By Steve Goldstein, MarketWatch
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 -1.56% and Microsoft /zigman2/quotes/207732364/composite MSFT +0.53% — though the list does include perhaps less obvious companies such as Fidelity National Information Services /zigman2/quotes/207166559/composite FIS +0.31% and Charter Communications /zigman2/quotes/201656355/composite CHTR +1.75% .
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 +1.03% , AbbVie /zigman2/quotes/202428675/composite ABBV +0.65% and Biogen /zigman2/quotes/201531540/composite BIIB -6.11% 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 +2.87% , Delta Air Lines /zigman2/quotes/200327741/composite DAL -0.80% and United Airlines /zigman2/quotes/205037281/composite UAL -1.42% .
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 +2.27% 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 +0.32% 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 +1.07% 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 +2.91% 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.
After the late-Tuesday swoon /zigman2/quotes/210599714/realtime SPX +0.58% 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 +0.31% up 303 points.
The euro /zigman2/quotes/210561242/realtime/sampled EURUSD +0.1257% rose vs. the dollar.
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.
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 .
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