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Interested to know which stocks hedge funds are most excited about?

We screened the S&P 500 for those seeing the highest net institutional buying over the current quarter, expressed as a percent of share float.

Interactive Chart: Press Play to compare changes in analyst ratings over the last two years for the top six stocks mentioned below. Analyst ratings sourced from Zacks Investment Research.‬

We also created a price-weighted index of the stocks mentioned below, and monitored the performance of the list relative to the S&P 500 index over the last month. To access a complete analysis of this list's recent performance, click here.


(Click to enlarge)

Do you agree with hedge funds on these stocks? Use this list as a starting point for your own analysis.

List sorted by net institutional shares purchased as a percent of share float.

1. Express Scripts Inc. (NASDAQ:ESRX): Provides a range of pharmacy benefit management (NYSEMKT:PBM) services in North America. Market cap of $20.97B. Net institutional shares purchased over the current quarter at 43.2M, which is 8.96% of the company's 481.99M share float. Might be undervalued at current levels, with a PEG ratio at 0.92, and P/FCF ratio at 11.64. The stock is a short squeeze candidate, with a short float at 16.23% (equivalent to 9.06 days of average volume). The stock has lost 18.37% over the last year.

2. Avalonbay Communities Inc. (NYSE:AVB): Engages in the development, redevelopment, acquisition, ownership, and operation of multifamily communities in the United States. Market cap of $11.35B. Net institutional shares purchased over the current quarter at 7.9M, which is 8.38% of the company's 94.24M share float. The stock is a short squeeze candidate, with a short float at 10.04% (equivalent to 8.67 days of average volume). The stock has performed poorly over the last month, losing 11.96%.

3. DENTSPLY International Inc. (NASDAQ:XRAY): Designs, develops, manufactures, and markets dental consumable products, dental laboratory products, and dental specialty products worldwide. Market cap of $4.79B. Net institutional shares purchased over the current quarter at 10.9M, which is 7.74% of the company's 140.89M share float. The stock is a short squeeze candidate, with a short float at 8.25% (equivalent to 7.6 days of average volume). The stock has performed poorly over the last month, losing 12.88%.

4. Ecolab Inc. (NYSE:ECL): Develops and markets products and services for the hospitality, foodservice, healthcare, and industrial markets primarily in the United States. Market cap of $12.85B. Net institutional shares purchased over the current quarter at 15.0M, which is 7.29% of the company's 205.69M share float. The stock is a short squeeze candidate, with a short float at 12.45% (equivalent to 10.61 days of average volume). The stock has gained 15.57% over the last year.

5. Capital One Financial Corp. (NYSE:COF): Operates as the bank holding company for the Capital One Bank (NYSE:USA), National Association and Capital One, National Association, which provide various financial products and services in the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom. Market cap of $19.24B. Net institutional shares purchased over the current quarter at 32.7M, which is 7.24% of the company's 451.81M share float. The stock has performed poorly over the last month, losing 10.96%.

6. Medtronic, Inc. (NYSE:MDT): Manufactures and sells device-based medical therapies worldwide. Market cap of $36.71B. Net institutional shares purchased over the current quarter at 71.8M, which is 6.77% of the company's 1.06B share float. The stock has gained 5.21% over the last year.

7. Williams Companies, Inc. (NYSE:WMB): Engages in finding, producing, gathering, processing, and transporting natural gas primarily in the United States. Market cap of $18.14B. Net institutional shares purchased over the current quarter at 34.7M, which is 5.91% of the company's 587.29M share float. The stock has gained 37.86% over the last year.

8. HCP, Inc. (NYSE:HCP): An independent hybrid real estate investment trust. Market cap of $15.03B. Net institutional shares purchased over the current quarter at 23.3M, which is 5.75% of the company's 405.14M share float. The stock is a short squeeze candidate, with a short float at 6.53% (equivalent to 6.67 days of average volume). The stock has gained 18.07% over the last year.

9. Kimco Realty Corporation (NYSE:KIM): A publicly owned real estate investment trust. The firm engages in acquisitions, development, and management of neighborhood and community shopping centers. Market cap of $6.25B. Net institutional shares purchased over the current quarter at 22.3M, which is 5.68% of the company's 392.33M share float. The stock is a short squeeze candidate, with a short float at 5.86% (equivalent to 5.08 days of average volume). The stock has performed poorly over the last month, losing 14.6%.

