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Fund manager explains how to approach Magnificent 7 stocks

Published 26/02/2024, 15:02
Updated 26/02/2024, 15:02
© Reuters -- So far this year, investors have been primarily focused on the "Magnificent Seven" stocks, with Nvidia (NASDAQ:NVDA), of course, the standout performer. However, one fund manager believes investors should be cautious.

Javier de Berenguer, Investment Manager and Fund Selector at MAPFRE Gestión Patrimonial told on Monday that "we need to be cautious when approaching these types of companies."

"We also believe that there is a base error in the market: consider the so-called Magnificent Seven, up to now considered to be on an equal footing," he added.

That view may be playing out as Goldman Sachs (NYSE:GS) said in a note that its recent research shows hedge funds and mutual funds cut exposure to the "Magnificent 7" in the fourth quarter. Hedge funds are said to have trimmed positions in these stocks except for Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN), while Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) also moved into the list of stocks with the largest decline in the number of hedge fund owners.

The average mutual fund is said to have increased its underweight to the aggregate Magnificent 7 by 26 bp and is 672 bp. "Although mutual funds added to Tesla (NASDAQ:TSLA) and Amazon, all seven stocks sit in our basket of mutual fund underweights," wrote Goldman Sachs.

Meanwhile, de Berenguer added that last year, the Magnificent Seven "enjoyed very favourable tailwinds on the back of the AI boom." However, they believe that from this year on, "the paths their stock prices will take will be quite different, both in direction and magnitude."

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"In the end, this is because the nature of their businesses is different, and some of them are oligopolies, but they can't be treated in the same way," he explained.

It is clear to MAPFRE that the market concentration in only those seven companies "leaves great opportunities outside of them," with de Berenguer highlighting the pharmaceutical sector as one to watch.

He feels that although there is no spotlight on them, there are "numerous high-quality companies generating impressive cash flows amid little cyclical sensitivity," and they believe they should be included in a diversified portfolio.

Turning our attention back to the Goldman Sachs note, the firm revealed that both hedge funds and mutual funds have raised their equity exposure alongside the 21% rally since November, with the most popular hedge fund positions having climbed 10% year-to-date compared to 7% for the S&P 500. Mutual fund favorites have lagged at 5%, according to the bank.

"Hedge funds since the start of November have lifted their net leverage exposure concurrent with the reduction in market uncertainty," said Goldman Sachs. "Net leverage now registers at 73%, which ranks in the 99th percentile vs. the last year and in the 58th percentile vs. the last five years."

Furthermore, in the current quarter, the bank stated there are ten "shared favorites." These stocks are Danaher Corporation (NYSE:DHR), Fiserv Inc (NYSE:FI), KKR (NYSE:KKR), Mastercard (NYSE:MA), ServiceNow (NYSE:NOW), Progressive Corp (NYSE:PGR), Uber (NYSE:UBER), Visa (NYSE:V), Vertiv Holdings (NYSE:VRT) and Workday (NASDAQ:WDAY).

The shared favorites have outperformed the S&P 500 in 63% of months since 2013 with an annualized outperformance of 3 pp, according to Goldman Sachs data.

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