Duke Energy Corp (DUK): Are Hedge Funds Right About This Stock?

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Duke Energy Corp (NYSE:DUK) has experienced a decrease in support from the world's most elite money managers recently.

To the average investor, there are a multitude of methods market participants can use to track Mr. Market. A pair of the most innovative are hedge fund and insider trading sentiment. At Insider Monkey, our research analyses have shown that, historically, those who follow the top picks of the elite investment managers can trounce the market by a solid amount (see just how much).

Duke Energy Corp (NYSE:DUK)Just as key, bullish insider trading sentiment is a second way to break down the stock market universe. As the old adage goes: there are many motivations for an upper level exec to sell shares of his or her company, but just one, very simple reason why they would buy. Various academic studies have demonstrated the market-beating potential of this strategy if "monkeys" know where to look (learn more here).

With these "truths" under our belt, we're going to take a look at the recent action surrounding Duke Energy Corp (NYSE:DUK).

What does the smart money think about Duke Energy Corp (NYSE:DUK)?

At the end of the first quarter, a total of 18 of the hedge funds we track were bullish in this stock, a change of -14% from one quarter earlier. With hedgies' positions undergoing their usual ebb and flow, there exists a few noteworthy hedge fund managers who were boosting their stakes significantly.

When looking at the hedgies we track, Cliff Asness's AQR Capital Management had the largest position in Duke Energy Corp (NYSE:DUK), worth close to $43.5 million, comprising 0.2% of its total 13F portfolio. Sitting at the No. 2 spot is Seminole Capital (Investment Mgmt), managed by Michael Messner, which held a $39.6 million position; the fund has 1.9% of its 13F portfolio invested in the stock. Some other hedgies that are bullish include Sean Cullinan's Point State Capital, David Harding's Winton Capital Management and Daniel S. Och's OZ Management.

Since Duke Energy Corp (NYSE:DUK) has witnessed bearish sentiment from hedge fund managers, it's easy to see that there was a specific group of funds that slashed their positions entirely at the end of the first quarter. Intriguingly, Jean-Marie Eveillard's First Eagle Investment Management sold off the biggest investment of the 450+ funds we track, totaling close to $121.3 million in stock.. Stanley Druckenmiller's fund, Duquesne Capital, also said goodbye to its stock, about $25.6 million worth. These transactions are intriguing to say the least, as aggregate hedge fund interest was cut by 3 funds at the end of the first quarter.

What have insiders been doing with Duke Energy Corp (NYSE:DUK)?

Bullish insider trading is most useful when the company we're looking at has seen transactions within the past 180 days. Over the latest 180-day time period, Duke Energy Corp (NYSE:DUK) has seen 1 unique insiders buying, and 7 insider sales (see the details of insider trades here).

Let's check out hedge fund and insider activity in other stocks similar to Duke Energy Corp (NYSE:DUK). These stocks are PG&E Corporation (NYSE:PCG), American Electric Power Company, Inc. (NYSE:AEP), NextEra Energy, Inc. (NYSE:NEE), Dominion Resources, Inc. (NYSE:D), and The Southern Company (NYSE:SO). This group of stocks are in the electric utilities industry and their market caps are similar to DUK's market cap.

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