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Hedge Funds Have Never Been This Bullish On BlackRock, Inc. (BLK)

Nina Todic

After several tireless days we have finished crunching the numbers from nearly 750 13F filings issued by the elite hedge funds and other investment firms that we track at Insider Monkey, which disclosed those firms' equity portfolios as of March 31. The results of that effort will be put on display in this article, as we share valuable insight into the smart money sentiment towards BlackRock, Inc. (NYSE:BLK).

BlackRock, Inc. (NYSE:BLK) shareholders have witnessed an increase in hedge fund sentiment in recent months. Our calculations also showed that blk isn't among the 30 most popular stocks among hedge funds.

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 flagship best performing hedge funds strategy returned 25.8% year to date (through May 30th) and outperformed the market even though it draws its stock picks among small-cap stocks. This strategy also outperformed the market by 40 percentage points since its inception (see the details here). That's why we believe hedge fund sentiment is a useful indicator that investors should pay attention to.

Tom Gayner

We're going to go over the key hedge fund action encompassing BlackRock, Inc. (NYSE:BLK).

Hedge fund activity in BlackRock, Inc. (NYSE:BLK)

At the end of the first quarter, a total of 45 of the hedge funds tracked by Insider Monkey held long positions in this stock, a change of 25% from the fourth quarter of 2018. The graph below displays the number of hedge funds with bullish position in BLK over the last 15 quarters. So, let's find out which hedge funds were among the top holders of the stock and which hedge funds were making big moves.

No of Hedge Funds with BLK Positions

According to Insider Monkey's hedge fund database, Markel Gayner Asset Management, managed by Tom Gayner, holds the largest position in BlackRock, Inc. (NYSE:BLK). Markel Gayner Asset Management has a $88.3 million position in the stock, comprising 1.5% of its 13F portfolio. The second largest stake is held by Balyasny Asset Management, led by Dmitry Balyasny, holding a $83.9 million position; the fund has 0.6% of its 13F portfolio invested in the stock. Other peers that are bullish include Ken Griffin's Citadel Investment Group, Phill Gross and Robert Atchinson's Adage Capital Management and James Parsons's Junto Capital Management.

As aggregate interest increased, key hedge funds have been driving this bullishness. Point72 Asset Management, managed by Steve Cohen, initiated the most outsized position in BlackRock, Inc. (NYSE:BLK). Point72 Asset Management had $19.8 million invested in the company at the end of the quarter. Matthew Tewksbury's Stevens Capital Management also initiated a $17 million position during the quarter. The other funds with new positions in the stock are Bruce Kovner's Caxton Associates LP, Daniel Johnson's Gillson Capital, and Daniel Lascano's Lomas Capital Management.

Let's now take a look at hedge fund activity in other stocks - not necessarily in the same industry as BlackRock, Inc. (NYSE:BLK) but similarly valued. These stocks are Intuit Inc. (NASDAQ:INTU), Ambev SA (NYSE:ABEV), Becton, Dickinson and Company (NYSE:BDX), and Vale SA (NYSE:VALE). This group of stocks' market caps are similar to BLK's market cap.

[table] Ticker, No of HFs with positions, Total Value of HF Positions (x1000), Change in HF Position INTU,42,2351847,3 ABEV,13,247756,0 BDX,35,784594,-2 VALE,22,1943292,-11 Average,28,1331872,-2.5 [/table]

View table here if you experience formatting issues.

As you can see these stocks had an average of 28 hedge funds with bullish positions and the average amount invested in these stocks was $1332 million. That figure was $754 million in BLK's case. Intuit Inc. (NASDAQ:INTU) is the most popular stock in this table. On the other hand Ambev SA (NYSE:ABEV) is the least popular one with only 13 bullish hedge fund positions. Compared to these stocks BlackRock, Inc. (NYSE:BLK) is more popular among hedge funds. Our calculations showed that top 20 most popular stocks among hedge funds returned 1.9% in Q2 through May 30th and outperformed the S&P 500 ETF (SPY) by more than 3 percentage points. Hedge funds were also right about betting on BLK, though not to the same extent, as the stock returned -0.2% during the same period and outperformed the market as well.

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

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