10. CarMax Inc. (NYSE:KMX): Operates as a retailer of used vehicles in the United States. Market cap of $6.39B. Net institutional shares purchased over the current quarter at 12.7M, which is 5.64% of the company's 225.23M share float. The stock is a short squeeze candidate, with a short float at 8.62% (equivalent to 6.53 days of average volume). The stock has lost 13.93% over the last year.

11. Legg Mason Inc. (NYSE:LM): Operates as an asset management company worldwide. Market cap of $3.44B. Net institutional shares purchased over the current quarter at 5.3M, which is 4.69% of the company's 112.92M share float. The stock has performed poorly over the last month, losing 15.03%.

12. Whole Foods Market, Inc. (NASDAQ:WFM): Engages in the ownership and operation of natural and organic food supermarkets. Market cap of $11.76B. Net institutional shares purchased over the current quarter at 7.3M, which is 4.49% of the company's 162.74M share float. The stock has performed poorly over the last month, losing 11.68%.

13. Oracle Corporation (NYSE:ORCL): Develops, manufactures, markets, distributes, and services database and middleware software, applications software, and hardware systems worldwide. Market cap of $150.68B. Net institutional shares purchased over the current quarter at 175.5M, which is 4.45% of the company's 3.94B share float. The stock has performed poorly over the last month, losing 11.26%.

14. Health Care REIT Inc. (NYSE:HCN): Engages in investment, development, and management of properties. Market cap of $9.32B. Net institutional shares purchased over the current quarter at 7.9M, which is 4.44% of the company's 177.99M share float. The stock is a short squeeze candidate, with a short float at 7.48% (equivalent to 5.85 days of average volume). The stock has gained 11.14% over the last year.

15. Rockwell Collins Inc. (NYSE:COL): Engages in the design, production, and support of communications and aviation electronics for commercial and military customers worldwide. Market cap of $8.06B. Net institutional shares purchased over the current quarter at 6.0M, which is 4.25% of the company's 141.32M share float. The stock has lost 3.99% over the last year.

16. The Mosaic Company (NYSE:MOS): Engages in the production and marketing of concentrated phosphate- and potash-based crop nutrients for the agriculture industry worldwide. Market cap of $22.76B. Net institutional shares purchased over the current quarter at 18.8M, which is 4.21% of the company's 446.15M share float. The stock is currently stuck in a downtrend, trading 8.38% below its SMA20, 9.77% below its SMA50, and 25.09% below its SMA200. The stock has performed poorly over the last month, losing 17.5%.

17. Boston Properties Inc. (NYSE:BXP): A real estate investment trust, together with its subsidiaries, engages in the ownership and development of office properties. Market cap of $13.33B. Net institutional shares purchased over the current quarter at 5.7M, which is 3.92% of the company's 145.34M share float. The stock is a short squeeze candidate, with a short float at 7.84% (equivalent to 7.78 days of average volume). It's been a rough couple of days for the stock, losing 5.09% over the last week.

18. MEMC Electronic Materials Inc. (WFR): Engages in the development, manufacture, and sale of silicon wafers for the semiconductor industry worldwide. Market cap of $935.71M. Net institutional shares purchased over the current quarter at 9.0M, which is 3.92% of the company's 229.54M share float. The stock is currently stuck in a downtrend, trading 16.54% below its SMA20, 26.01% below its SMA50, and 53.64% below its SMA200. It's been a rough couple of days for the stock, losing 6.67% over the last week.

19. Public Storage (NYSE:PSA): Operates as a real estate investment trust. Market cap of $21.53B. Net institutional shares purchased over the current quarter at 5.4M, which is 3.80% of the company's 142.04M share float. The stock has gained 33.33% over the last year.

20. Wynn Resorts Ltd. (NASDAQ:WYNN): Engages in the development, ownership, and operation of destination casino resorts. Market cap of $14.32B. Net institutional shares purchased over the current quarter at 2.9M, which is 3.69% of the company's 78.57M share float. This is a risky stock that is significantly more volatile than the overall market (beta = 2.46). The stock is currently stuck in a downtrend, trading 7.66% below its SMA20, 11.35% below its SMA50, and 16.12% below its SMA200. It's been a rough couple of days for the stock, losing 5.88% over the last week.

*Data from 11/25. Institutional data sourced from Fidelity, all other data sourced from Finviz.

Disclosure: I have no positions in any stocks mentioned, and no plans to initiate any positions within the next 72 hours.

Source: 20 S&P 500 Stocks With The Highest Hedge Fund Buying