Hedge Funds Reveal Biggest Purchases, Sales

BOSTON ( The Street Ratings) -- Wall Street's brightest investment minds were required to release their holdings at last night's deadline, giving mere mortals insight into their strategies.

Here's a breakdown of the top hedge fund and investment managers, and the winning and losing industries and stocks during the first quarter, the latest for which information is available.

Within financials, Appaloosa Management, a top-performing hedge fund firm run by David Tepper, cut its bank-stock holdings by 15%. While Citigroup ( C) remains Tepper's top position, he sold nearly 4 million shares in the quarter, while also dumping almost 8 million shares of Bank of America ( BAC).

Paulson & Co., overseen by multibillionaire John Paulson, stuck with the financial sector, remaining a big holder of Citigroup, Bank of America and Wells Fargo ( WFC). TheStreet Ratings' model, based on quantitative information, has a "hold" on Bank of America and Citigroup, yet favors Wells Fargo, which is rated "buy."

Warren Buffett

Steven Cohen's SAC Capital pushed into insurers, as the trading-oriented hedge fund firm added 2.3 million shares of Chubb ( CB), 2 million shares of Ace ( ACE) and 4 million shares of XL Group ( XL). Appaloosa took a new 1.5 million-share position in MetLife ( MET). TheStreet Ratings' model has a "buy" on MetLife, Ace and Chubb, and a "hold" on XL Group.

In the consumer-discretionary sector, Nelson Peltz's Trian Partners reported a new stake in Peet's Coffee ( PEET), and disclosed in a separate regulatory filing yesterday that it had acquired a 9.7% stake in Domino's Pizza ( DPZ). Cohen's SAC Capital announced big increases in holdings of electronics retailer Best Buy ( BBY) and more than doubled its position in BJ's Wholesale ( BJ).

David Einhorn's Greenlight Capital bought shares of Best Buy in a new stake totaling 6 million shares. Bill Ackman had a change of tune on Target ( TGT). The notorious activist, who had spent precious time over the past few years lobbying management, dumped nearly 7.4 million shares of the retailer in the quarter through his Pershing Square Capital Management. Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway ( BRK.A) made only one big splash in the quarter, taking a new $60 million position in credit-card company MasterCard ( MA).
David Einhorn (Greenlight Capital)

In technology, Hewlett-Packard ( HPQ) is a big favorite among hedge funds. John Paulson put nearly $1 billion of new money into the company, while Tepper's Appaloosa invested almost $500 million. Einhorn's Greenlight Capital took a new stake in Yahoo ( YHOO), while also increasing its position in Microsoft ( MSFT). TheStreet Ratings' quantitative model agrees with the investments in Hewlett Packard, as the stock is rated a "buy" with a $47.34 target, offering nearly 19% upside from Monday's closing price of $39.80.

Loeb's Third Point was one of the most active hedge funds in the energy sector, increasing holdings by 17%. Third Point took a new stake in El Paso ( EP), buying 11 million shares, now the largest holding in the fund. Activists have been pressuring El Paso to sell off its exploration-and-production business. Jana Partners, El Paso's fifth-largest shareholder, also added to its position. The stock is rated "hold" by TheStreet Ratings' model, which is concerned with stagnant growth in revenue and cash flow, a high valuation and a substantial debt load for the natural-gas company.
George Soros

George Soros turned his back on gold, as his hedge fund all but unloaded its stake in the SPDR Gold Trust ( GLD), selling 99% of its position, or $648 million worth. But John Paulson, who recently told a U.K. news show that gold could rise to $4,000 an ounce from today's $1,500, kept his 31.5 million shares, or $4.4 billion stake, in the SPDR exchange traded fund. Loeb's Third Point increased its stake in the SPDR Gold Trust by 52,000 shares. Seth Klarman's Baupost Group started a new $87 million position in Allied Nevada Gold ( ANV).

TheStreet Ratings' model likes Allied Nevada, rating the gold miner "buy," with a $42.30 target, offering nearly 30% upside from Monday's close of $32.50. Allied has increased net income and earnings per share 72% and 53%, annually, on average, over the past three years.
Equity research manager Chris Stuart, CFA, joined TheStreet Ratings after working as a senior investment analyst with Merrill Lynch covering small-cap equity and alternative investment strategies. Prior to that, Stuart worked for One Beacon Insurance as an actuarial analyst and at H&R Block as a financial adviser. Stuart earned his bachelor's degree in finance from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. He holds a Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) designation and is a member of the Boston Security Analysts Society (BSAS) and the CFA Institute.