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ConAgra Foods, Inc. (CAG), Campbell Soup Company (CPB): This Metric Says You Are Smart to Buy McCormick & Company, Incorporated (MKC)

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McCormick & Company, Incorporated (NYSE:MKC) investors should pay attention to an increase in hedge fund interest of late.

McCormick & Company, Incorporated (NYSE:MKC)In the financial world, there are a multitude of metrics shareholders can use to watch the equity markets. A couple of the most underrated are hedge fund and insider trading activity. At Insider Monkey, our studies have shown that, historically, those who follow the top picks of the best money managers can beat their index-focused peers by a solid margin (see just how much).

Just as beneficial, positive insider trading sentiment is another way to break down the investments you’re interested in. As the old adage goes: there are lots of reasons for an upper level exec to drop shares of his or her company, but only one, very obvious reason why they would buy. Various academic studies have demonstrated the impressive potential of this tactic if “monkeys” know where to look (learn more here).

With all of this in mind, we’re going to take a peek at the key action surrounding McCormick & Company, Incorporated (NYSE:MKC).

How are hedge funds trading McCormick & Company, Incorporated (NYSE:MKC)?

At year’s end, a total of 13 of the hedge funds we track held long positions in this stock, a change of 8% from one quarter earlier. With the smart money’s sentiment swirling, there exists an “upper tier” of noteworthy hedge fund managers who were boosting their holdings considerably.

Of the funds we track, David Harding’s Winton Capital Management had the biggest position in McCormick & Company, Incorporated (NYSE:MKC), worth close to $29.9 million, accounting for 0.8% of its total 13F portfolio. The second largest stake is held by John W. Rogers of Ariel Investments, with a $17.6 million position; 0.4% of its 13F portfolio is allocated to the stock. Other hedge funds that are bullish include Cliff Asness’s AQR Capital Management, Jim Simons’s Renaissance Technologies and Ken Griffin’s Citadel Investment Group.

Now, some big names were leading the bulls’ herd. Renaissance Technologies, managed by Jim Simons, assembled the most outsized position in McCormick & Company, Incorporated (NYSE:MKC). Renaissance Technologies had 8.6 million invested in the company at the end of the quarter. Ken Griffin’s Citadel Investment Group also made a $7.7 million investment in the stock during the quarter. The other funds with brand new MKC positions are Israel Englander’s Millennium Management and Ben Levine, Andrew Manuel and Stefan Renold’s LMR Partners.

Insider trading activity in McCormick & Company, Incorporated (NYSE:MKC)

Insider buying is best served when the company we’re looking at has seen transactions within the past 180 days. Over the last six-month time period, McCormick & Company, Incorporated (NYSE:MKC) has seen zero unique insiders purchasing, and 4 insider sales (see the details of insider trades here).

Let’s go over hedge fund and insider activity in other stocks similar to McCormick & Company, Incorporated (NYSE:MKC). These stocks are ConAgra Foods, Inc. (NYSE:CAG), Campbell Soup Company (NYSE:CPB), Ingredion Inc (NYSE:INGR), The J.M. Smucker Company (NYSE:SJM), and Green Mountain Coffee Roasters Inc. (NASDAQ:GMCR). This group of stocks are in the processed & packaged goods industry and their market caps are closest to MKC’s market cap.

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