These 10 stocks could be due for a shake-up this year

Everybody wants to know what the so-called “smart money” is buying and selling. Well, now we know. According to data provided to CNBC, we know exactly which names saw the biggest change in ownership in the fourth quarter.

The data come from eVestment, a supplier of data and analytics to institutional asset managers. The company tracks and aggregates over 2,800 data points on tens of thousands of portfolios, providing unique insight into how different types of market players operate.

The three most widely held stocks didn’t change in the fourth quarter—still led by Apple, Google and Microsoft at the top of the rankings. Under them, however, investors started to move things around.

The data matter because historically speaking, institutional investors are 12-24 months ahead of retail traders—suggesting that these names still have more room to go.

“Our data shows that institutional investors tend to increase and decrease their allocations to certain stocks and certain segments ahead of retail investors,” said Mark Scott, an eVestment spokesman. Most importantly, Scott points out the obvious reason why professional investors have such a big advantage is that “they have lots of people looking out for their investments all day long.”

Among the 20 most widely held stocks in the market, these are the five big movers in each direction.

The ten stocks to watch

Five Stocks on the Rise
1. Exxon Mobil
2. Comcast
3. Gilead
4. Cisco
5. Merck

Five Stocks Getting Dumped
1. Qualcomm
2. Chevron
3. Verizon
4. Pfizer
5. Roche


Institutional investors made relatively large changes to their portfolios with these stocks. The overall unwinding of energy stocks because of lower oil prices caused a big drop out of Chevron but was matched with a rotation into Exxon Mobil.

Similarly, a telecom rotation out of Verizon and into Comcast was evident. (Comcast is the parent of CNBC.)

A tech swap out of Qualcomm and into Cisco also occurred in the fourth quarter. Finally, traders moved out of Pfizer and Roche to get into Gilead and Merck.

Scott points out that “institutional investors and their money managers tend to be among the savviest and most plugged-in investors,” which allows retail investors time to catch up to these trades. He adds that this is definitely not a call to make a specific trade, but just an important set of facts to consider before making any transaction.

“An investor might look at those tables and consider what is going on with those companies that are making them more or less attractive to the institutional investment community,” he said.

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