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Given our focus on following hedge fund movements, we thought it would be prudent to post up Goldman Sachs' VIP list. The 'VIP' stands for 'Very Important Positions' for hedge funds that employ fundamental strategies rather than technical or trading. In essence, these are the 50 stocks that most frequently appear among the top ten holdings of hedge funds. In our hedge fund portfolio tracking series you may have noticed various stocks popping up over and over again in Goldman's top 10 holdings. This is simply an aggregation of a larger set of data and stems from our previous coverage of the top ten hedgie holdings.

This basket of stocks returned 40% in 2009 versus 27% for the S&P 500. Goldman also notes that this list has,

outperformed the S&P 500 by 81 bp on a quarterly basis since 2001, with a Sharpe Ratio of 0.29.

Quarterly turnover on this list is typically around 15 positions out of the 50. Those of you with Bloomberg Terminal access can look it up via GSTHHVIP.

Goldman has aggregated data from 487 funds based on the recent slew of 13F filings so these were the most popular stocks owned as of December 31st, 2009. Again, Goldman focuses on fundamentally focused hedge funds but has taken a much broader view of hedge fund land than we typically have. We instead focus on a select list of funds to track that are ideal due to their strategy and portfolio concentration. What's most interesting about the data Goldman has assembled is that many of the positions have actually been down year-to-date for 2010. We found that intriguing given that these are essentially 'groupthink' or consensus picks.

Below you will find Goldman Sachs' VIP List with the name of the stock followed by the number of hedge funds that own that stock in their top ten holdings.

  1. Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL): 67 hedge funds hold it as a top ten holding
  2. Pfizer (NYSE:PFE): 45
  3. Bank of America (NYSE:BAC): 37
  4. Google (NASDAQ:GOOG): 37
  5. JPMorgan Chase (NYSE:JPM): 36
  6. Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT): 36
  7. Mastercard (NYSE:MA): 29
  8. DirecTV (NASDAQ:DTV): 27
  9. Wells Fargo (NYSE:WFC): 27
  10. CVS Caremark (NYSE:CVS): 24
  11. Citigroup (NYSE:C): 23
  12. Hewlett Packard (NYSE:HPQ): 23
  13. Monsanto (NYSE:MON): 23
  14. Visa (NYSE:V): 23
  15. Cisco Systems (NASDAQ:CSCO): 21
  16. Walmart (NYSE:WMT): 21
  17. Oracle (NYSE:ORCL): 18
  18. Qualcomm (NASDAQ:QCOM): 18
  19. Exxon Mobil (NYSE:XOM): 18
  20. Ebay (NASDAQ:EBAY): 17
  21. Wellpoint (WLP): 17
  22. Intel (NASDAQ:INTC): 16
  23. Mead Johnson Nutrition (NYSE:MJN): 16
  24. Merck (NYSE:MRK): 16
  25. Johnson & Johnson (NYSE:JNJ): 15
  26. Liberty Media (LSTZA): 15
  27. Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN): 14
  28. Apache (NYSE:APA): 14
  29. EMC (NYSE:EMC): 14
  30. Express Scripts (NASDAQ:ESRX): 14
  31. Ford Motor (NYSE:F): 14
  32. IBM (NYSE:IBM): 14
  33. Lear (NYSE:LEA): 14
  34. Teva Pharmaceutical (NYSE:TEVA): 14
  35. Yahoo (NASDAQ:YHOO): 14
  36. Crown Castle (NYSE:CCI): 13
  37. McDonald's (NYSE:MCD): 13
  38. Transocean (NYSE:RIG): 13
  39. Barrick Gold (NYSE:ABX): 12
  40. SBA Communications (NASDAQ:SBAC): 12
  41. US Bancorp (NYSE:USB): 12
  42. Anadarko Petroleum (NYSE:APC): 11
  43. Berkshire Hathaway (NYSE:BRK.B): 11
  44. Philip Morris International (NYSE:PM): 11
  45. Transdigm Group (NYSE:TDG): 11
  46. Target (NYSE:TGT): 11
  47. Thermo Fisher Scientific (NYSE:TMO): 11
  48. American Tower (NYSE:AMT): 10
  49. Comcast (NASDAQ:CMCSA): 10
  50. Freeport McMoran (NYSE:FCX): 10

Of the stocks mentioned, there are a handful that are brand new additions to Goldman's VIP list. This means that enough hedge funds have brought their stakes in the company up to a top 10 position in their respective portfolios. Positions that hedgies added largely to in the fourth quarter include: Wells Fargo, Mead Johnson, Merck, Liberty Media, Amazon, Apache, IBM, Lear, Crown Castle, SBA Communications, US Bancorp, Anadarko Petroleum, Target, American Tower, and Freeport McMoran.

Readers will take note that all three major tower stocks are included as we've been harping on this for some time now. We've highlighted how hedgies had increased exposure to AMT, CCI, and SBAC as demand for wireless data service continues to grow. Overall, an insightful list and now you can easily follow the smart money with these consensus plays. For more research from Goldman Sachs, head to our other post which covers an extensive look at the top hedge fund holdings. And don't forget that you can also get specific hedgie portfolio updates by heading to our tracking series where we specifically focus on bottom-up stockpickers.

Original article

Source: Goldman Sachs: The 50 Most Important Stocks for Hedge Funds