BALTIMORE ( Stockpickr) -- The stocks the "smart money" loves right now just may surprise you.
Professional investors have spent most of 2013 playing catch-up with the broad market indices. By and large, they were too slow to click "buy" when the rally kicked off last November, and they were too quick to hit "sell" when stocks temporarily corrected in June. As the S&P 500 hits its head on new all-time highs again this week, that's putting scores of fund managers in buy mode as we round the corner to August.
And a handful of their favorite names may come as a surprise. After all, for an industry that's focused on consumer-driven blue chips for most of the year, any move to out-of-favor tickers says a lot about portfolio managers' priorities. So today, we'll take a closer look at five of their favorite surprise stocks.>>5 Bargain Bin Stocks to Buy in 2013 To do that, we're focusing on 13F filings. Institutional investors with more than $100 million in assets are required to file a 13F -- a form that breaks down their stock positions for public consumption. From hedge funds to mutual funds to insurance companies, any professional investors who manage more than that $100 million watermark are required to file a 13F. In total, approximately 3,400 firms file 13F forms each quarter, and by comparing one quarter's filing to another, we can see how any single fund manager is moving their portfolio around. While the data is generally delayed by about a quarter, that's not necessarily a bad thing - research shows that applying a lag to institutional holdings can generate positive alpha in some cases. That's all the more reason to crack open the moves being made with institutions' $14.6 trillion under management. >>5 Dividend Stocks That Want to Pay You More So far, only around 10% of firms have submitted their 13Fs to the SEC. That small sample gives us a sneak peek at which stocks institutions favor right now. Today, we'll focus on five institutional favorites for the most recent quarter of 2013.