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HedgeTracker has released its list of the largest US Equity Hedge Fund managers for 2009. The top hedge fund manager, David Shaw’s D.E. Shaw & Co, beat out Jim Simons’ Renaissance Technologies by $540 million. D.E. Shaw & Co, a New York-based hedge fund manager that was founded in 1982 by Mr. Shaw, managed $26,701 million in US Equity Assets at the end of 2009, according to SEC filings. D.E. Shaw’s approach to investing is highly quantitative and employs a number of proprietary models designed to exploit independent sources of market inefficiencies.

The top 5 positions in D.E. Shaw’s overall portfolio were:

  • JP Morgan Chase (NYSE:JPM): $534.9mm / 12,836,937 shares, 0.3% held, Change: $-79.4mm / -1,182,796 shares
  • Warner Chilcott (NASDAQ:WCRX): $524.3mm / 18,415,967 shares, 7.3% held, Change: $524.3mm / 18,415,967 shares
  • Apple Inc (NASDAQ:AAPL): $514.7mm / 2,440,878 shares, 0.3% held, Change: $117.0mm / 295,329 shares
  • Qualcomm Inc (NASDAQ:QCOM): $333.5mm / 7,208,987 shares, 0.4% held, Change: $-107.4mm / -2,592,538 shares
  • General Electric (NYSE:GE): $321.6mm / 21,252,766 shares, 0.2% held, Change: $103.6mm / 7,976,351 shares

Renaissance Technologies, which relies heavily on quantitative models, is second on the list with $26,159 million in assets under management. D.E. Shaw’s equity holdings were down by over $3 billion since 9/30/2009, while Renaissance’s assets only fell by about $270 million over the same period. Some of Renaissance's drop-off in equities can be attributed to it selling out of large positions:

  • Wal-Mart Stores Inc (NYSE:WMT) - Change: -$247.3mm / -5,038,500 shares
  • Procter & Gamble (NYSE:PG) - Change: $-143.1mm / -2,470,029 shares
  • Nike Inc (NYSE:NKE) - Change: $-127.2mm / -1,965,900 shares
  • XTO Energy (XTO) - Change: $-121.4mm / -2,937,923 shares
  • Intuitive Surgical Inc (NASDAQ:ISRG) - Change: $-112.6mm / -429,470 shares

It also made a number of notable purchases, including:

  • Apple Inc (AAPL): $540.9mm / 2,566,819 shares, 0.3% held, Change: $320.2mm / 1,519,700 shares
  • Ford Motor Co (NYSE:F): $311.3mm / 31,134,809 shares, 1.1% held, Change: $226.7mm / 22,673,200 shares
  • Goldman Sachs Group Inc (NYSE:GS): $146.5mm / 867,600 shares, 0.2% held, Change: $137.9mm / 816,900 shares
  • Burlington Northern Santa Fe (BNI): $123.0mm / 1,247,000 shares, 0.4% held, Change: $123.0mm / 1,247,000 shares
  • Priceline Com (NASDAQ:PCLN): $122.8mm / 562,199 shares, 1.2% held, Change: $116.9mm / 535,299 shares

The next hedge fund manager on the list is Robert Atchinson and Phil Gross’ Adage Capital Partners, which was founded by the two Harvard Management Co veterans in 2001. The Boston-based firm reported equity assets of $19,958 million, up $986 million from their previous filing. It benefitted from the 4th Quarter stock performances of Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) and Microsoft Corp (NASDAQ:MSFT), of which they held 383,750 shares and 10,830,800 shares, respectively. Top purchases made by the firm over the 4th quarter were:

  • Pfizer Inc (NYSE:PFE): $209.2mm / 11,500,827 shares, 0.2% held, Change: $209.2mm / 11,500,827 shares
  • Merck & Co Inc (NYSE:MRK): $180.6mm / 4,943,679 shares, 0.2% held, Change: $180.6mm / 4,943,679 shares
  • Boeing Co (NYSE:BA): $197.5mm / 3,648,194 shares, 0.5% held, Change: $116.2mm / 2,146,493 shares
  • XTO Energy Inc (XTO): $154.5mm / 3,321,066 shares, 0.6% held, Change: $119.4mm / 2,470,100 shares
  • Wells Fargo & Co (NYSE:WFC): $297.7mm / 11,031,688 shares, 0.3% held, Change: $102.6mm / 4,105,600 shares

