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The stock market is a labyrinth. There are twists and turns, and it is not always easy to see where you're going. Sometimes you can take what looks like a sure path and end up getting surprised by a dead-end or find a shortcut to massive returns.

Hedge funds have an advantage when it comes to the market. It's not because they're so much more talented or intelligent than other investors, although those things do help. Rather the issue is the resources they have at hand. Hedge fund managers may not have a map to the library, but they have teams of analysts studying it 24/7, and that gives them an edge. After all, when you're charging "2 and 20" (that's a 2% management fee and a 20% performance fee - the standard charges in the hedge fund industry,) you better be able to deliver.

The thing is that because nothing is a sure bet even the most accomplished hedge fund manager can lose his way sometimes, misread the signals, or play his cards too early. We saw a lot of this last year, as very accomplished hedge fund managers like John Paulson lost a bundle through calls that were ill-timed. But, while the case of Paulson may have caught the interest of the media, there are loads of other hedge funds that actually had a good year and made some calls that were fairly impressive.

Here is a list of the long shots that have worked very well since the end of the 3rd quarter and hedge fund managers who played them. Each of these companies has returned greater than 50% in the last year and is priced at less than 15 times its forward earnings.

NewMarket Corp. (NEU) is a specialty chemicals company with a $2.79 billion market cap. The company is currently priced at 12.82 times its forward earnings and has a beta of 1.68. NEU has returned 64.92% last year. It is recently traded at $207.86 a share. Israel Englander's Millennium Management, Alexander Mitchell's Scopus Asset Management and Joel Greenblatt's Gotham Asset Management each initiated new positions in NEU during the third quarter.

Lorillard, Inc. (LO) is a cigarette company with a $15.13 billion market cap. The company is currently priced at 13.12 times its forward earnings and has a beta of 0.39. LO has returned 53.31% last year. It recently traded at $112.07 a share. Ken Griffin's Citadel Investment Group initiated a $19.63 million position in LO during the third quarter. Louis Bacon's Moore Global Investments and David Costen Haley's HBK Investments also opened new holdings in the company during the third quarter.

V.F. Corporation (VFC) is a clothing company with a $14.54 billion market cap. The company is currently priced at 13.88 times its forward earnings and has a beta of 0.93. VFC has returned 63.04% last year. It recently traded at $131.72 a share. Ken Heebner's Capital Growth Management opened a stake in VFC worth $68.66 million in VFC during the third quarter. Alexander Mitchell's Scopus Asset Management and Sac Subsidiary Sigma Capital Management also initiated new positions in the company during the third quarter.

Delphi Financial Group, Inc. (DFG) is a life insurance company with a $2.42 billion market cap. The company is currently priced at 11.65 times its forward earnings and has a beta of 1.96. DFG has returned 54.68% last year. It recently traded at $44.27 a share. Chuck Royce's Royce & Associates opened a new position in DFG during the third quarter, so did Doug Case's Advanced Investment Partners.

Humana, Inc. (HUM) is a health care plan company with a $15.45 billion market cap. The company is currently priced at 11.84 times its forward earnings and has a beta of 1.12. HUM has returned 66.41% last year. It recently traded at $94.52 a share. Paul Reeder and Ed Shapiro's Par Capital Management opened a position in HUM worth roughly $43.64 million during the third quarter. Christopher Medlock James' Partner Fund Management, Israel Englander's Catapult Capital Management and Alec Litowitz and Ross Laser's Magnetar Capital initiated new holdings in the company as well.

HealthSpring, Inc. (HS-OLD) is a health care plan company with a $3.71 billion market cap. The company is currently priced at 12.45 times its forward earnings and has a beta of 1.69. HS has returned 83.05% last year. It recently traded at $54.66 a share. Andreas Halvorsen's Viking Global initiated a new $111.69 million stake in HS during the third quarter. Anand Parekh's Alyeska Investment Group and Robert Pohly's Samlyn Capital also introduced new positions in HS during the third quarter.

WellCare Health Plans, Inc. (WCG) is a health care plan company with a $2.48 billion market cap. The company is currently priced at 14.11 times its forward earnings and has a beta of 1.92. WCG has returned 83.07% last year. It recently traded at $57.85 a share. Christopher Medlock James' Partner Fund Management and Paul Tudor Jones' Tudor Investment Corp both opened new holdings in WCH during the third quarter.

Jazz Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (JAZZ) is a biotech company with a $2.05 billion market cap. The company is currently priced at 14.29 times its forward earnings and has a beta of 2.08. JAZZ has returned 130.33% last year. It is recently traded at $48.60 a share. Richard Driehaus' Driehaus Capital opened a new $11.37 million stake in JAZZ during the third quarter. Ken Heebner's Capital Growth Management and Israel Englander's Millennium Management also initiated new stakes in the company in the third quarter.

Macy's, Inc. (M) is a department store chain with a $14.63 billion market cap. The company is currently priced at 10.96 times its forward earnings and has a beta of 1.63. M has returned 51.87% last year. It is recently traded at $34.84 a share. Lee Ainslie's Maverick Capital opened a sizable position in M during the third quarter. It was worth over $107.70 million at the end of September. Jean-Marie Eveillard's First Eagle Investment also opened a sizable position in the company during the third quarter, worth $87.73 million.

Source: 9 Long Shot Winners And Hedge Funds That Took Them