarter earnings release.

Source: FactSet

31. Adobe is held by 14 funds

Sector: Information Technology

Market value held by funds (in millions): $US3,360

Weight of stock in Top 50's aggregated portfolio: 0.4%

% of shares outstanding: 9.7%

Comment: CEO Shantanu Narayen said during the third quarter earnings call: 'Content and data have never been more important. And Adobe is the leader in both. We have become the trusted content and data partner for the world's biggest brands, media companies, governments and educational institutions. We have a strong tailwind moving into Q4 and are excited about the opportunities ahead.'

Source: FactSet

30. AbbVie is held by 20 funds

Sector: Health Care

Market value held by funds (in millions): $US3,445

Weight of stock in Top 50's aggregated portfolio: 0.4%

% of shares outstanding: 3.7%

Comment: 'In the fourth quarter, we look forward to the U.S. approval of our interferon-free HCV combination, which will further accelerate sales and earnings growth in 2015 and beyond,' said CEO Richard A. Gonzalez during in the third quarter earnings release.

Source: FactSet

29. Thermo Fisher Scientific is held by 15 funds

Sector: Health Care

Market value held by funds (in millions): $US3,455

Weight of stock in Top 50's aggregated portfolio: 0.4%

% of shares outstanding: 7.1%

Comment: 'We're also successfully executing our strategy to expand the markets for our next-generation sequencing technologies with the launch of our Ion PGM Dx system and reagents for clinical use in the U.S. and Europe,' said CEO Marc N. Casper in the third quarter earnings release.

Source: FactSet

28. Covidien is held by 17 funds

Sector: Health Care

Market value held by funds (in millions): $US3,516

Weight of stock in Top 50's aggregated portfolio: 0.4%

% of shares outstanding: 9.0%

Comment: 'Market share gains, strategic acquisitions, the successful launch of new products and productivity improvements all contributed to the achievement of double-digit earnings growth, both for the quarter and for the year,' said Covidien CEO José E. Almeida during the fourth quarter earnings call.

Source: FactSet

27. Wells Fargo is held by 17 funds

Sector: Financials

Market value held by funds (in millions): $US3,534

Weight of stock in Top 50's aggregated portfolio: 0.4%

% of shares outstanding: 1.3%

Comment: 'We continue to see signs of a steadily improving economy, and I remain optimistic about the opportunities ahead for Wells Fargo,' said CEO John Stumpf in the third quarter earnings release.

Source: FactSet

26. Motorola is held by 17 funds

Sector: Information Technology

Market value held by funds (in millions): $US3,559

Weight of stock in Top 50's aggregated portfolio: 0.5%

% of shares outstanding: 22.4%

Comment: 'Additionally, our actions to simplify our operations and remove costs continue to yield sustainable operating expense reductions, which will further position us for longterm success,' said CEO Greg Brown in the third quarter earnings release.

Source: FactSet

25. Hertz is held by 17 funds

Sector: Industrials

Market value held by funds (in millions): $US3,571

Weight of stock in Top 50's aggregated portfolio: 0.5%

% of shares outstanding: 30.7%

Comment: 'Our current equipment rental businesses are leaders in the respective markets with valuable assets and tremendous long-term potential,' said Mark Frissora, former CEO, during the Q3 2013 earnings call.

Source: FactSet

24. Liberty Global is held by 21 funds

Sector: Consumer Discretionary

Market value held by funds (in millions): $US3,634

Weight of stock in Top 50's aggregated portfolio: 0.5%

% of shares outstanding: 16.0%

Comment: 'We are taking advantage of built-in growth opportunities and responding to market changes with a relentless focus on new product development,' said CEO Michael Fries during the third quarter earnings call.

Source: FactSet

21. Equinix is held by 16 funds

Sector: Information Technology

Market value held by funds (in millions): $US3,716

Weight of stock in Top 50's aggregated portfolio: 0.5%

% of shares outstanding: 32.9%

Comment: 'While others may strive to emulate our strategy, we believe that our scale, global footprint, network density and ecosystem reach give us critical advantages that position us as the long-term winner in an increasingly cloud-enabled world,' said CEO Stephen Smith during the third quarter earnings call.

