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Many leading funds filed forms 13-D and 13-G (and form 4) with the SEC this week (March 19th to March 21st, 2012), indicating that they had amended their ownership in U.S. traded public companies. The following are the most notable institutional trades based on our analysis of those filings (for more info on Forms 13-D and 13-G, and how to interpret that, please refer to the end of this article):

Novagold Resources Inc. (NYSEMKT:NG): NG is a Canadian company engaged in the exploration and development of gold, silver and copper in Alaska and British Columbia. On Tuesday, New York-based investment advisory and asset management firm The Electrum Group filed SEC Form SC 13D/A indicating that it intends to exercise all of the warrants it holds to acquire 32.74 million shares in addition to the 53.23 million shares it already owns, thereby boosting its ownership of NG from 19.2% to 27.7%. In its filing, Electrum stated that it intends to exercise the warrants before the planned spin-out of NG's NovaCopper unit.

Electrum is headed by renowned American entrepreneur and natural resources investor Thomas Kaplan, and is principally focused on the natural resources sector. Previously, at the beginning of March, we also reported that famed hedge fund Paulson & Co. filed an SC 13D/A indicating that it increased its stake in NG from 7.0 million to 29.95 million shares. NG currently generates losses, and trades at 7.4 P/B compared to the average of 2.3 for its peers in the gold mining group.

Quantum Fuel System Tech (NASDAQ:QTWW) and Bionovo Inc. (OTC:BNVI): QTWW is a manufacturer of advanced propulsion systems, energy storage technologies and alternative fuel vehicles. It focuses on three main areas: Transportation, Stationary Power, and Refueling Infrastructure. It manufactures both components and end products. In the Transportation sector, QTWW designs and supplies state-of-the-art fuel system technologies to many of the world's leading OEMs with Hydrogen systems for both Internal Combustion Engine and Fuel Cell applications and Natural Gas and LPG fuel systems for internal combustion applications.

On Monday, New York-based hedge fund Empery Asset Management, that specializes in private placements and PIPE investments, filed SEC Form SC 13G indicating that it holds 4.23 million or 9.9% of outstanding shares, and also warrants to purchase an additional 6.78 million shares.

Also, Empery filed a SEC Form SC 13G on Monday indicating that it holds 4.91 million shares or 9.9% of outstanding shares, and warrants to purchase an additional 5.74 million shares of BNVI, a clinical-stage drug discovery and development company that focuses on developing drug candidates in the areas of women's health and cancer. Besides Empery, New York-based multi-strategy hedge fund Hudson Capital Management also filed SEC Form SC 13G today indicating that it holds 4.50 million shares, and warrants to purchase an additional 5.74 million shares.

Sealed Air Corp. (NYSE:SEE): SEE manufactures packaging and related materials and systems for food, industrial, medical and consumer applications. On Tuesday, Tucson, AZ-based independent investment firm Davis Selected Advisers, with $45.9 billion in 13-F assets at the end of Q4, filed SEC Form SC 13D/A indicating that it holds 12.2 million or 6.3% of outstanding shares, a decrease from the 14.6 million shares it reported holding via a SC 13D/A filing last month, and from the 15.8 million shares it reported holding at the end of Q4.

Even after this sale, Davis is still by far the largest institutional holder of SEE, with the next largest Vanguard holding 9.7 million shares at the end of Q4. SEE trades at 10-11 forward P/E and 1.3 P/B compared to averages of 12.0 and 1.7 for its peers in the paper & plastic containers packaging group, while earnings are projected to rise at a 20.9% annual rate from $1.30 in 2011 to $1.90 in 2013.

Williams-Sonoma Inc. (NYSE:WSM): WSM is a specialty retailer of products for the home, operating 592 home furnishings and accessories stores. On Wednesday, New York-based hedge fund Luxor Capital group, with $2.14 billion in 13-F assets at the end of Q4, filed SEC Form SC 13G indicating that it 5.14 million or 5.0% of outstanding shares, an increase from 1.5 million shares it held at the end of Q4. WSM beat analyst earnings estimates in its latest Q4 (ending January) reported two weeks ago, and guided Q1 EPS below consensus; its shares trade at a current 17.6 P/E and 3.2 P/B compared to averages of 18.9 and 2.6 for its peers in the retail home furnishings group.

Credit: Fundamental data in this article were based on SEC filings, Zacks Investment Research, Thomson Reuters and Briefing.com. The information and data is believed to be accurate, but no guarantees or representations are made.

Disclaimer: Material presented here is for informational purposes only. Nothing in this article should be taken as a solicitation to purchase or sell securities. Before buying or selling any stock you should do your own research and reach your own conclusion. Further, these are our 'opinions' and we may be wrong. We may have positions in securities mentioned in this article. You should take this into consideration before acting on any advice given in this article. If this makes you uncomfortable, then do not listen to our thoughts and opinions. The contents of this article do not take into consideration your individual investment objectives so consult with your own financial adviser before making an investment decision. Investing includes certain risks including loss of principal.

Source: Noteworthy Institutional 5% Ownership Filings This Week