In this article, we discuss the top 10 stock picks from BlackRock’s Q1 2022 portfolio. If you want to skip our analysis of the firm’s performance, go directly to BlackRock’s Latest Portfolio 2022: Top 5 Stock Picks.
The investment management company, BlackRock, based in the US, is owned by Laurence D. Fink, who founded it with seven partners and has managed to grow the firm into one of the leading names in investment and technology solutions. Enjoying the title of one of the ‘World’s Best CEOs’ for 15 consecutive years, Fink continues to help investors secure stronger financial futures through his company. BlackRock has the largest clientele as compared to any other investment company in the world and has a stake in popular companies such as Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL), Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT), and Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN) as of Q1 2022.
The world’s largest asset management firm manages funds belonging to big institutions like pension funds, university endowments, and small-time individual investors. It manages nearly $10 trillion in investments and has yielded healthy returns to its millions of investors through index funds. For the first quarter of 2022, BlackRock shared negative returns as the geopolitical uncertainty and unsure path for the Fed increased volatility.
In this article, we will be going through the top 10 stock picks of BlackRock for Q1 2022. These top 10 holdings have a cumulative value of $738.31 billion and occupy 19.95% of the total portfolio.
10. Meta Platforms Inc. (NASDAQ:FB)
BlackRock’s Stake Value: $33,347,618
Percentage of BlackRock’s 13F Portfolio: 0.89%
Number of Hedge Funds as of December 31: 224
Meta Platforms Inc. (NASDAQ:FB) is a California-based corporation that is the parent organization of social media giants Facebook and Instagram. In a note issued to investors on May 13, Justin Post at Bank of America reiterated a Buy rating on Meta Platforms Inc. (NASDAQ:FB) with a target price of $262, assuming a potential upside of 32% from the last closing price. The analyst highlighted that the reports regarding a slowdown in hiring and the spending cut at Reality Labs show the company’s efforts to cut down its expenses. This is in line with the revised annual expenses guidance of $87 billion to $92 billion that was provided by the firm in April.
The analyst further added that the cut down in expenses and the slowdown in hiring is not something only Meta Platforms Inc. (NASDAQ:FB) is doing, but it is a theme prevalent across the tech sector. Uber Technologies, Inc. (NYSE:UBER) also announced that it would also take some belt-tightening measures to control its expenses and improve its profitability.
“If there is any good news, I don’t believe this group suffered material impairments to their long-term earnings trajectory. Rather, relatively small earnings misses or reductions to short-term guidance led to large stock declines. I added to several of these positions during the quarter. However, our holding Meta Platforms, the detested social media business formerly known as Facebook, deserves some attention. It suffered an earnings miss in the fourth quarter of 2021 and provided sobering future guidance. While this qualifies as disappointing news, I think the market reaction was more of a primal scream than a considered response. As a person who manages other people’s money for a living, I can tell you with confidence that clients don’t like Meta. A few of you won’t own it, restricting me from buying it for you. Others defer to me, grudgingly. There is no other security in our portfolio like this. When a company is so widely disliked, the main reason to hold it is because it is “working,” to use the horrible Wall Street parlance. In other words, your manager owns it because it keeps going up. Once it stops going up, professional money managers happily accept the chance to sell it. No more cranky calls from clients questioning their ethical compass.
The rub, however, is that despite the bad earnings news, the economics of Meta’s social media businesses remain exceptionally good. In 2021, for every dollar of revenue generated Meta spent 63 cents on expenses and reported 37 cents of pretax profit. That was considered disappointing, even though very few businesses generate 37% profit margins. On top of that, fully one-third of expenses, or 21 cents on the dollar of revenue, is spent on research & development, which is investment in future growth. In Meta’s case, this amounts to about $25 billion a year invested in various new projects, the most important of which is the metaverse. R&D is not completely discretionary as companies have to invest in innovation or stagnate. But management certainly has flexibility as to the pace of spending…” (Click here to see the full text)
Of the 924 hedge funds being tracked by Insider Monkey, 224 funds held a stake in Meta Platforms Inc. (NASDAQ:FB) at the end of Q4 2021.
