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Hedge Funds' Best Picks Show the Way for 2012

Information Technology

The technology sector gets a lot of attention from hedge funds, mostly because it seems like everyone wants to own shares of Apple (AAPL - Get Report). The truth, though, is that the sector has performed admirably this year and should do well into 2012 based on analysts' estimates.

Through Nov. 10, the tech sector of the S&P 500 has climbed 2.4%, falling in the middle of the pack of the 10 sectors of the broad market index. Looking ahead to 2012, analysts expect earnings for the sector to grow 11%, which is a fine enough number but one that also ultimately falls in the middle of the pack.

As tech isn't excelling when it comes to performance or earnings growth expectations, hedge funds managers are predictably found on the opposite sides of stock bets. The 13F system isn't perfect, as we can't tell whether ownership of a stock means the hedge fund manager loves the company or is simply hedging a short position. That said, it's interesting to look at opposing views based on these filings.

Apple is the perfect example. In the second quarter, Apple was among the most held of any stock by hedge funds and it may be likely to repeat again in the third quarter. Viking Global, Greenlight Capital, Omega Advisors, Soros Capital and Citadel all bought shares of the gadget maker during the third quarter. But on the other hand, hedge funds like Bridgewater Associates, Moore Capital, Vinik Asset Management and Tudor Investment dumped shares of the company during the quarter.

The same story holds true among the other big tech stocks. Farallon Capital and Citadel bought Google (GOOG - Get Report) as Moore Capital and Tudor sold. Brevan Howard picked up Cisco (CSCO) while Bridgewatch cut its holding. Third Point, Viking Global, and Soros bought SanDisk (SNDK) shares while JAT Capital sold the stock. Oracle (ORCL), Microsoft (MSFT) and Qualcomm (QCOM) all faced the similar push-and-pull.

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