While most of the stock market is in turbulence amid the trade chaos, Goldman Sachs has a portfolio that's crushing the market, returning more than 16% year to date.
Many of the bank's portfolios created exclusively for its clients are underperforming during heightened market uncertainties, including one tracking hedge funds' top holdings and one with large-cap mutual funds overweights, but the stocks that overlap those two baskets have delivered a stellar performance this year.
"The underperformance of popular positions today following President [Donald] Trump's announcement of tariffs on imports from Mexico underscores investor concern about crowded positions," Goldman's chief U.S. equity strategist, David Kostin, said in the note. "The 'wisdom of the crowds' can be a positive signal for subsequent stock returns."
The overlapping stocks are 12 companies most popular with both hedge funds and mutual funds. They include Adobe, Citigroup, Google parent Alphabet, PayPal, UnitedHealth, Mastercard, ServiceNow and Visa, Goldman said. They have outperformed the S&P 500 by 6.1 percentage points so far in 2019.
While a few stocks on Goldman's list are weighed down by the escalated trade tensions, Visa, UnitedHealth, PayPal and Mastercard all held up well in May.
The S&P 500, which has returned about 10% year to date, lost more than 6% in May alone, amid the tit-for-tat threats in the ongoing U.S.-China trade war. The sell-off deepened after the U.S. announced last week a 5% surprise tariff on all Mexican imports.
Stocks popular among mutual funds and hedge funds, the so-called shared favorites, also have a long track record of beating the market, the bank noted. They have generated an annualized return of 19% since 2013, higher than the S&P 500's 13% gain over the same period.
Goldman covers 880 hedge funds with $2.1 trillion of gross equity positions and 521 large-cap mutual funds with $2.1 trillion of equity holdings.