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10 Companies Institutions Bet on in 2018

June 16, 2018, 4 min read

Written by: Jordan Schneir , MBA, Contributor of StockMetrix

10 Companies Institutions Bet on in 2018

When people hear the words institutional investors it conjures up large amounts of capital that know how to make money day in and day out every year. As defined by the SEC, institutional investors are those groups who exercise discretion over $100 million or more. These investors are required to file quarter repots known as 13-F within 45 days after each quarter. Looking through the holdings and changes in ownership can provide valuable insight as to where large amounts of money are placing bets and where they are taking money away from. In this article we delve into the top 10 stocks that saw increases of total dollars invested by institutions in 2018.

Booking Holdings (BKNG) - Rank #1

If you have never heard of this company, you're not alone. Booking Holdings runs travel fare aggregators and travel fare metasearch engines including,, and others. Their increase institutional ownership spanned the gamut of large investors. T Rowe Price was the largest accumulator, with Vanguard and Blackrock each purchasing about half those of T Rowe Price. The list is comprised largely of a who's who of the well-known institutions, with a smattering of smaller private equity.

WorldPay (WP) - Rank #2

Formely Vantiv, Inc. WorldPay is a global payment processor that includes merchant services and financial institutions as its key segments. Similar to the #1 spot, T Rowe Price and Vanguard each accumulated 25M shares in the quarter, followed by Blackrock at 15M shares as the top institutions to accumulate shares.

Facebook (FB) - Rank #3

We recently talked about Facebook in our article comparing Buy & Hold to analyst rankings, noting that analysts typically did a good job of picking up on when to buy and sell Facebook. What stands out here is that Susquehanna International Group (private global trading & technology firm) increased their ownership by ~61% in the quarter, purchasing 22M shares. Only T Rowe Price came close with 10M shares purchased in the quarter.

Berkshire Hathaway (BRK.A) - Rank #4

Owned by the Oracle of Omaha, Berkshire Hathaway manages a basket of investments with Warren Buffet at the helm. His typical holdings span decades in tried and true businesses like Coca-Cola. In 2018 one of the largest changes in ownership came from a significant purchase by Motley Fool Asset Management, LLC. The name may ring a bell as they are famous for their news analysis on the stock market. Interestingly, they are really the only major change in the stock's ownership this year

Vici Properties (VICI) - Rank #5

Famous for the Caesar's Palace Casino in Las Vegas, Vici Properties Inc. owns, acquires and leases real estate assets in the leisure and entertainment industry. Unlike our top 4 holdings, the largest changes in ownership came from Canyon Capital, Allianz Asset Management, Senator Investment Group, and Soros Fund Management. What's notable here is most of the increases in ownership came from hedge funds and private institutions rather than large well-known ones.

Encompass Health Corp (EHC) - Rank #6

Though not frequently traded (with an average volume of under 500K shares per day), the former HealthSouth Corporation provides post-acute healthcare services through its inpatient rehabilitation hospitals and agencies. Both Blackrock and Vanguard topped the list with ~10M shares each. The list of institutional investors splits 60/40 with well-known names picking up most of the stock.

Wynn Resorts (Wynn) - Rank #7

Known for their luxury casinos, Wynn resorts owns and operates casinos and hotels, most notably in Las Vegas. Topping the list again you'll find Vanguard, T Rowe Price, and Blackrock. However, what is notable for the institutional ownership here is the rest of the list is comprised mainly of private asset management groups and hedge funds.

Lennar Corp (LEN) - Rank #8

One of the largest homebuilder in the United States, Lennar provides real estate services on both the commercial and residential segments. While Vanguard and BlackRock top the list of institutional shares picked up, JP Morgan notably grabbed a fairly large increase in their shares relative to all the other holders.

American International Group (AIG) - Rank #9

While many may have thought this company dead during the years of the financial crisis, AIG still survives as a shadow of its former self today. The insurance company picked up a significant stake from Starr International Co, while Capital Research Global Investors and Stat Street reduced their holdings. Also worth noting, though no change in position, Carl Icahn holds a significant stake in the company.

Syneos Health Inc (SYNH) - Rank #10

Syneos Health provides global contract research, focusing on Phase I-IV development services for biopharmaceutical and medical devices. What is more interesting than that is its institutional ownership. Its top two owners, Lee Thomas Partners and Advent International both hold ~25M shares, or nearly half of the institutional ownership. Most interestingly, Advent initiated their entire position this quarter.

What to Glean From These Changes

Most investors won't get much from what are likely large fund rebalances based on preprogrammed strategies. However, notable investments such FB, VICI and SYNH from large private investors should be something to note. These investors are typically risking their own capital and less likely to invest without a solid plan of what they expect to do and what the potential outcomes will be. It's also worth noting that two of the top ten are casino and gaming companies, which likely points to a heavier interest from big capital.


I have no interest in any stocks mentioned, and no holdings in those companies. This article presents only my opinions. I am not receiving compensation for it. I am not in any way associated with any company mentioned in this article.

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