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Hedge Funds Are Crazy About Alphabet Inc. (GOOGL)

We recently compiled a list of the 10 Stocks Hedge Funds Are Crazy About Right Now. In this article, we are going to take a look at where Alphabet Inc. (NASDAQ:GOOGL) stands against the other hedge fund-approved stocks.

Investing, broadly speaking, narrows down to two strategies. These see an investor decide whether to buy a stock for the short term and make quick profits or hold it for years to patiently wait for the returns to accrue. One of the most successful investor of our times, Warren Buffett (see his latest portfolio), is an ardent follower of the latter approach, and his wealth bears testament to his success.

Of course, deciding to pick the right stocks to sit on for years isn't easy or else everyone would be rich by now. However, there are ways in which one can gain an edge over others. One such way is to see what the professionals are doing and then emulate their strategy. At Insider Monkey, we get right at the heart of investing by picking out the top stocks that hedge funds are investing in. Why hedge fund stock picks? Well, these professionals, who almost often charge an arm and a leg for their services, conduct extensive due diligence to pick out the right set of stocks. After all, no one would invest with a hedge fund if the fund was simply picking stocks by flipping a coin.

Yet, while due diligence is great and necessary to protect investors, investing, at the end of the day, is all about returns. By the looks of it, the funds do seem to know what they're doing. Last year, the top ten hedge fund stock picks ended up outperforming the S&P benchmark stock index by 48.9 percentage points. In other words, while the index returned 26.1% in 2023, the top ten stocks returned 75.1% through price gains. This trend is also present in the top 30 hedge fund stocks of 2023 as these posted 53.2% in gains to outperform the S&P by 27 percentage points. Unsurprisingly, year to May 29th, the top 30 hedge fund stocks of 2024 led the S&P's 11% and posted 20.2% in gains.

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Unfortunately, though, data shows that as of 2021 end, 14% of the stock market was made of active funds while 16% was accounted for by passive funds. Compared to passive funds accounting for 8% of the market a decade ago with 20% belonging to active funds, it's clear that the broader public believes that shifting to passive is a safer investment approach. After all, while everyone wants to make money, no one wants to lose it either.

But what if one could make their own investing decisions and gain an inside track to investing by figuring out what stocks most hedge funds have invested in? Well, at Insider Monkey we regularly compile data from more than 900 hedge funds to see where the smart money is headed. This is how we know that the top hedge fund stocks outperformed the benchmark index last year, and it's also a strategy that's helped us beat the market over the last 10 years. Compared to the SPY's 235.6% in returns between 2014 and May 2024, the 10 most popular stocks among hedge funds returned 463.7%.

But wait. At this point, you could argue that since hedge fund SEC filings come with a 45 day lag, perhaps they aren't that important. After all, it might be more important to know what the funds are doing now. Well, since we've been compiling top hedge fund stocks since 2012 in our quarterly newsletter, we can guarantee you that the top hedge fund stocks haven't changed by much since 2018. So not only isn't the time lag that significant, but by subscribing to our newsletter, you can gain an early track to see which stocks are falling out of favor among the funds as well.

So, all this talk about the top hedge fund stocks might make you wonder about the stocks themselves. Curious? Check out the 31 Most Popular Stocks Among Hedge Funds. We also cover legendary investors through pieces such as Warren Buffett’s 12 Longest Held Stocks.

Our Methodology

To make our list of the top ten hedge fund stocks, we scanned Insider Monkey's database of 900+ hedge fund filings for Q1 2024 and picked out the stocks with the highest number of investors.

A user's hands typing a search query into a Google Search box, emphasizing the company's search capabilities.

Alphabet Inc. (NASDAQ:GOOGL)

Number of Hedge Fund Investors In Q1 2024: 222

Alphabet Inc. (NASDAQ:GOOGL) is a global household name due to its variety of products such as Google Search, YouTube, and Gmail. The bulk of Alphabet Inc. (NASDAQ:GOOGL)'s fortunes are because of its dominance in the global search engine industry and lucrative deals with firms like Apple that make Search the default platform on thousands of devices. Additionally, Alphabet Inc. (NASDAQ:GOOGL) is also a key player in the AI software industry, and its models compete with big ticket players such as the Microsoft backed OpenAI. Any threats to Alphabet Inc. (NASDAQ:GOOGL)'s dominance in Search, any alternative products by customers, and a shift in global use cases to AI that's not developed by Alphabet Inc. (NASDAQ:GOOGL) could be bad news for the firm.

Baron Funds mentioned Alphabet Inc. (NASDAQ:GOOGL) in its Q1 2024 investor letter. The firm wasn't particularly worried about the technology giant losing its dominant status in the market. Here is what the firm said:

During the quarter, we initiated a position in Alphabet Inc., the parent company of Google, the world’s largest search and online advertising company. Alphabet has over 90% market share in its core Google search business, it owns the world’s leading video platform, YouTube (which has over 2 billion users), a competitive cloud service provider, Google Cloud, a leading ad network, and optionality in a number of smaller subsidiaries like the autonomous vehicle company, Waymo.

Google’s core search business continues to grow at a solid clip, and we believe it could structurally earn much higher margins than it does today as the company increases operating efficiency. Google Cloud should also continue growing in the healthy double digits for years to come given the relatively early stage of cloud adoption with $597 billion total cloud spending14 in 2023 out of worldwide IT spending of $4.7 trillion15, or around 13%. Additionally, YouTube has a long runway for growth, driven by the growing adoption of connected TV and the shift of advertising dollars from linear TV.

When ChatGPT originally came out in November 2022, it appeared that Google was caught a bit unprepared for a potential change in the way people search. While the advancements of GenAI represent a risk to Google, we believe investors underappreciate the company’s positioning in AI and have assigned too high of a probability that the risk materializes. Alphabet owns the largest consumer training datasets (particularly across Search and YouTube), which in our view are important ingredients for competitive advantages in AI, it has massive user distribution (nine products with over 1 billion users each), long-standing AI research labs (DeepMind and Google Brain), top AI/ML engineering talent (Google invented the transformer AI architecture16, which is the basis for the modern LLMs including Chat GPT), a solid cloud computing division in Google Cloud, and deep pockets for investing in AI.

Overall GOOGL ranks 4th on our list of the best hedge fund-approved stocks to buy. You can visit 10 Stocks Hedge Funds Are Crazy About Right Now to see the other hedge fund-approved stocks that are on hedge funds’ radar. While we acknowledge the potential of GOOGL as an investment, our conviction lies in the belief that AI stocks hold greater promise for delivering higher returns, and doing so within a shorter timeframe. If you are looking for an AI stock that is more promising than GOOGL but that trades at less than 5 times its earnings, check out our report about the cheapest AI stock.

 

READ NEXT: Analyst Sees a New $25 Billion "Opportunity" for NVIDIA and Jim Cramer is Recommending These 10 Stocks in June.

 

Disclosure: None. This article is originally published at Insider Monkey.