9. UnitedHealth Group Incorporated (NYSE:UNH)
BlackRock’s Stake Value: $35,196,406
Percentage of BlackRock’s 13F Portfolio: 0.94%
Number of Hedge Funds as of December 31: 96
UnitedHealth Group Incorporated (NYSE:UNH) is a Minnesota-based diversified healthcare company that provides health benefit plans to public and private sector employers. UnitedHealth Group Incorporated’s (NYSE:UNH) diversified health services business Optum is in the middle of a merger with Change Healthcare Inc. (NASDAQ:CHNG) for $8 billion. The merger announced in January 2021 aims to leverage the revenue cycle management technology of Change Healthcare and align it with Optum’s offering to improve clinical workflow, easy access to clinical data, and make the payment process efficient. However, the merger hit a snag after the Antitrust Division of the Department of Justice (DoJ) filed a civil lawsuit to stop the merger deal. The Antitrust Division claims that the merger will weaken the competition in the commercial health insurance and healthcare technology segments by allowing UnitedHealth Group Incorporated (NYSE:UNH) backdoor access to the payer information of its competitors.
“UnitedHealth Group contributed to performance during the quarter as the Company’s longterm, mid-teens earnings growth algorithm remained intact. Further, as political wrangling in the U.S. continues unabated, we suspect investors have become more confident that little will be done on the legislative front to derail the status quo between private health insurance and Medicare/Medicaid. COVID trends continue to ebb throughout the healthcare system; however, there is a sustainable benefit to the cost structure of U.S. healthcare – particularly related to virtual care. Virtual care is not only becoming more acceptable but is now preferred by many patients and care providers which should lead to less overhead (e.g., office space) that can be reinvested in better patient outcomes. Last, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services proposed a nearly 8% hike in revenue for Medicare Advantage 2023, which should allow for ample flexibility in benefit enhancement and continued incentive to grow this franchise.”
Overall, 96 funds held a stake in UnitedHealth Group Incorporated (NYSE:UNH) out of the 924 hedge funds tracked by Insider Monkey at the end of Q4 2021.
8. Johnson & Johnson (NYSE:JNJ)
BlackRock’s Stake Value: $35,587,638
Percentage of BlackRock’s 13F Portfolio: 0.95%
Number of Hedge Funds as of December 31: 83
Johnson & Johnson (NYSE:JNJ) is one of the biggest healthcare companies in the world, with a headcount of over 130,000 employees. Johnson & Johnson (NYSE:JNJ) is involved in the research, development, and manufacturing of a broad range of healthcare-related products globally through its three divisions, namely Consumer Health, Pharmaceuticals and Medical Devices. However, the company announced in November 2021 that it intends to spin off its Consumer Health segment as a separate publicly listed entity by November next year. This was an update that investors have been waiting for for an extended period. They want Johnson & Johnson (NYSE:JNJ) to focus on its core competency of researching, developing, and manufacturing therapeutics and offload its non-core assets. Johnson & Johnson (NYSE:JNJ) is also a member of the Dividend Aristocrat list, which comprises companies that have been increasing their dividends for the past 25 years.
“The largest additions in the rebalance, Johnson & Johnson was around 50 and 40 basis points incrementally. J&J underperformed in the quarter while its normalized free cash flows held steady and so its position size was topped off to match the stable cash flows.”
7. Berkshire Hathaway Inc. (NYSE:BRK-B)
BlackRock’s Stake Value: $36,104,748
Percentage of BlackRock’s 13F Portfolio: 0.97%
Number of Hedge Funds as of December 31: 108
Berkshire Hathaway Inc. (NYSE:BRK-B) is a Nebraska-based conglomerate corporation led by the famous investor Warren Buffett. It is one of the largest publicly listed companies in the world and completely owns notable companies like BNSF Railway, Dairy Queen, Duracell, GEICO, and Shaw Industries. Meanwhile, the company holds a minority interest in prominent organizations like the Kraft Heinz Company (NASDAQ:KHC), Coca-Cola Company (NYSE:KO), and Bank of America Corporation (NYSE:BAC).
Berkshire Hathaway Inc. (NYSE:BRK-B) is in the news for increasing its stake in Occidental Petroleum to 15.3% or 143 million…