The Morning Brief: Hedge Fund Faves Microsoft, PayPal Surge

Friday was a good day for the stocks of at least two big hedge fund favorites.

Shares of Microsoft surged more than 4 percent, to a record high of $59.66, after beating consensus forecasts for both revenues and earnings for the second straight quarter. In response, Deutsche Bank raised its price target on the stock from $65 to $70, citing very strong results in the software giant’s cloud business. At least 138 hedge funds owned a position in the stock at the end of the second quarter, making it the sixth most popular hedge fund stock. In fact, it is the largest U.S. long of Jeff Ubben’s ValueAct Capital Management.

Shares of PayPal Holdings jumped more than 10 percent, to close at $44.15, after the online payments company reported third-quarter revenue that exceeded forecasts. In addition, it raised its guidance for the next three years. At the end of the second quarter, at least 87 hedge funds held a position in the stock, according to Goldman Sachs. They include 11 funds with roots in Julian Robertson, Jr.’s Tiger Management, according to At least two small Tiger-related funds count the stock among their top holdings, including Slate Path Capital, headed by David Greenspan, who was previously a partner and managing director at Blue Ridge Capital, and Conatus Capital Management, headed by David Stemerman, who previously worked for Lone Pine Capital.


Pershing Square Capital Management bought more than 2.3 million shares of Chipotle Mexican Grill for around $407 per share, boosting the activist’s stake in the casual Mexican dining chain to 9.9 percent. The number of shares purchased is equal to the number of shares Pershing Square disclosed it had owned in early September via over-the-counter forward purchase contracts when the hedge fund initially disclosed its stake. At the time, Pershing Square said Chipotle’s stock was undervalued and warned the company it planned to hold discussions with management and the board of directors, other investors and other potential interested parties related to a variety of governance and business-related issues.



Blue Harbour Group cut its stake in Rackspace Hosting to 4.8 percent. As a result the activist investment firm headed by Cliff Robbins no longer needs to notify regulators when it sells additional shares.