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May 20, 2020, 9:23 a.m. EDT

Here are the ‘hot dogs’ that hedge funds have used to outperform this year

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By Steve Goldstein, MarketWatch


Getty Images
Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella (L) and Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos chat during an American Technology Council roundtable at the White House in Washington, D.C., on June 19, 2017.

The coronavirus pandemic has made hedge funds suddenly relevant again, most notably when Pershing Square hedge-fund manager Bill Ackman made what has been called the best trade of all time by betting against the market before the coronavirus lockdowns.

RBC Capital Markets analyzed the stock-level holdings of 342 hedge funds, based on the 13-Fs filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission, and found the most popular names in hedge funds have been outperforming throughout the first half of 2020. At the top weren’t any surprises — Amazon.com /zigman2/quotes/210331248/composite AMZN +0.42%  and Microsoft /zigman2/quotes/207732364/composite MSFT +1.64%  — though the list does include perhaps less obvious companies such as Fidelity National Information Services /zigman2/quotes/207166559/composite FIS -0.91%  and Charter Communications /zigman2/quotes/201656355/composite CHTR -0.24% .

Granted, much of this outperformance came when the market was collapsing — performance of these companies has been mixed during the recovery. What RBC calls its “hot dogs” has also become more health care focused, with Merck /zigman2/quotes/209956077/composite MRK +0.99% , AbbVie /zigman2/quotes/202428675/composite ABBV +0.76%  and Biogen /zigman2/quotes/201531540/composite BIIB +0.0071% added to the list. It is still led by technology, internet, media and telecom companies. Meanwhile, hedge funds were actively lowering exposure to industrials, notably Boeing /zigman2/quotes/208579720/composite BA +1.41% , Delta Air Lines /zigman2/quotes/200327741/composite DAL +0.33%  and United Airlines /zigman2/quotes/205037281/composite UAL +0.84% .

The buzz

Minutes from the Federal Reserve’s April meeting are due at 2 p.m. Eastern, which could give a sense of whether the central bank has other ideas up its sleeve that it has yet to roll out.

Shares of Fujifilm /zigman2/quotes/208997222/composite FUJIY -0.69%  dropped in Tokyo on reports an off-patent drug for COVID-19 wasn’t effective based on interim analysis.

Home improvement retailer Lowe’s /zigman2/quotes/205563664/composite LOW +2.47%  reported fiscal first-quarter profit and that sales rose well above expectations, and said the sales momentum has continued into May.

Discount retailer Target /zigman2/quotes/207799045/composite TGT +0.56%   also reported fiscal first-quarter profit, revenue and same-store sales that beat expectations.

Clorox /zigman2/quotes/206443229/composite CLX -0.15% , which has benefited from surging demand for cleaning products, lifted its dividend by 5%.

Comedian Joe Rogan is taking his podcast exclusively to Spotify Technology /zigman2/quotes/207488629/composite SPOT -0.11%  in a licensing deal worth more than $100 million, according to The Wall Street Journal .

The U.K. sold its first-ever government bond at a negative interest rate.

The markets

After the late-Tuesday swoon /zigman2/quotes/210599714/realtime SPX +0.91% on concern over the Moderna vaccine, U.S. stock futures were looking brighter again, with futures on the Dow Jones Industrial Average /zigman2/quotes/210407078/delayed YM00 +0.93% up 303 points.

Crude-oil futures /zigman2/quotes/211629951/delayed CL.1 +1.76%  advanced, as did gold /zigman2/quotes/210034565/delayed GC00 -0.40% .

The euro /zigman2/quotes/210561242/realtime/sampled EURUSD -0.2299%  rose vs. the dollar.

The chart


CBO

The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office has produced its latest economic forecast , and it envisions what looks to be a check-mark-shaped recovery for the U.S. economy. The CBO said gross domestic product will contract by 11% in the second quarter, which is equivalent to a 38% drop at an annual rate. The CBO said the unemployment rate will be 15.8% in the third quarter, at which point labor market conditions gradually stabilize.

Random reads

International Bee Day highlights the plight of pollinators .

NASA’s human spaceflight chief has quit a week before astronauts are set to launch from U.S. soil for the first time in a decade.

A death sentence was handed out over Zoom .

Need to Know starts early and is updated until the opening bell, but sign up here to get it delivered once to your email box. Be sure to check the Need to Know item. The emailed version will be sent out at about 7:30 a.m. Eastern.

