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Hedge Funds Are Crazy About Ascena Retail Group Inc (ASNA)

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Ascena Retail Group Inc (NASDAQ:ASNA) has seen an increase in activity from the world’s largest hedge funds of late.

To the average investor, there are tons of metrics market participants can use to analyze Mr. Market. A pair of the most under-the-radar 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 top investment managers can outpace the broader indices by a significant margin (see just how much).

Ascena Retail Group Inc (NASDAQ:ASNA)Just as beneficial, optimistic insider trading activity is another way to break down the financial markets. As the old adage goes: there are many stimuli for an insider to downsize shares of his or her company, but just one, very simple reason why they would initiate a purchase. Plenty of academic studies have demonstrated the useful potential of this method if piggybackers understand where to look (learn more here).

Consequently, we’re going to take a gander at the latest action regarding Ascena Retail Group Inc (NASDAQ:ASNA).

How are hedge funds trading Ascena Retail Group Inc (NASDAQ:ASNA)?

Heading into Q2, a total of 24 of the hedge funds we track were bullish in this stock, a change of 4% from the previous quarter. With the smart money’s sentiment swirling, there exists an “upper tier” of key hedge fund managers who were boosting their holdings substantially.

According to our comprehensive database, Royce & Associates, managed by Chuck Royce, holds the biggest position in Ascena Retail Group Inc (NASDAQ:ASNA). Royce & Associates has a $148.1 million position in the stock, comprising 0.5% of its 13F portfolio. On Royce & Associates’s heels is Alan Fournier of Pennant Capital Management, with a $126.1 million position; 2.5% of its 13F portfolio is allocated to the stock. Some other hedgies with similar optimism include Ken Fisher’s Fisher Asset Management, Alexander Medina Seaver’s Stadium Capital Management and Martin Whitman’s Third Avenue Management.

As aggregate interest increased, some big names were breaking ground themselves. Pennant Capital Management, managed by Alan Fournier, assembled the most valuable position in Ascena Retail Group Inc (NASDAQ:ASNA). Pennant Capital Management had 126.1 million invested in the company at the end of the quarter. Martin Whitman’s Third Avenue Management also made a $22 million investment in the stock during the quarter. The other funds with brand new ASNA positions are Debra Fine’s Fine Capital Partners, Joe DiMenna’s ZWEIG DIMENNA PARTNERS, and Neil Chriss’s Hutchin Hill Capital.

What do corporate executives and insiders think about Ascena Retail Group Inc (NASDAQ:ASNA)?

Bullish insider trading is at its handiest when the company in focus has seen transactions within the past 180 days. Over the last 180-day time frame, Ascena Retail Group Inc (NASDAQ:ASNA) has experienced zero unique insiders buying, and 4 insider sales (see the details of insider trades here).

Let’s also examine hedge fund and insider activity in other stocks similar to Ascena Retail Group Inc (NASDAQ:ASNA). These stocks are The Buckle, Inc. (NYSE:BKE), Abercrombie & Fitch Co. (NYSE:ANF), American Eagle Outfitters (NYSE:AEO), Chico’s FAS, Inc. (NYSE:CHS), and DSW Inc. (NYSE:DSW). This group of stocks belong to the apparel stores industry and their market caps are similar to ASNA’s market cap.

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