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BHP Group (BBL): Are Hedge Funds Right About This Stock?

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Our extensive research has shown that imitating the smart money can generate significant returns for retail investors, which is why we track nearly 900 active prominent money managers and analyze their quarterly 13F filings. The stocks that are heavily bought by hedge funds historically outperformed the market, though there is no shortage of high profile failures like hedge funds' 2018 losses in Facebook and Apple. Let’s take a closer look at what the funds we track think about BHP Group (NYSE:BBL) in this article.

BHP Group (NYSE:BBL) was in 23 hedge funds' portfolios at the end of March. The all time high for this statistic is 24. BBL has experienced an increase in hedge fund interest lately. There were 18 hedge funds in our database with BBL holdings at the end of December. Our calculations also showed that BBL isn't among the 30 most popular stocks among hedge funds (click for Q1 rankings).

In the financial world there are a large number of tools investors have at their disposal to grade stocks. A pair of the most under-the-radar tools are hedge fund and insider trading indicators. We have shown that, historically, those who follow the top picks of the best fund managers can outperform the broader indices by a solid amount. Insider Monkey's monthly stock picks returned 206.8% since March 2017 and outperformed the S&P 500 ETFs by more than 115 percentage points (see the details here). That's why we believe hedge fund sentiment is a useful indicator that investors should pay attention to.

YORK CAPITAL MANAGEMENT
YORK CAPITAL MANAGEMENT

James Dinan of York Capital Management

At Insider Monkey, we scour multiple sources to uncover the next great investment idea. For example, Chuck Schumer recently stated that marijuana legalization will be a Senate priority. So, we are checking out this under the radar stock that will benefit from this. We go through lists like the 10 best battery stocks to pick the next Tesla that will deliver a 10x return. Even though we recommend positions in only a tiny fraction of the companies we analyze, we check out as many stocks as we can. We read hedge fund investor letters and listen to stock pitches at hedge fund conferences. You can subscribe to our free daily newsletter on our homepage. Now we're going to take a gander at the fresh hedge fund action regarding BHP Group (NYSE:BBL).

Do Hedge Funds Think BBL Is A Good Stock To Buy Now?

Heading into the second quarter of 2021, a total of 23 of the hedge funds tracked by Insider Monkey were bullish on this stock, a change of 28% from the previous quarter. By comparison, 21 hedge funds held shares or bullish call options in BBL a year ago. With the smart money's positions undergoing their usual ebb and flow, there exists a select group of notable hedge fund managers who were upping their stakes substantially (or already accumulated large positions).

According to publicly available hedge fund and institutional investor holdings data compiled by Insider Monkey, Fisher Asset Management, managed by Ken Fisher, holds the most valuable position in BHP Group (NYSE:BBL). Fisher Asset Management has a $413.5 million position in the stock, comprising 0.3% of its 13F portfolio. The second most bullish fund is Farallon Capital, with a $231.5 million position; 1.3% of its 13F portfolio is allocated to the stock. Some other professional money managers that are bullish encompass Peter Rathjens, Bruce Clarke and John Campbell's Arrowstreet Capital, D. E. Shaw's D E Shaw and Israel Englander's Millennium Management. In terms of the portfolio weights assigned to each position Sand Grove Capital Partners allocated the biggest weight to BHP Group (NYSE:BBL), around 3.04% of its 13F portfolio. York Capital Management is also relatively very bullish on the stock, setting aside 2.19 percent of its 13F equity portfolio to BBL.

As industrywide interest jumped, some big names were leading the bulls' herd. Farallon Capital, assembled the largest position in BHP Group (NYSE:BBL). Farallon Capital had $231.5 million invested in the company at the end of the quarter. Orkun Kilic's Berry Street Capital also made a $18.8 million investment in the stock during the quarter. The other funds with brand new BBL positions are James Dinan's York Capital Management, Louis Bacon's Moore Global Investments, and Frank Fu's CaaS Capital.

Let's also examine hedge fund activity in other stocks - not necessarily in the same industry as BHP Group (NYSE:BBL) but similarly valued. We will take a look at Morgan Stanley (NYSE:MS), SAP SE (NYSE:SAP), Amgen, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMGN), HDFC Bank Limited (NYSE:HDB), Bristol Myers Squibb Company (NYSE:BMY), Philip Morris International Inc. (NYSE:PM), and Shopify Inc (NYSE:SHOP). All of these stocks' market caps are closest to BBL's market cap.

[table] Ticker, No of HFs with positions, Total Value of HF Positions (x1000), Change in HF Position MS,79,5285168,13 SAP,19,1473996,5 AMGN,47,1001957,-2 HDB,27,1964796,-4 BMY,81,5037397,-50 PM,48,5494085,-4 SHOP,91,9984457,1 Average,56,4320265,-5.9 [/table]

View table here if you experience formatting issues.

As you can see these stocks had an average of 56 hedge funds with bullish positions and the average amount invested in these stocks was $4320 million. That figure was $1354 million in BBL's case. Shopify Inc (NYSE:SHOP) is the most popular stock in this table. On the other hand SAP SE (NYSE:SAP) is the least popular one with only 19 bullish hedge fund positions. BHP Group (NYSE:BBL) is not the least popular stock in this group but hedge fund interest is still below average. Our overall hedge fund sentiment score for BBL is 41.5. Stocks with higher number of hedge fund positions relative to other stocks as well as relative to their historical range receive a higher sentiment score. This is a slightly negative signal and we'd rather spend our time researching stocks that hedge funds are piling on. Our calculations showed that top 5 most popular stocks among hedge funds returned 95.8% in 2019 and 2020, and outperformed the S&P 500 ETF (SPY) by 40 percentage points. These stocks gained 23.8% in 2021 through July 16th and surpassed the market again by 7.7 percentage points. Unfortunately BBL wasn't nearly as popular as these 5 stocks (hedge fund sentiment was quite bearish); BBL investors were disappointed as the stock returned 5.7% since the end of March (through 7/16) and underperformed the market. If you are interested in investing in large cap stocks with huge upside potential, you should check out the top 5 most popular stocks among hedge funds as most of these stocks already outperformed the market in 2021.

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Disclosure: None. This article was originally published at Insider Monkey.