The biggest hedge funds may be betting on the tax cuts touted by the White House and that seems to be one of the key factors that guided their investments in the first quarter.
Tax cuts are likely to have a huge impact on the economy and will be a big reason that a host of corporate entities are able to potentially repatriate cash that are trapped in off-shore accounts.
But while corporate America is expected to benefit from changes to the overall tax code of the U.S. a cut in taxes could increase consumer purchasing power, thereby benefiting stocks with exposure to consumer spending.
To that end, the consumer staples sector was the biggest net buy for the biggest pure play hedge funds, with $3.4 billion in new purchases made during the quarter according to the according the S&P Global Market Intelligence Quarterly Hedge Fund Tracker. Currently, 15% of the largest fund equity holdings are concentrated in the sector, up from the previous high of around 6% reached in 2013.
Procter & Gamble (PG) saw the biggest rush in by the largest hedge funds. Hedge funds bought 30.3 million shares of Procter & Gamble stock in the second quarter for a total investment of $2.7 billion. Other top stocks bought by the biggest hedge funds included $1.4 billion for Praxair (PX) , $1.4 billion for Marriott International (MAR) , and $859 million for Constellation Brands (STZ) .
Shares of Proctor & Gamble are up 2.5% for the year compared to a 6.5% gain for the S&P 500 over the same timeframe. The stock trades at 21 forward earnings and has a dividend yield of 3.2%.
The technology sector saw the most selling by large hedge funds over the quarter. Microsoft (MSFT) saw $1.6 billion worth of shares sold, Amazon.com (AMZN) saw $1.6 billion worth of shares sold, and Autodesk (ADSK) saw $732 million worth of shares sold.
The total equity assets under management for hedge funds in the analysis increased to $159 billion in the quarter, $6 billion higher than the $153 billion reported in Q4 2016. The total number of equity positions held increased from 424 in Q4 2016 to 427. Soroban Capital Partners was the most active hedge fund in the equity markets.
The report analyzed the latest 13F filings from May 16 to find the largest hedge funds based on reported equity assets. It limited picks to pure play hedge funds that focus on stock picks, are more activist, and have fewer than 100 positions. The analysis then compared the same criteria to the prior quarter.
The funds in the analysis were Viking Global Investors LP, Lone Pine Capital LLC, Icahn Capital LP, Soroban Capital Partners LLC, Glenview Capital Management LLC, Gardner Russo & Gardner, ValueAct Capital Management LP, Trian Fund Management LP, Tiger Global Management LLC and Highfields Capital Management LP.