Goldman Sees Hedge Funds Playing Defense in Stock Market

The collective wisdom of the hedge-fund industry, if you believe in such a thing, is flashing a troubling sign for the global economy.  

The funds' top stock picks are leaning toward defensive rather than cyclical industries for the first time since 2011, according to Goldman Sachs Group Inc.'s latest assessment of holdings. Funds added to positions in the health-care, utility, consumer-staples and telephone industries, the type of companies considered less at risk to an economic slowdown, while trimming positions in energy, technology, financial, consumer-discretionary and commodity companies.

That means companies like AT&T  Inc., HCA Holdings Inc. and Humana Inc. were added to Goldman's list of "very important positions" in the alternative-investment industry, while stocks like Alibaba Group Holding Ltd., Dish Network Corp., DirecTV  and NXP Semiconductors NV fell off the list. Everyone's favorite burrito chain Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc. was added to its list of very important short positions that hedge funds bet against, as was Electronic Arts Inc. and Qualcomm Inc.  

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