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Does General Mills, Inc. (GIS) Represent a Good Investment?

The latest 13F reporting period has come and gone, and Insider Monkey is again at the forefront when it comes to making use of this gold mine of data. We have processed the filings of the more than 700 world-class investment firms that we track and now have access to the collective wisdom contained in these filings, which are based on their September 30 holdings, data that is available nowhere else. Should you consider General Mills, Inc. (NYSE:GIS) for your portfolio? We’ll look to this invaluable collective wisdom for the answer.

General Mills, Inc. (NYSE:GIS) has experienced an increase in enthusiasm from smart money recently. At the end of this article we will also compare GIS to other stocks, including ACE Limited (NYSE:ACE), Luxottica Group SpA (ADR) (NYSE:LUX), and VMware, Inc. (NYSE:VMW) to get a better sense of its popularity.

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To the average investor, there are a multitude of metrics stock traders can use to appraise publicly traded companies. Some of the best metrics are hedge fund and insider trading signals. We have shown that, historically, those who follow the top picks of the elite investment managers can trounce the market by a solid margin (see the details here).

Now, we’re going to take a gander at the key action regarding General Mills, Inc. (NYSE:GIS).

What does the smart money think about General Mills, Inc. (NYSE:GIS)?

Heading into Q4, a total of 30 of the hedge funds tracked by Insider Monkey were bullish on this stock, a change of 11% from the second quarter. With hedge funds’ sentiment swirling, there exists an “upper tier” of noteworthy hedge fund managers who were upping their stakes meaningfully (or already accumulated large positions).

When looking at the institutional investors followed by Insider Monkey, GAMCO Investors, managed by Mario Gabelli, holds the most valuable position in General Mills, Inc. (NYSE:GIS). GAMCO Investors has a $139.2 million position in the stock, comprising 0.9% of its 13F portfolio. The second largest stake is held by AQR Capital Management, led by Cliff Asness, holding a $58.2 million position; the fund has 0.1% of its 13F portfolio invested in the stock. Some other hedge funds and institutional investors that hold long positions include Peter Rathjens, Bruce Clarke and John Campbell’s Arrowstreet Capital, Jeffrey Smith’s Starboard Value LP and Clint Carlson’s Carlson Capital.

Consequently, some big names have jumped into General Mills, Inc. (NYSE:GIS) headfirst. Starboard Value LP, managed by Jeffrey Smith, initiated a stake worth $43.5 million at the end of the quarter. Clint Carlson’s Carlson Capital also made an $38.4 million investment in the stock during the quarter. The following funds were also among the new GIS investors: Joel Greenblatt’s Gotham Asset Management, Israel Englander’s Millennium Management, and Jim Simons’s Renaissance Technologies.

Moreover, let’s check out hedge fund activity in other stocks – not necessarily in the same industry as General Mills, Inc. (NYSE:GIS) but similarly valued. We will take a look at ACE Limited (NYSE:ACE), Luxottica Group SpA (ADR) (NYSE:LUX), VMware, Inc. (NYSE:VMW), and Raytheon Company (NYSE:RTN). This group of stocks’ market valuations resemble GIS’s market valuation.

Ticker No of HFs with positions Total Value of HF Positions (x1000) Change in HF Position
ACE 37 1269219 5
LUX 5 65293 0
VMW 35 959833 0
RTN 31 839028 -6

As you can see, these stocks had an average of 27 hedge funds with long positions and the average amount invested in these stocks was $783 million. ACE Limited (NYSE:ACE) and Luxottica Group SpA (ADR) (NYSE:LUX) represent the most and the least popular stocks respectively. In comparison, General Mills, Inc. (NYSE:GIS) sees an interest above average from the funds we track, but these funds amassed nearly $500 million worth of stock heading into the fourth quarter. All in all, GIS may be an interesting investment opportunity following a more detailed analysis, but we think that it’s better to invest in stocks that hedge funds are collectively more bullish on, such as ACE Limited, in this particular case.

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