When billionaire financier Ray Dalio makes a move, Wall Street pays attention. Dalio, who got his start working on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange trading commodity futures, founded the world’s largest hedge fund, Bridgewater Associates, in 1975. With the firm managing about $150 billion in global investments and Dalio’s own net worth coming at $18.7 billion, he has earned guru-like status by taking the opinions of experts that disagreed with him into consideration.
“I learned a great fear of being wrong that shifted my mind-set from thinking ‘I’m right’ to asking myself ‘How do I know I’m right?’ And I saw clearly that the best way to answer this question is by finding other independent thinkers who are on the same mission as me and who see things differently from me,” he wrote in his book Principles.
On Friday, the Wall Street Journal reported that Bridgewater made a more than $1 billion bet that the market would drop in the next few months. However, Dalio took to Twitter to deny this, claiming that the firm has no such bet. Against this backdrop, investors want to know if the fund manager is simply hedging the portfolio, or if the firm is really as bearish as the report made it out to be.
Looking into Bridgewater’s basket of stocks, we’ve chosen three of the fund’s new holdings that TipRanks’ Stock Screener reveals as “strong buys” and offer healthy upside potential. Let’s take a closer look and see what Wall Street analysts have to say.
Formerly known as Cliffs Natural Resources, Cleveland-Cliffs is one of the top iron ore mining companies and operators. Not only is it the largest iron ore producer of pellets in North America but the steel company also takes its place as one of the lowest cost producers in the world.
During the third quarter, Bridgewater upped the ante by 110%, adding 2,134,146 shares of the company to the fund. This brings Bridgewater’s total CLF holding to 4,081,690 shares, valued at $29.5 million.
Recently, steel prices have been facing significant pressure. Tariffs as well as the high cost of raw-materials have led to price increases, while weakening U.S. industrial production has in turn caused demand for steel to drop. Nonetheless, the bulls are standing firmly behind CLF.
B.Riley FBR analyst Lucas Pipes sees its HBI growth project, which should reach production in the first half of 2020, as well as its level of diversification as giving it a leg up. “We believe that Cliffs retains considerable upside in a stronger commodity price environment in addition to the diversification and strategic benefits of the HBI project,” he commented. As a result, the analyst kept his Buy rating but did adjust his price target from $13 to $12. This implies that there’s room for 51% upside potential. (To watch Pipes’ track record, click here)
Like Pipes, Credit Suisse analyst Curt Woodworth reduced the price target from $12 to $10 following CLF’s third quarter earnings results while remaining bullish overall. Even though he acknowledges that “the move lower in pellet premiums and HRC as well as mix shifts (less export) have conspired to lower the ASP outlook for CLF”, he believes that demand for HBI could be a major profit driver. He adds, “We believe the Street is too negative on CLF given optionality to benefit from new EAF production…CLF remains a best-in-class mining asset with significant FCF potential over the cycle.” (To watch Woodworth’s track record, click here)
In general, the rest of the Street is in agreement. 6 Buys and 2 Holds assigned in the last three months add up to a ‘Strong Buy’ consensus. In addition, its $9.66 average price target suggests 21% upside potential. (See Cleveland-Cliffs stock analysis on TipRanks)
Alexion Pharmaceuticals (ALXN)
Alexion is a biopharma company trying to improve the lives of patients with rare disease including paroxysmal nocturnal hemoglobinuria (PNH), generalized Myasthenia Gravis (gMG), atypical hemolytic uremic syndrome (aHUS) as well as several others.
Despite its impressive performance in its most recent quarter in terms of its financial results and solid execution commercially, shares have been weighed down by concerns over its C5 inhibitor franchise. Alexion is gearing up to face competition from biosimilar products currently in Phase 3 development. On top of this, Roche’s Japanese subsidiary, Chugai Pharmaceutical, filed a patent infringement suit against Alexion.
To this end, the Street is keeping a close watch on ALXN following Dalio’s purchase. The billionaire’s fund snapped up 445,246 shares during the third quarter, bringing Bridgewater’s total ALXN stake to 475,487 shares, up a whopping 1473% from the previous quarter.
Piper Jaffray analyst Christopher Raymond reminds investors that there are still big potential gains in store for ALXN in 2020. “As impressive commercial performance and pipeline development have continued, and with what we view as an increasingly credible defensive strategy to protect against biosimilar competition, we continue to like the setup on this name,” he explained. This prompted the five-star analyst to keep an Overweight rating and $180 price target. At this target, shares could climb 62% higher over the next twelve months. (To watch Raymond’s track record, click here)
Similarly, other analysts have high hopes for the biopharma. With 18 Buys and 2 Holds given over the last three months, the consensus is that ALXN is a ‘Strong Buy’. Not to mention there’s 35% upside potential based on the $151 average price target. (See Alexion stock analysis on TipRanks)
EQT Corporation (EQT)
EQT is the largest natural gas producer in the U.S. with its asset base located in the heart of the Appalachian Basin. With shares down 52% year-to-date, investors are watching this name following Dalio’s decision to increase the fund’s holding.
Dalio just added an additional 1,177,026 shares to the fund, bumping up the stake by 88% from the previous quarter. The holding’s value is now at $26.9 million, based on its total stake of 2,529,370 shares.
It should be noted that several of the Street’s analysts highlight the fact the EQT is taking steps in the right direction. The management team has been using technology in order to improve its logistic and operational processes. RBC Capital analyst Scott Hanold argues this should “enable EQT to reduce well costs toward $730/lateral foot from the historical $970/foot.”
On top of this, the company is potentially selling its Equitrans Midstream ownership within the next nine months, lending itself to Hanold’s conclusion that there will be a $0.10-0.15/Mcfe reduction for EQT. The analyst adds, “EQT shares are currently trading at just 4.4x our 2020 EBITDA, a slight discount to peers, despite having an FCF yield that could reach 10+%. We acknowledge the risk of a few bumps in the road with the new strategies, but the new team appears positioned to execute at EQT’s scale.”
To this end, the analyst boosted the rating to Outperform and increased the price target from $16 to $17. This conveys his confidence in EQT’s ability to soar 88% over the next twelve months. (To watch Hanold’s track record, click here)
Most analysts back Hanold’s confident take on the gas giant, as TipRanks analytics showcase EQT as a Strong Buy. Based on 4 analysts polled by TipRanks in the last 3 months, 3 rate a Buy on the stock stock while one says “hold.” The 12-month average price target stands at $14.00, marking a nearly 60% upside from where the stock is currently trading. (See EQT stock analysis on TipRanks)