John Paulson’s Paulson & Co came in fourth with $19,493 in US equity assets under management. The venerable hedge fund saw its equity asset fall by -$970 million as it sold out of a number of very large equity positions, including:

  • Wyeth (WYE): $0.0mm / shares, 0.0% held, Change: $-2,511.3mm / -51,694,300 shares
  • Schering Plough Corp (SGP): $0.0mm / shares, 0.0% held, Change: $-1,627.8mm / -57,621,600 shares
  • Liberty Entertainment Group (LMDIA): $0.0mm / shares, 0.0% held, Change: $-1,392.2mm / -44,750,000 shares

The hedge fund manager also made some notable purchases, including a $741.8mm / 44,000,000 new position in Comcast Corp (NASDAQ:CMCSA). The firm favored financials as it picked up shares of:

  • Citigroup Inc (NYSE:C): $1,677.2mm / 506,700,000 shares, 2.2% held, Change: $684.2mm / 206,700,000 shares
  • Suntrust Banks Inc (NYSE:STI): $616.4mm / 30,380,700 shares, 6.1% held, Change: $586.0mm / 28,880,700 shares
  • Wells Fargo (WFC): $472.3mm / 17,500,000 shares, 0.4% held, Change: $472.3mm / 17,500,000 shares
  • JP Morgan Chase (JPM): $291.7mm / 7,000,000 shares, 0.2% held, Change: $208.4mm / 5,000,000 shares
  • CIT Group Inc (NYSE:CIT): $121.2mm / 4,391,155 shares, 1.1% held, Change: $121.2mm / 4,391,155 shares
  • Conseco Inc (NYSE:CNO): $122.3mm / 24,455,000 shares, 13.2% held, Change: $104.3mm / 20,855,000 shares
  • State Street Corp (NYSE:STT): $87.1mm / 2,000,000 shares, 0.5% held, Change: $87.1mm / 2,000,000 shares

Rounding out the top five Hedge Funds is Eddie Lampert’s ESL Investments with assets of $11,034 million. The firm saw its equity assets jump by $1,721 million as its three core portfolio holding, largely Sear Holdings (NASDAQ:SHLD), performed strongly during the 4th Quarter of 2009:

  • Sears Holdings Corp (SHLD): $5,509.7mm / 66,024,366 shares, 54.6% held
  • Autozone Inc (NYSE:AZO): $3,187.4mm / 20,164,606 shares, 37.5% held
  • Autonation Inc (NYSE:AN): $1,526.7mm / 79,721,834 shares, 45.0% held

Mr. Lampert has been the Chairman of Sears Holdings since 2005, when he orchestrated the acquisition of Sears, Roebuck and Co. by Kmart Holding Corp. The rest of the firm's concentrated portfolio of 11 stocks was mainly dedicated to financial stocks and included:

  • Capital One Financial Corp (NYSE:COF): $368.6mm / 9,615,000 shares, 2.4% held, Change: $-7.1mm / -185,000 shares
  • CIT Group Inc (CIT): $125.0mm / 4,527,973 shares, 1.1% held, Change: $125.0mm / 4,527,973 shares
  • Citigroup Inc (C): $103.4mm / 31,250,000 shares, 0.1% held, Change: $41.4mm / 12,500,000 shares
  • Genworth Financial (NYSE:GNW): $99.6mm / 8,775,684 shares, 2.0% held, Change: 0 shares
  • Wells Fargo (WFC): $40.5mm / 1,500,000 shares, 0.0% held, Change: $40.5mm / 1,500,000 shares
  • Acxiom Corp (NASDAQ:ACXM): $33.7mm / 2,507,750 shares, 3.2% held, Change: $-5.5mm / -409,106 shares
  • SLM Corp (NASDAQ:SLM): $32.6mm / 2,890,810 shares, 0.6% held, Change: $-15.3mm / -1,359,190 shares
  • Bank of America (NYSE:BAC): $6.8mm / 453,512 shares, 0.0% held, Change: $6.8mm / 453,512 shares

For more information on other top hedge funds and portfolio managers, please visit HedgeTracker’s Complete Hedge Fund Directory and its lists of top hedge fund firm launches.

Disclosure: Author holds long positions in JPM, GE, WMT, PG, PFE

Source: Largest U.S. Equity Hedge Funds Revealed