Written by Alexander Crawford

There is a new reigning champion of hedge funds, based on total money earned for clients: Ray Dalio of Bridgewater Associates. His Pure Alpha fund at Bridgewater has earned investors a total of $35.8 billion since its launch in 1975, according to a report at the end of February from Leveraged Capital Holdings.

John Paulson and George Soros, two other well known contenders, still trail closely behind. Paulson had lost a crushing $9.6 billion in 2011, giving his Long-Term Capital Management net gains of $22.6 billion since its 1994 launch, according to Bloomberg Businessweek.

George Soros, who retired last year, and his fund Quantum Endowment Fund had net gains of $31.2 billion from 1973 through his retirement.

Although the hedge fund industry saw an average loss of 5.2% in 2011 according to Hedge Fund Research in Chicago, the industry is up 5% for the first two months of the year.

Interactive Chart: Press Play to compare changes in market cap over the last two years for the stocks mentioned below.





Business Section: Investing Ideas
Do you think that 2012 can be a turnaround year for the hedge fund industry? Will winners like Dalio motivate other managers to succeed?

For a closer look at the industry, we ran a screen on the S&P 500 for stocks that are rallying above their 20-day, 50-day, and 200-day moving averages. We screened these names for those with the most significant net institutional purchases over the current quarter.

Do you think these stocks will continue to lead to gains for these hedge funds? (Click here to access free, interactive tools to analyze these ideas.)

1. Salesforce.com (NYSE:CRM): Provides customer and collaboration relationship management (CRM) services to various businesses and industries worldwide. The stock is currently rallying 9.45% above its 20-day moving average, 23.30% above its 50-day MA, and 12.00% above its 200-day MA. Net institutional purchases in the current quarter at 6.5M shares, which represents about 5.2% of the company's float of 125.09M shares

2. Micron Technology Inc. (NYSE:MU): Engages in the manufacture and marketing of semiconductor devices worldwide. The stock is currently rallying 5.99% above its 20-day moving average, 15.75% above its 50-day MA, and 25.46% above its 200-day MA. Net institutional purchases in the current quarter at 41.6M shares, which represents about 4.34% of the company's float of 959.39M shares

3. Sears Holdings Corporation (Nasdaq:SHLD): Operates as a retailer in the United States and Canada. The stock is currently rallying 38.99% above its 20-day moving average, 68.05% above its 50-day MA, and 24.69% above its 200-day MA. Net institutional purchases in the current quarter at 1.8M shares, which represents about 4.41% of the company's float of 40.79M shares

4. SanDisk Corp. (Nasdaq:SNDK): Designs, develops, manufactures, and markets NAND-based flash data storage card products that are used in various consumer electronics products. The stock is currently rallying 6.62% above its 20-day moving average, 4.55% above its 50-day MA, and 13.51% above its 200-day MA. Net institutional purchases in the current quarter at 11.3M shares, which represents about 4.74% of the company's float of 238.51M shares.

Kapitall's Alexander Crawford does not own any of the shares mentioned above. Institutional data sourced from Fidelity.

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