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Dole Food Company, Inc. (DOLE): Are Hedge Funds Right About This Stock?

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Dole Food Company, Inc. (NYSE:DOLE)Is Dole Food Company, Inc. (NYSE:DOLE) a bargain? Prominent investors are in a bearish mood. The number of bullish hedge fund bets retreated by 7 recently.

In the eyes of most traders, hedge funds are seen as underperforming, old financial vehicles of the past. While there are over 8000 funds with their doors open at present, we look at the masters of this group, about 450 funds. It is widely believed that this group oversees most of the hedge fund industry’s total asset base, and by paying attention to their top equity investments, we have uncovered a number of investment strategies that have historically outperformed the S&P 500 index. Our small-cap hedge fund strategy outpaced the S&P 500 index by 18 percentage points per annum for a decade in our back tests, and since we’ve started sharing our picks with our subscribers at the end of August 2012, we have outpaced the S&P 500 index by 23.3 percentage points in 8 months (check out a sample of our picks).

Equally as beneficial, optimistic insider trading sentiment is a second way to parse down the world of equities. As the old adage goes: there are a number of motivations for an executive to cut shares of his or her company, but only one, very simple reason why they would buy. Various empirical studies have demonstrated the useful potential of this strategy if shareholders know what to do (learn more here).

Now, we’re going to take a glance at the latest action regarding Dole Food Company, Inc. (NYSE:DOLE).

How have hedgies been trading Dole Food Company, Inc. (NYSE:DOLE)?

In preparation for this quarter, a total of 11 of the hedge funds we track were long in this stock, a change of -39% from one quarter earlier. With the smart money’s sentiment swirling, there exists a select group of noteworthy hedge fund managers who were upping their holdings significantly.

When looking at the hedgies we track, Balyasny Asset Management, managed by Dmitry Balyasny, holds the most valuable position in Dole Food Company, Inc. (NYSE:DOLE). Balyasny Asset Management has a $12.5 million position in the stock, comprising 0.2% of its 13F portfolio. On Balyasny Asset Management’s heels is Jim Simons of Renaissance Technologies, with a $7.4 million position; less than 0.1%% of its 13F portfolio is allocated to the company. Remaining hedgies that are bullish include Youlia Miteva’s Proxima Capital Management, Sander Gerber’s Hudson Bay Capital Management and Stephen Loukas, David A. Lorber, Zachary George’s FrontFour Capital Group.

Judging by the fact that Dole Food Company, Inc. (NYSE:DOLE) has experienced declining sentiment from hedge fund managers, logic holds that there were a few hedge funds that elected to cut their full holdings last quarter. It’s worth mentioning that Neil Chriss’s Hutchin Hill Capital dropped the biggest position of the “upper crust” of funds we key on, worth close to $17.3 million in stock., and Julian Robertson of Tiger Management was right behind this move, as the fund said goodbye to about $14 million worth. These moves are intriguing to say the least, as total hedge fund interest dropped by 7 funds last quarter.

Insider trading activity in Dole Food Company, Inc. (NYSE:DOLE)

Insider trading activity, especially when it’s bullish, is particularly usable when the company we’re looking at has experienced transactions within the past half-year. Over the last 180-day time period, Dole Food Company, Inc. (NYSE:DOLE) has seen zero unique insiders buying, and 2 insider sales (see the details of insider trades here).

Let’s check out hedge fund and insider activity in other stocks similar to Dole Food Company, Inc. (NYSE:DOLE). These stocks are ZHONGPIN INC. (NASDAQ:HOGS), Annies Inc (NYSE:BNNY), Post Holdings Inc (NYSE:POST), Sanderson Farms, Inc. (NASDAQ:SAFM), and Cal-Maine Foods Inc (NASDAQ:CALM). This group of stocks belong to the food – major diversified industry and their market caps resemble DOLE’s market cap.

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