Before we proceed, it is important to point out that 13F filings do not tell the whole story, because these funds are only required to disclose their long positions with the SEC, but are not required to disclose their short positions. A fund making a bearish bet against a stock by shorting calls, for example, might also be long some amount of stock as they trade around their overall bearish position. This long component could show up in a 13F filing and everyone might assume the fund is bullish, but this tells only part of the story because the bearish/short side of the position is not seen.
Having given that caveat, we believe that looking at groups of 13F filings can be revealing, especially when comparing one holding period to another. Below, let's take a look at the change in MRK positions, for this latest batch of 13F filers:
In terms of shares owned, we count 5 of the above funds having increased existing MRK positions from 06/30/2019 to 09/30/2019, with 6 having decreased their positions.
Looking beyond these particular funds in this one batch of most recent filers, we tallied up the MRK share count in the aggregate among all of the funds which held MRK at the 09/30/2019 reporting period (out of the 699 we looked at in total). We then compared that number to the sum total of MRK shares those same funds held back at the 06/30/2019 period, to see how the aggregate share count held by hedge funds has moved for MRK. We found that between these two periods, funds increased their holdings by 700,288 shares in the aggregate, from 42,491,454 up to 43,191,742 for a share count increase of approximately 1.65%. The overall top three funds holding MRK on 09/30/2019 were:
We'll keep following the latest 13F filings by hedge fund managers and bring you interesting stories derived from a look at the aggregate information across groups of managers between filing periods. While looking at individual 13F filings can sometimes be misleading due to the long-only nature of the information, the sum total across groups of funds from one reporting period to another can be a lot more revealing and relevant, providing interesting stock ideas that merit further research, like Merck & Co Inc (Symbol: MRK).
The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.