Institutional Bets: 7 Stocks the Big Money Will Send Higher This Year

  • Meta Platforms (META): Wall Street loves recent news and performance from Meta.
  • Broadcom (AVGO): Broadcom’s having an excellent year and institutional investors are partly responsible.
  • Lithium Americas (Argentina) (LAAC): Institutional interests spiked in the other Lithium Americas.
  • Keep reading to discover more institutional favorite stocks!
Institutional Favorite Stocks - Institutional Bets: 7 Stocks the Big Money Will Send Higher This Year

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Institutional investors represent the so-called big money that wields significant influence over the stock market. That influence manifests in many ways. 

A negative view of institutional investors is that they only care about themselves, not smaller retail investors, and they simply have too much control overall. A more positive take is that institutional investors, with their long-term outlook and focus on stability, tend to stabilize stock prices.

Regardless, it’s fair to state that following institutional investors is often a strong strategy. Institutions have the ability to pool resources and buy large blocks of securities. That has a significant impact on price, for one. Further, institutional investors tend to have greater experience and more detailed knowledge of market constituents. That wealth of experience often leads to better outcomes and stronger returns.

That’s why paying attention to the institutional bets big money is making in the stock market this year is a wise strategy.

Meta Platforms (META)

In this photo illustration the Meta logo seen displayed on a smartphone and in the background the Facebook logo
Source: rafapress / Shutterstock.com

Whether measured by value or number of positions opened this year, Meta Platforms (NASDAQ:META) stock has significant institutional interest. 

By March of 2024, the total value of institutional ownership in Meta Platforms stood at nearly $722 billion. That made it the 6th most held investment by institutions on a sheer dollar value basis. A total of 808 institutional investors opened a position in Meta Platforms in March. During that. institutional investors only opened more positions in Nvidia (NASDAQ:NVDA). 

It shouldn’t be surprising that META stock has surged in 2024. Year to date, it is up by more than 32%. Meta Platforms revenues skyrocketed by 27% in the first quarter. Meanwhile, net income more than doubled, growing by 117% during the same period. 

The company has made serious progress with its Llama 3 AI. It clearly has aspirations to be among the most important AI firms overall. Beyond that, Meta’s ad impression and ad pricing metrics are each rising impressively. That’s a testament to the resurgent ad revenue that dominates the company’s overall business.

Broadcom (AVGO)

broadcom (AVGO) logo outside office building
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Institutional investors held nearly $430 billion worth of Broadcom (NASDAQ:AVGO) stock at the end of March. Only eight firms were more widely held by institutions at that point. It’s certainly a strong indication of how important and well-regarded the firm is. The company remains one of the most important semiconductor design, software and chip infrastructure companies on Earth.

I think one of the most important aspects to understand here in relation to the institutional ownership of Broadcom is the stability inherent in it as an investment. First of all, institutional investors tend to make long-term investments, which lends stability to those stocks, given the sheer volume of resources they can place therein. Institutional investors have only placed more resources in eight other firms in 2024. That inherently makes AVGO shares stable.

Broadcom is stable as an investment otherwise. The company provides a dividend, which is a sign of stability. It last reduced that dividend in 2011 and has a healthy payout ratio. 

Lithium Americas (Argentina) (LAAC)

smartphone with logo of Canadian company Lithium Americas Corp on screen
Source: Wirestock Creators / Shutterstock.com

Lithium Americas (Argentina) (NYSE:LAAC) is among the more interesting stocks on this list simply because it is somewhat unexpected. A lot of the firms Wall Street is betting on are very large and well-known. They generally do not surprise and include many names from the Magnificent Seven and a select few others.

Lithium Americas (Argentina) is an interesting choice because there has been such a sharp increase in Wall Street’s attention to the company. Institutional ownership increased by more than 1,700% in March. 

Remember, this is not the Lithium Americas stock that holds rights to the Thacker Pass mine in Nevada. It is the other half of the company, which was earlier divided to isolate Thacker Pass for its outsized potential.

It’s also a company that is currently producing lithium. The company produced 4,500 tons of lithium during the fourth quarter and is on track to produce as much as 40,000 tons in all of 2024.

Walt Disney (DIS)

Source: Shutterstock

Walt Disney (NYSE:DIS) stock continues to be volatile and difficult to pin down for investors big and small.

