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Buy On Cash Returns, M&A, Sell On Buybacks

We're now more than halfway through 2015, and some interesting trends are emerging. Investors seem to be drawn to companies offering strong cash returns. They also favor companies on the acquiring end of M&As but are shunning many companies offering share buybacks or which have bad balance sheets.

Goldman Sachs Group Inc (NYSE:GS) analyst Robert Boroujerdi and his team released the latest edition of their Portfolio Manager Toolkit on Monday, highlighting these four trends.

Amazon wins with cash returns

They learned that companies with cash returns as a factor in their stocks are on track to outperform others this year. Cash returns also impacted the second half of last year, boosting companies offering cash returns then as well (All graphs/ charts in this article are courtesy Goldman Sachs.).

The two drivers they see in this area are improving asset productivity and efficiently spending capital. Gross profitability has also been a strong alpha generator for Russell 1000 stocks:

Here's a look at the companies Boroujerdi and team say are benefiting from their cash strategies:

Buybacks… not so...