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Net Net: Promoting innovation and managing change

Hedge funds flip-flop on Verizon, Visa, Gilead

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Hedge funds have done an about-face on a group of crowded stock bets.

Investment managers had bet against Verizon and Walgreen, but both positions are now popular long bets for hedge funds, according to a new review of 777 portfolios by Goldman Sachs using data as of March 31.

Verizon fell 3.19 percent from January to March, but is up 1.2 percent as of May 23. Walgreen gained nearly 15 percent in the first quarter and is up about 22 percent as of Friday.

Similarly, managers flip-flopped on Express Scripts, Gilead Sciences and Visa. All three stocks were popular "long bets" on their value increasing; they are now among the 50 top shorts, according to Goldman Sachs.

Visa fell about 3 percent in the first quarter and is down 4.8 percent for the full year. Express Scripts gained 6.9 percent over the first three months of the year but is down 0.14 percent so far in 2014. Hedge funds have also switched Gilead to a negative bet despite the company gaining 7.78 percent this year.