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US : U.S.: Nasdaq
$ 3,158.17
+13.29 +0.42%
Volume: 3.36M
Sept. 30, 2020 3:06p
P/E Ratio
121.44
Dividend Yield
N/A
Market Cap
$1575.24 billion
Rev. per Employee
$359,671
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/zigman2/quotes/207732364/composite
US : U.S.: Nasdaq
$ 210.65
+3.39 +1.64%
Volume: 19.19M
Sept. 30, 2020 3:06p
P/E Ratio
36.44
Dividend Yield
1.07%
Market Cap
$1568.47 billion
Rev. per Employee
$902,473
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/zigman2/quotes/207166559/composite
US : U.S.: NYSE
$ 147.44
-1.36 -0.91%
Volume: 1.84M
Sept. 30, 2020 3:06p
P/E Ratio
1,618
Dividend Yield
0.95%
Market Cap
$92.20 billion
Rev. per Employee
$179,213
loading...
/zigman2/quotes/201656355/composite
US : U.S.: Nasdaq
$ 624.97
-1.53 -0.24%
Volume: 706,069
Sept. 30, 2020 3:06p
P/E Ratio
58.81
Dividend Yield
N/A
Market Cap
$128.37 billion
Rev. per Employee
$445,245
loading...
/zigman2/quotes/209956077/composite
US : U.S.: NYSE
$ 82.71
+0.81 +0.99%
Volume: 5.49M
Sept. 30, 2020 3:06p
P/E Ratio
20.12
Dividend Yield
2.95%
Market Cap
$207.14 billion
Rev. per Employee
$615,159
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/zigman2/quotes/202428675/composite
US : U.S.: NYSE
$ 87.55
+0.66 +0.76%
Volume: 4.93M
Sept. 30, 2020 3:06p
P/E Ratio
18.62
Dividend Yield
5.39%
Market Cap
$153.35 billion
Rev. per Employee
$1.09M
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/zigman2/quotes/201531540/composite
US : U.S.: Nasdaq
$ 282.37
+0.02 +0.0071%
Volume: 592,247
Sept. 30, 2020 3:05p
P/E Ratio
8.26
Dividend Yield
N/A
Market Cap
$44.70 billion
Rev. per Employee
$1.55M
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/zigman2/quotes/208579720/composite
US : U.S.: NYSE
$ 165.90
+2.30 +1.41%
Volume: 29.79M
Sept. 30, 2020 3:06p
P/E Ratio
N/A
Dividend Yield
0.00%
Market Cap
$92.34 billion
Rev. per Employee
$660,961
loading...
/zigman2/quotes/200327741/composite
US : U.S.: NYSE
$ 30.71
+0.10 +0.33%
Volume: 12.48M
Sept. 30, 2020 3:06p
P/E Ratio
N/A
Dividend Yield
0.00%
Market Cap
$19.52 billion
Rev. per Employee
$499,337
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/zigman2/quotes/205037281/composite
US : U.S.: Nasdaq
$ 34.80
+0.29 +0.84%
Volume: 24.55M
Sept. 30, 2020 3:06p
P/E Ratio
N/A
Dividend Yield
N/A
Market Cap
$10.04 billion
Rev. per Employee
$448,946
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/zigman2/quotes/208997222/composite
US : U.S.: OTC
$ 49.39
-0.34 -0.69%
Volume: 11,322
Sept. 30, 2020 2:48p
P/E Ratio
15.81
Dividend Yield
1.29%
Market Cap
$19.93 billion
Rev. per Employee
$282,319
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/zigman2/quotes/205563664/composite
US : U.S.: NYSE
$ 166.27
+4.01 +2.47%
Volume: 2.37M
Sept. 30, 2020 3:06p
P/E Ratio
22.02
Dividend Yield
1.45%
Market Cap
$122.63 billion
Rev. per Employee
$230,029
loading...
/zigman2/quotes/207799045/composite
US : U.S.: NYSE
$ 157.82
+0.88 +0.56%
Volume: 1.60M
Sept. 30, 2020 3:06p
P/E Ratio
22.70
Dividend Yield
1.73%
Market Cap
$78.57 billion
Rev. per Employee
$209,322
loading...
/zigman2/quotes/206443229/composite
US : U.S.: NYSE
$ 210.09
-0.32 -0.15%
Volume: 882,672
Sept. 30, 2020 3:06p
P/E Ratio
28.50
Dividend Yield
2.12%
Market Cap
$26.51 billion
Rev. per Employee
$717,701
loading...
/zigman2/quotes/207488629/composite
US : U.S.: NYSE
$ 242.18
-0.27 -0.11%
Volume: 860,296
Sept. 30, 2020 3:06p
P/E Ratio
N/A
Dividend Yield
N/A
Market Cap
$44.71 billion
Rev. per Employee
N/A
loading...
/zigman2/quotes/210599714/realtime
US : S&P US
3,365.69
+30.22 +0.91%
Volume: 1.62B
Sept. 30, 2020 3:06p
loading...
/zigman2/quotes/210407078/delayed
US : U.S.: CBOT
$ 27,663.00
+255.00 +0.93%
Volume: 238,833
Sept. 30, 2020 1:56p
loading...
/zigman2/quotes/211629951/delayed
US : U.S.: Nymex
$ 39.98
+0.69 +1.76%
Volume: 310,056
Sept. 30, 2020 2:56p
loading...
/zigman2/quotes/210034565/delayed
US : U.S.: Nymex
$ 1,895.60
-7.60 -0.40%
Volume: 244,461
Sept. 30, 2020 2:56p
loading...
/zigman2/quotes/210561242/realtime/sampled
US : Tullett Prebon
1.1717
-0.0027 -0.2299%
Volume: 0.0000
Sept. 30, 2020 3:06p
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Steve Goldstein is MarketWatch markets editor for Europe. Follow him on Twitter: @MKTWgoldstein.

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