Source: FactSet

20. Dow Chemical Company is held by 22 funds

Sector: Materials

Market value held by funds (in millions): $US4,043

Weight of stock in Top 50's aggregated portfolio: 0.5%

% of shares outstanding: 6.5%

Comment: 'We continued to achieve major milestones in Agricultural Sciences -- such as the recently announced regulatory approvals for our Enlist™ Weed Control System -- despite lower crop prices in a seasonally weak quarter,' said CEO Andrew Liveris in the third quarter earnings release. '
This consistent execution against the plans we have firmly set -- using ROC to drive self-help actions such as prioritizing spending, further enhancing productivity and liberating capital by applying a best-owner mindset to our entire portfolio -- is enabling us to deliver increasing returns and maximise shareholder value creation.'

Source: FactSet

19. Charter Communications is owned by 19 funds

Sector: Consumer Discretionary

Market value held by funds (in millions): $US4,058

Weight of stock in Top 50's aggregated portfolio: 0.5%

% of shares outstanding: 24.7%

Comment: 'Our new product suite, Charter Spectrum, has been deployed and is designed to further build that operating and financial momentum, delivering greater value to both customers and shareholders,' said CEO Tom Rutledge in the third quarter earnings release.

Source: FactSet

18. Comcast is owned by 20 funds

Sector: Consumer Discretionary

Market value held by funds (in millions): $US4,065

Weight of stock in Top 50's aggregated portfolio: 0.5%

% of shares outstanding: 3.5%

Comment: 'We continue to focus on innovation and providing the best experience for our customers, and we are thrilled with the response to our superior X1 platform, which recently reached five million boxes deployed,' said CEO Brian Roberts in the third quarter earnings release.

Source: FactSet

17. Facebook is owned by 20 funds

Sector: Information Technology

Market value held by funds (in millions): $US4,115

Weight of stock in Top 50's aggregated portfolio: 0.5%

% of shares outstanding: 2.6%

Comment: 'We continue to focus on serving our community well and continue to invest in connecting the world over the next decade,' said CEO Mark Zuckerberg in the third quarter earnings release.

Source: FactSet

16. Alibaba is owned by 21 funds

Sector: Information Technology

Market value held by funds (in millions): $US4,209

Weight of stock in Top 50's aggregated portfolio: 0.5%

% of shares outstanding: 1.9%

Comment: 'Our business continues to perform well, and our results reflect both the strength of our ecosystem and the strong foundation we have for sustainable growth,' said CEO Jonathan Lu.

Source: FactSet

15. DIRECTV is owned by 20 funds

Sector: Consumer Discretionary

Market value held by funds (in millions): $US4,304

Weight of stock in Top 50's aggregated portfolio: 0.5%

% of shares outstanding: 9.9%

Comment: 'I think the outstanding collaboration I'm seeing between the AT&T and DIRECTV teams that are planning for our proposed combination, I'm even more excited about the opportunities for the combined company to be more competitive and to find new growth opportunities together,' said CEO Michael White in the third quarter earnings statement.

Source: FactSet

14. Baidu is owned by 18 funds

Sector: Information Technology

Market value held by funds (in millions): $US4,307

Weight of stock in Top 50's aggregated portfolio: 0.5%

% of shares outstanding: 7.2%

Comment: 'The O2O market opportunity is enormous, and our leading positions in mobile search and maps, as well as our extensive sales force, position us optimally to capture that opportunity,' said CEO Robin Li in the third quarter earnings release.

Source: FactSet

13. Micron Technology is owned by 22 funds

Sector: Information Technology

Market value held by funds (in millions): $US4,359

Weight of stock in Top 50's aggregated portfolio: 0.6%

% of shares outstanding: 11.9%

Comment: 'We look forward to a strong Q1 and we feel there is opportunity for improved performance in fiscal year 2015 as we continue to drive our memory solutions to higher value-added customers and segments,' said Micron president Mark Adams during the fourth quarter earnings call.

Source: FactSet

11. Time Warner Cable is owned by 20 funds

Sector: Consumer Discretionary

Market value held by funds (in millions): $US4,532

Weight of stock in Top 50's aggregated portfolio: 0.6%

% of shares outstanding: 11.3%

Comment: Time Warner Cable CEO Rob Marcus said in the third quarter earnings release: 'We're executing well against our plan, with solid subscriber performance and strong financial momentum. We continue to expect the Comcast merger to close in early 2015.'

