It's that time again, when curious investors get a peek at who really owns their favorite companies -- including, of course, the real heavy hitters: institutional investors such as banks, asset managers, and exchange-traded funds. Checking out these 13F forms, filed quarterly with the Securities and Exchange Commission, can be an interesting read, and may shed a little light on how coveted a particular company or sector is at a certain place in time. By the same token, it can give a glimpse into which types of stocks are suffering from a drop in popularity.
As fans of the mortgage REIT sector well know, companies that invest in mortgage-backed securities backed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have taken it on the chin lately. Yet recently, three big investors have either taken up sizable new positions in Annaly Capital (NYSE: NLY ) , or bought a large chunk of new shares to add to their portfolio. Let's take a look at the investors who are sinking new money into the agency mREIT sector.
One big new position, and two big portfolios add on
Pine River Capital Management was founded in 2002 in Minnesota and is affiliated with the company that manages Two Harbors (NYSE: TWO ) , a hybrid mREIT. It launched its Pine River Mortgage REIT Index in June, 2011.
This company has just taken a new position in Annaly, and it's a doozy. The firm bought 23,971,759 shares -- comprising 45% of all new positions taken in Annaly for the fourth quarter of 2012. Pine River also initiated new positions in Anworth Mortgage (NYSE: ANH ) and -- interestingly considering Annaly's recent bid -- CreXus Investments (NYSE: CXS ) . The company also increased its stake in American Capital Agency.
The Bank of New York Mellon (NYSE: BK ) bumped up its ownership of Annaly by nearly 6,300,000 shares and bought over 153,000 new Armour shares, as well. Allianz Asset Management, which was created in 2011 when German insurance company Allianz separated Pacific Investment Management from its other asset management businesses, also took on more of Annaly. The huge asset management firm bought nearly 3,300,000 additional shares, as well as over one million more of American Capital Agency (NASDAQ: AGNC ) .
A show of faith in agency mREITs?
Overall, 40% more shares of Annaly were bought than sold in this cycle. Can this be interpreted as a vote of confidence in the agency sector, despite the travails suffered by these companies over the past year or so?
I believe it could be. These investors know the money business; I think the number of shares purchased, compared with those sold, certainly can't be interpreted in a negative way. In my opinion, this is a clear signal that large, institutional investors continue to be enamored of the mREIT sector -- particularly Annaly -- and have faith that a full rebound is well on its way.
Of course, this is only one aspect of the larger investing picture, but it shows that there are many facets to consider when thinking about setting up your own long-term investment plan. When it comes to the important things in life, there is no such thing as too much information.
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