BALTIMORE (Stockpickr) -- While most investors have been transfixed on the market shift away from 2013's momentum winners, energy stocks have quietly been building strength in 2014.
Year-to-date, energy sector stocks have climbed an average of 3%. Compare that with flat performance from the S&P 500 and losses close to 4% in the momentum-heavy Russell 2000 Index. More important, on a relative strength basis, energy stocks are strengthening as we get deeper into April.
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And fund managers have been piling into that strength in the last quarter. In fact, the energy sector was one of only three equity groups that actually attracted new money in the first quarter. So today, we're taking a closer look at the energy names that pro investors love this year.
To figure that out, we've got to take a closer look at 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 3,700 firms file 13F forms each quarter, and by comparing one quarter's filing with another, we can see how any single fund manager is moving his or her 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 pro investors' $19.3 trillion under management. It's early in 13F filing season still, and that means we're getting an early sneak peek at the few names institutional investors love right now.
Today, we'll focus on hedge funds' five favorite energy stocks.