Facebook Wins Hedge Fund Popularity Contest in the First Quarter

(Bloomberg) -- Facebook Inc., which plunged during the data scandal in March, was the most popular U.S. stock among hedge funds in the first quarter.

Hedge funds made $1.37 billion in net purchases of Facebook in the period, more than any other U.S. stock, according to preliminary data compiled by Bloomberg.

Viking Global Investors more than doubled its shares of Facebook, bringing the value of the stake to $1.49 billion, its largest U.S. equity position as of March 31, according to a regulatory filing Tuesday. Suvretta Capital Management, Soroban Capital Partners and Coatue Management also started new or increased their Facebook holdings.

Shares of the social media giant sunk in mid-March amid revelations that Cambridge Analytica got data on tens of millions of Facebook users without their consent. The stock was down about 9.4 percent for the quarter before recovering for a year-to-date gain.

Facebook Wins Hedge Fund Popularity Contest in the First Quarter

Coatue founder Philippe Laffont wrote in a May 9 letter that analysts are underestimating the long-term earning power of Facebook, which is Coatue’s second-biggest U.S. holding.

“My expectation is that the (up to now) world class management team will do everything they need to do to put these issues to rest,” he said in the letter.

Some funds, including Moore Capital Management, Citadel and Jana Partners, sold Facebook in the first quarter.

Money managers who oversee more than $100 million in the U.S. must file a Form 13F within 45 days of each quarter’s end to list those stocks as well as options and convertible bonds. The filings don’t show non-U.S. securities, holdings that aren’t publicly traded, or cash.

©2018 Bloomberg L.P.