25 Blue-Chip Stocks That Mutual Fund Managers Love Most

Investors continue to pour money into passive vehicles such as indexed mutual funds and exchange-traded funds.

Closeup on a stack of blue poker chips
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Investors continue to pour money into passive vehicles such as indexed mutual funds and exchange-traded funds. However, good old-fashioned stock picking and asset allocation with a human touch still rules in some areas – including in the well-trodden world of blue-chip stocks.

After all, actively managed mutual funds run by professional portfolio managers still dwarf their passive cousins. At the end of 2017, actively managed funds had a total of $11.4 trillion in assets under management, according to Morningstar. Passive funds and ETFs controlled $6.7 trillion in assets.

As we’ve noted before, the "smart money" doesn’t always live up to the high fees and hype, but it’s worth keeping tabs on what they’re doing nonetheless. That’s even more true for actively managed mutual funds. After all, they comprise a much larger swath of institutional investor dollars.

Using data from Morningstar Direct, we were able to discover which blue-chip stocks are most widely held by the biggest actively managed U.S. mutual funds. In other words, these are the 25 most popular stock picks among professional portfolio managers.

Not every one of the following stocks is necessarily a buy at current levels, but it’s fair to say that they are all superstar companies. And the most popular pick of all probably will surprise you.

Fund holding rankings as of May 31, 2018. Stock data is as of June 13, 2018. Companies are listed in order of popularity with the largest actively managed mutual funds, according to Morningstar Direct. Dividend yields are calculated by annualizing the most recent quarterly payout and dividing by the share price. Analysts’ ratings provided by Zacks Investment Research.

Dan Burrows
Senior Investing Writer, Kiplinger.com

Dan Burrows is Kiplinger's senior investing writer, having joined the august publication full time in 2016.

A long-time financial journalist, Dan is a veteran of SmartMoney, MarketWatch, CBS MoneyWatch, InvestorPlace and DailyFinance. He has written for The Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg, Consumer Reports, Senior Executive and Boston magazine, and his stories have appeared in the New York Daily News, the San Jose Mercury News and Investor's Business Daily, among other publications. As a senior writer at AOL's DailyFinance, Dan reported market news from the floor of the New York Stock Exchange and hosted a weekly video segment on equities.

Once upon a time – before his days as a financial reporter and assistant financial editor at legendary fashion trade paper Women's Wear Daily – Dan worked for Spy magazine, scribbled away at Time Inc. and contributed to Maxim magazine back when lad mags were a thing. He's also written for Esquire magazine's Dubious Achievements Awards.

In his current role at Kiplinger, Dan writes about equities, fixed income, currencies, commodities, funds, macroeconomics and more.

Dan holds a bachelor's degree from Oberlin College and a master's degree from Columbia University.

Disclosure: Dan does not trade stocks or other securities. Rather, he dollar-cost averages into cheap funds and index funds and holds them forever in tax-advantaged accounts.