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Big hedge funds are buying these 3 stocks

Andreas Halvorsen's Viking Global recently increased its exposure to Kansas City Southern KSU, -1.02% by 1.3 million shares. According to the 13G Form filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, the fund now holds a position of 5.5 million common shares, representing 5% of the company's outstanding stock. On the same day, Viking Global also disclosed an increase to its holding in Cheniere Energy, Inc. LNG, -0.80% of 9.9 million shares. The investment firm now owns 15.3 million Common Shares, which account for 6.5% of the company's outstanding stock. In a separate transaction, Phillip Gross and Robert Atchinson's Adage Capital Management revealed it had augmented its stake inXencor Inc.XNCR, -2.20% to 1.6 million shares, meaning it now holds around 5% of the company's outstanding stock.

Insider Monkey tracks the moves of hedge funds because our research has shown that the top small-cap stock picks of hedge funds historically outperformed the market by an average of 18 percentage points a year. We have also been sharing these stock picks in our newsletter in real-time for the past 29 months and managed to deliver an annualized return of 37% vs. 18% annual gain for the S&P 500 index during the same period.

Viking Global was launched in 1999 by the former Tiger employees Andreas Halvorsen, David Ott, and Brian Olson. Out of the three managers mentioned, only Mr. Halvorsen remains at the short/long hedge fund, which achieved an 89% gain in its first year of activity. The global equity fund employs a bottom-up fundamental stock picking method and has a diversified equity portfolio, valued at around $24.9 billion. According to its latest 13F filing, the investment firm's top pick at the end of the third quarter was Illumina Inc. ILMN, -0.19% Although Viking Global recently trimmed its stake in the company, it continues to be the largest holding in its equity portfolio. Viking Global's entire 13F portfolio and recent investor letters can be seen here.

Viking Global has been betting on Kansas City Southern for some time now, as revealed by the 41% increase to its stake during the third quarter and the most recent acquisition of additional shares. Although the stock has seen its value decline by around 4% since the beginning of the year, share prices have gained around 7% over the past few days. Furthermore, the company had a solid performance in 2014, raising revenue by 9% and increasing year-over-year net income by a whopping 43%, which translated to augmented levels of free cash flow. Kansas City Southern is a freight train transportation company, operating routes in the U.S. along the Gulf of Mexico and also direct rail passageways between Texas and Mexico City. In addition to Viking Global, the company is backed by numerous institutional investors, such as Ken Fisher's Fisher Asset Management, which holds a stake of 766,100 shares. Kansas City Southern looks like a good bet for 2015, among other things, due to the 18% increase to its dividend relative to last quarter.

Viking Global also increased its position in Cheniere Energy, Inc., a stock it initially acquired in the third quarter of 2014. This stock has performed very well over the past year, gaining around 77% since February of last year. Furthermore, the company also has the backing of Seth Klarman's Baupost Group, which recently acquired an additional 13.6 million shares, thus doubling its stake in the liquefied natural gas producer. The investment firm is the largest institutional investor backing Cheniere Energy, Inc., with a holding of 24.8 million shares. Michael Lowenstein's Kensico Capital is also betting on the company, boasting a position of 7.8 million shares, which accounts for almost 14% of its equity portfolio.

Adage Capital Management was also active in the past few days, disclosing an increase to its holding in Xencor Inc. The investment firm has held this stock in its equity portfolio since its 2013 fourth quarter 13F filing, when it revealed a stake of 820,000 shares in the company. This proved to be a savvy investment, as the stock gained more than 74% throughout 2014. Although share prices took a dip over the past week, there is ample reason to remain bullish regarding the biopharmaceutical company. In addition to Adage Capital, Xencor Inc. is backed by Joseph Edelman's Perceptive Advisors, which is its largest institutional investor, boasting a position of 1.9 million shares.

Adage Capital Management is a Boston-based hedge fund that was founded by former Harvard Management Company analysts Phillip Gross and Robert Atchinson in 2001. By employing fundamental analysis, along with intra-industry valuation methods, to make its investments, the fund has amassed an equity portfolio valued at around $40.4 billion. The firm's equity portfolio is highly diversified and balanced, with its largest position — comprised of Puma Biotechnology Inc. PBYI, -4.12% stock – accounting for only 3.35% of its total holdings.

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