Source: FactSet

10. MasterCard is held by 21 funds

Sector: Information Technology

Market value held by funds (in millions): $US4,711

Weight of stock in Top 50's aggregated portfolio: 0.6%

% of shares outstanding: 5.7%

Comment: CEO Ajay Banga said in the third quarter earnings release: 'Within the past two months alone, we opened our new technology hub in New York City, delivered our technology and security protocols as part of the launch of Apple Pay and partnered with the Transport for London to deliver contactless payments system-wide. Through our commitment to innovation, we are making it safer and simpler for people to pay and get paid -- today and in the future.'

Source: FactSet

8. Air Products and Chemicals is held by 19 funds

Sector: Materials

Market value held by funds (in millions): $US6,048

Weight of stock in Top 50's aggregated portfolio: 0.8%

% of shares outstanding: 21.8%

Comment: 'The outlook for the global economy is unclear, and as a result, we will focus on implementing our plan to restructure the company, reduce costs, and improve cash flow,' said CEO Seifi Ghasemi in the fourth quarter earnings release.

Source: FactSet

7. Valeant Pharmaceuticals is owned by 16 funds

Sector: Health Care

Market value held by funds (in millions): $US6,476

Weight of stock in Top 50's aggregated portfolio: 0.8%

% of shares outstanding: 14.7%

Comment: 'With our acquisition of Bausch + Lomb now annualized (August 5) and the impact of generics largely behind us, the true strength of our business and operating model can be clearly seen by our financial results,' said Valeant CEO Michael Pearson in the third quarter earnings release.

Source: FactSet

6. Actavis is held by 26 funds

Sector: Health Care

Market value held by funds (in millions): $US6,964

Weight of stock in Top 50's aggregated portfolio: 0.9%

% of shares outstanding: 10.9%

Comment: 'Our investment in generic R&D is reflected in 228 Abbreviated New Drug Applications (ANDAs) pending at the FDA; the initiation of patent challenges for generic forms of Ampyra®, Butrans® and Neupro®; and more than 570 marketing authorizations approved outside the United States,' said CEO Brent Saunders in the third quarter earnings release.

Source: FactSet

4. Microsoft is held by 22 funds

Sector: Information Technology

Market value held by funds (in millions): $US7,892

Weight of stock in Top 50's aggregated portfolio: 1.0%

% of shares outstanding: 2.1%

Comment: 'We are innovating faster, engaging more deeply across the industry, and putting our customers at the center of everything we do, all of which positions Microsoft for future growth,' CEO Satya Nadella said in the
FY15 Q1 earnings release.

Source: FactSet

3. Allergan is held by 25 funds

Sector: Health Care

Market value held by funds (in millions): $US9,310

Weight of stock in Top 50's aggregated portfolio: 1.2%

% of shares outstanding: 17.6%

Comment: 'We are making excellent progress on the stockholder value enhancements announced in July 2014, which are resulting in enhanced non-GAAP diluted earnings per share growth and thus increased stockholder value,' said CEO David Pyott in the third quarter earnings release.

Source: FactSet

2. Icahn Enterprises is held by 2 funds

Sector: Industrials

Market value held by funds (in millions): $US11,354

Weight of stock in Top 50's aggregated portfolio: 1.4%

% of shares outstanding: 89.4%

Comment: Chairman Carl Icahn said in the third quarter earnings release: 'I believe over the long term, our model continues to be one of the best in the world. Proven out by the fact that if an investor had purchased our units at the beginning of 2000 and held through September 30, 2014, an investor would have earned an annualized return of approximately 22%.'

Source: FactSet

1. Apple is held by 25 funds

Sector: Information Technology

Market value held by funds (in millions): $US12,967

Weight of stock in Top 50's aggregated portfolio: 1.6%

% of shares outstanding: 2.1%

Comment: Apple CEO Tim Cook said in the third quarter earnings release: 'With amazing innovations in our new iPhones, iPads and Macs, as well as iOS 8 and OS X Yosemite, we are heading into the holidays with Apple's strongest product lineup ever. We are also incredibly excited about Apple Watch and other great products and services in the pipeline for 2015.'

Source: FactSet

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