ESCO Technologies Inc. (ESE): Insiders Aren’t Crazy About It

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Is ESCO Technologies Inc. (NYSE:ESE) ready to rally soon? The smart money is taking a bearish view. The number of long hedge fund bets went down by 1 recently.

ESCO Technologies Inc. (NYSE:ESE)

In the eyes of most shareholders, hedge funds are seen as worthless, old financial vehicles of the past. While there are greater than 8000 funds in operation at present, we at Insider Monkey choose to focus on the top tier of this group, around 450 funds. Most estimates calculate that this group controls the majority of all hedge funds’ total capital, and by watching their highest performing equity investments, we have discovered a number of investment strategies that have historically outstripped Mr. Market. Our small-cap hedge fund strategy outpaced the S&P 500 index by 18 percentage points annually for a decade in our back tests, and since we’ve began to sharing our picks with our subscribers at the end of August 2012, we have trumped the S&P 500 index by 23.3 percentage points in 8 months (check out a sample of our picks).

Just as beneficial, bullish insider trading activity is a second way to break down the marketplace. There are many reasons for an executive to drop shares of his or her company, but just one, very clear reason why they would buy. Several empirical studies have demonstrated the impressive potential of this method if you know where to look (learn more here).

Now, let’s take a peek at the recent action encompassing ESCO Technologies Inc. (NYSE:ESE).

How have hedgies been trading ESCO Technologies Inc. (NYSE:ESE)?

At Q1′s end, a total of 6 of the hedge funds we track were long in this stock, a change of -14% from one quarter earlier. With the smart money’s positions undergoing their usual ebb and flow, there exists an “upper tier” of noteworthy hedge fund managers who were boosting their stakes considerably.

According to our comprehensive database, John A. Levin’s Levin Capital Strategies had the biggest position in ESCO Technologies Inc. (NYSE:ESE), worth close to $9.3 million, accounting for 0.2% of its total 13F portfolio. Sitting at the No. 2 spot is Royce & Associates, managed by Chuck Royce, which held a $7.6 million position; less than 0.1%% of its 13F portfolio is allocated to the stock. Other peers that are bullish include D. E. Shaw’s D E Shaw, Ken Gray and Steve Walsh’s Bryn Mawr Capital and Jim Simons’s Renaissance Technologies.

Because ESCO Technologies Inc. (NYSE:ESE) has faced a declination in interest from the smart money, it’s safe to say that there lies a certain “tier” of hedge funds that slashed their entire stakes in Q1. It’s worth mentioning that Andy Redleaf’s Whitebox Advisors dropped the largest investment of all the hedgies we key on, totaling close to $1.2 million in stock., and Phill Gross and Robert Atchinson of Adage Capital Management was right behind this move, as the fund said goodbye to about $0.9 million worth. These transactions are intriguing to say the least, as aggregate hedge fund interest dropped by 1 funds in Q1.

How have insiders been trading ESCO Technologies Inc. (NYSE:ESE)?

Bullish insider trading is best served when the company in focus has seen transactions within the past 180 days. Over the latest half-year time frame, ESCO Technologies Inc. (NYSE:ESE) has experienced zero unique insiders buying, and 1 insider sales (see the details of insider trades here).

Let’s check out hedge fund and insider activity in other stocks similar to ESCO Technologies Inc. (NYSE:ESE). These stocks are MTS Systems Corporation (NASDAQ:MTSC), Analogic Corporation (NASDAQ:ALOG), Cubic Corporation (NYSE:CUB), II-VI, Inc. (NASDAQ:IIVI), and Ion Geophysical Corp (NYSE:IO). All of these stocks are in the scientific & technical instruments industry and their market caps match ESE’s market cap.

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