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Hedge Funds Aren’t Crazy About CLARCOR Inc. (CLC) Anymore

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Is CLARCOR Inc. (NYSE:CLC) a safe stock to buy now? Hedge funds are in a bearish mood. The number of bullish hedge fund bets retreated by 1 in recent months.

According to most stock holders, hedge funds are seen as unimportant, old financial vehicles of the past. While there are over 8000 funds in operation at present, we hone in on the bigwigs of this club, around 450 funds. Most estimates calculate that this group oversees most of the smart money’s total asset base, and by tracking their highest performing investments, we have come up with a number of investment strategies that have historically outstripped Mr. Market. Our small-cap hedge fund strategy outstripped 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 outclassed the S&P 500 index by 23.3 percentage points in 8 months (see the details here).

Equally as important, positive insider trading sentiment is a second way to parse down the stock market universe. As the old adage goes: there are many reasons for a bullish insider to sell shares of his or her company, but only one, very obvious reason why they would initiate a purchase. Various academic studies have demonstrated the impressive potential of this method if investors know where to look (learn more here).

Keeping this in mind, it’s important to take a gander at the recent action regarding CLARCOR Inc. (NYSE:CLC).

How have hedgies been trading CLARCOR Inc. (NYSE:CLC)?

In preparation for this quarter, a total of 11 of the hedge funds we track held long positions in this stock, a change of -8% from the previous quarter. With hedge funds’ positions undergoing their usual ebb and flow, there exists an “upper tier” of key hedge fund managers who were increasing their holdings significantly.

CLARCOR Inc. (NYSE:CLC)Of the funds we track, GAMCO Investors, managed by Mario Gabelli, holds the most valuable position in CLARCOR Inc. (NYSE:CLC). GAMCO Investors has a $40.2 million position in the stock, comprising 0.3% of its 13F portfolio. On GAMCO Investors’s heels is Royce & Associates, managed by Chuck Royce, which held a $39.1 million position; 0.1% of its 13F portfolio is allocated to the company. Some other hedgies that are bullish include Robert Rodriguez and Steven Romick’s First Pacific Advisors LLC, Ken Griffin’s Citadel Investment Group and Matthew Hulsizer’s PEAK6 Capital Management.

Seeing as CLARCOR Inc. (NYSE:CLC) has faced declining sentiment from the smart money, logic holds that there were a few hedge funds who were dropping their entire stakes last quarter. Intriguingly, Ian Simm’s Impax Asset Management said goodbye to the biggest investment of the 450+ funds we watch, worth an estimated $32 million in stock., and Peter Rathjens, Bruce Clarke and John Campbell of Arrowstreet Capital was right behind this move, as the fund dumped about $26 million worth. These bearish behaviors are important to note, as total hedge fund interest was cut by 1 funds last quarter.

How have insiders been trading CLARCOR Inc. (NYSE:CLC)?

Insider buying is best served when the company in focus has experienced transactions within the past half-year. Over the last 180-day time frame, CLARCOR Inc. (NYSE:CLC) has seen zero unique insiders buying, and 2 insider sales (see the details of insider trades here).

Let’s also take a look at hedge fund and insider activity in other stocks similar to CLARCOR Inc. (NYSE:CLC). These stocks are ADA-ES, Inc. (NASDAQ:ADES), Heritage-Crystal Clean, Inc. (NASDAQ:HCCI), Tennant Company (NYSE:TNC), Calgon Carbon Corporation (NYSE:CCC), and Donaldson Company, Inc. (NYSE:DCI). This group of stocks are the members of the pollution & treatment controls industry and their market caps are closest to CLC’s market cap.

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