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We follow hedge fund managers because they're the smartest investors around. They leave less to chance than do most investors. They go to great lengths to get an “edge” over ordinary investors. Hedge fund managers also have the resources to do extensive research on public companies and they have access to experts who can guide them. Our research has shown that we are more likely to beat the market by imitating insiders and hedge funds than trading against them. Based on the transactions of 350+ hedge funds compiled by Insider Monkey, we present the list of top 10 agriculture chemical stocks that hedge funds love the most:

Company

Ticker

No. hedge fund

Mosaic

MOS

38

Monsanto

MON

37

C F Industries

CF

35

Potash

POT

29

Hecla Mining

HL

20

Agrium

AGU

18

Teck Resources

TCK

14

Vulcan Materials

VMC

14

Compass Minerals

CMP

11

Intrepid Potash

IPI

11

1. Mosaic (MOS): More hedge funds - in fact, 38 - owned Mosaic in the third quarter than any other agriculture chemical stock. The stock is down year to date, losing more than 30%. Ken Fisher’s Fisher Asset Management has the most shares with 3.77 million. David E. Shaw also boosted his stake in Mosaic during the third quarter. His D. E. Shaw had $135 million worth of MOS at the end of September. John Paulson, Richard Chilton and Glenn Russell Dubin also had large positions in Mosaic at the end of Q3.

2. Monsanto (MON): Monsanto is on the positive side. It's owned by 37 hedge funds (as of September) and so far this year the stock has slightly beaten the S&P 500 index. It has returned nearly 4%. Stephen Mandel's Lone Pine Capital had the most shares among the 350+ hedge funds we track, with more than 5 million shares. John Griffin's Blue Ridge Capital had the second most shares in the third quarter, with just above 3 million shares (see John Griffin’s top stock picks).

3. C F Industries (CF): One of the most popular bets among hedge funds during the last quarter of 2010 was CF Industries. Hedge funds bet on CF Industries to take advantage of soaring food prices. The stock managed to beat the S&P, returning 6% so far in 2011. Thirty-five hedge funds owned CF as of the end of September. Jim Simons and David Tepper were among the hedge fund managers with large stakes in CF at the end of the third quarter (see David Tepper’s top stock picks).

4. Potash (POT): Twenty-nine companies had Potash in their portfolios at the end of Q3. This stock did not perform well recently, and has lost about 16% so far this year. Daniel Bubis’ Tetrem Capital Management slight decreased its position by 1% and had 4.31 million shares in the stock. Andreas Halvorsen’s Viking Global, Richard Chilton’s Chilton Investment Company and Columbus Circle Investors were among POT’s large stakeholders in the third quarter.

5. Hecla Mining (HL): Twenty hedge funds invested in Hecla in the third quarter. The company tumbled this year and is the biggest loser in this list. It has lost 51% so far in 2011. Chuck Royce’s Royce & Associates held the largest chunk of shares among the hedge funds we track. The firm had 4.92 million shares as of September 30, after a 4% increase during Q3.

6. Agrium (AGU): Eighteen hedge funds owned this stock as of the end of September. The company has fared much worse than the S&P. It's down 26% year to date, while the S&P has returned 3% in the same time period. Richard Chilton's Chilton Investment Company increased its position in AGU last quarter by 5% and had more than 1.2 million shares. Daniel Bubis’ Tetrem Capital Management also reported a 1 million position in AGU at the end of the third quarter.

7. Teck Resources (TCK): TCK also had a bad performance in 2011. The stock has lost 41% year to date. Among 14 hedge funds that had TCK in their portfolios, Daniel Bubis’ Tetrem Capital Management had the most, with more than 3 million shares. That is after the firm boosted its position by 25%.

8. Vulcan Materials Co. (VMC): This stock lost 10% in 2011 and was in fourteen hedge funds’ portfolios at the end of the third quarter. Mason Hawkins’ Southeastern Asset Management had more shares in VMC than any other hedge funds. The firm doubled its position during the third quarter and reported 12.76 million shares in VMC at the end of September.

9. Compass Minerals (CMP): This stock also performed worse than the S&P 500 index year to date. It's down 20%. That's not good news for the 11 hedge funds which had it in their portfolios in the third quarter. Adage Capital Management had the most shares. As of the end of September, the firm had 1.12 million shares, up 77% from the quarter before (see Adage Capital Management’s portfolio).

10. Intrepid Potash (IPI): IPI has lost 36% year to date. Eleven hedge funds had it in their portfolios as of the end of September. Chuck Royce's Royce & Associates is on top, with 3.48 million shares, a figure that's 3% smaller than the amount it held the quarter before.



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

Source: 10 Agriculture Chemical Companies That Hedge Funds Love the Most