Why Qualcomm Is among Steve Cohen’s Top Bets

Steve Cohen’s Point72 Management

Steve Cohen is a very high-profile investor whose SAC capital returned 30% annually for more than 20 years. In 2012, the firm was found guilty of insider trading. While Cohen wasn’t charged with illegal trading, he was prohibited from managing outside money for two years, starting in 2016. Cohen spun off his present Point72 Asset Management prior to SAC’s official closure, and only in January 2018 was the firm allowed to open to outside money.

Why Qualcomm Is among Steve Cohen’s Top Bets

Point 72 Management’s performance

2018 turned out to be a dismal year for hedge funds. Cohen’s Point72 also had a mediocre 2018 with gains of less than 1%. Cohen, however, still outperformed the broader markets. The S&P 500 (SPY), the Dow Jones Industrial Average Index (DIA), and the NASDAQ Composite (QQQ) returned -6.3%, -5.7%, and -1.0%, respectively, in 2018.

In the first quarter of 2019, the fund is up 4.75%, underperforming the broader markets.

Steve Cohen’s top bets

In Q3 2019, Cohen initiated a new position in Qualcomm (QCOM). He bought ~5 million shares of QCOM in Q3, which he reduced by 23% in Q4. QCOM is still one of the largest positions for Point72, forming 1.1% of his portfolio at the end of Q4 2018. His other large positions are in Encana (ECA), Alphabet (GOOGL), Baxter International (BAX), Visa (V), and Alibaba (BABA).

While most of these stocks are doing better in 2019 year-to-date, QCOM has recently catapulted higher as it settled its ongoing legal suit with Apple (AAPL). This development should lead to a substantial improvement in the chipmaker’s (SMH) outlook.