CEO Bob Iger has made significant strides toward driving profitability from the company’s streaming segment. The company focused on aggressive cost-cutting and was seen by some as a sign of potential stagnation. Those detractors believed the efforts signaled a lack of viable growth targets and overall growth potential. Whether those detractors are right or wrong remains to be seen. However, the stock has fallen since then.

Yet, Walt Disney shares have still grown by 12% in 2024. And the streaming segment did prove profitable in the first quarter. Disney is focused on quality. That will manifest as a decreased focus on Marvel films, in particular.

I believe the company is making strides to return to its former glory. Yes, Disney did miss important guidance metrics, but the big shift toward quality over quantity matters. 

Nvidia (NVDA)

Nvidia corporation (NVDA) logo displayed on smartphone with stock market chart background. Nvidia is a global leader in artificial intelligence hardware.
Source: Evolf / Shutterstock.com

Nvidia is tops among institutional investor bets, as measured by multiple metrics. Whether it’s total value, number of positions opened, holdings by number of filers or percentage increase in shares held, Nvidia stock is among the top five.

Following another quarter of strong earnings those institutional investors are upping their bets on Nvidia, even as it pushes past the $1,000 per share mark. TD Cowen just upped its target price on Nvidia to $1,200.

Even that $1,200 target price could be low, given that Nvidia just posted its highest-ever quarterly profits and sales figures. In fact, other analysts already assigned higher target prices to Nvidia even before this most recent earnings blowout. 

Anyway, retail investors should expect their institutional counterparts to up their respective bets on Nvidia following this most recent news. Investors big and small have plenty of reason to remain highly optimistic about Nvidia at this point.

AMD (AMD)

Advanced Micro Devices, Inc. (AMD) logo in the building at CNE in Toronto. AMD is an American semiconductor company.
Source: JHVEPhoto / Shutterstock.com

AMD (NASDAQ:AMD) is another stock in which many institutional owners have recently opened positions. The company itself is in an interesting position, given its competitor status to Nvidia.

Nvidia’s strong earnings report sent AMD shares lower. The reasoning behind the slide is that Nvidia is so strong that AMD has little chance of making headway at the moment — at least, that’s how I make sense of the 3% price drop in AMD.

I also think it’s an overreaction. Powerful forces in the computing world will again consider AMD because it offers strong computing power at a lower price than Nvidia. Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) is chief among those firms to watch in relation to that narrative. It is leveraging AMD’s MI300x chips heavily. 

AMD can bask in that role while continuing to improve its chips in the hope that it can one day outperform those from Nvidia. It’s a decent position to be in from the perspective that the company doesn’t face the substantial pricing pressure that Nvidia does.

Eli Lilly (LLY)

Eli Lilly (LLY) sign on corporate building with blue sky in background
Source: shutterstock.com/Michael Vi

Unsurprisingly, Eli Lilly (NYSE:LLY) is among the stocks that Wall Street and Main Street continue to bet on in 2024. The already strong stock will likely continue to strengthen. Mounjaro and Zepbound have proven to be incredible drivers of growth for the company in 2024.

First quarter revenues jumped by 26% on the strength of those weight loss drugs. Eli Lilly has an excellent opportunity to establish its place among the most valuable stocks through the rest of the decade. Simply put, it has won the early rounds of the weight loss drug wars. First-quarter sales were well above levels anticipated on Wall Street. That prompted Eli Lilly to raise its 2024 sales forecast. Zepbound and Mounjaro will likely fulfill their promise as blockbuster drugs that rewrite sales figures in the pharmaceutical sector. 

Meanwhile, Eli Lilly continues to progress toward a once-weekly insulin injection. Demand for such an injection will likely be very strong, given that it would replace the once-daily injections required now.

On the date of publication, Alex Sirois did not hold (either directly or indirectly) any positions in the securities mentioned in this article. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the writer, subject to the InvestorPlace.com Publishing Guidelines.

Alex Sirois is a freelance contributor to InvestorPlace whose personal stock investing style is focused on long-term, buy-and-hold, wealth-building stock picks. Having worked in several industries from e-commerce to translation to education and utilizing his MBA from George Washington University, he brings a diverse set of skills through which he filters his writing.


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