Hedge Funds Aren’t Crazy About USANA Health Sciences, Inc. (USNA) Anymore

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USANA Health Sciences, Inc. (NYSE:USNA) shareholders have witnessed a decrease in support from the world’s most elite money managers in recent months.

In the eyes of most investors, hedge funds are seen as slow, outdated financial vehicles of the past. While there are over 8000 funds trading today, we hone in on the bigwigs of this group, close to 450 funds. Most estimates calculate that this group has its hands on the lion’s share of all hedge funds’ total asset base, and by paying attention to their top picks, we have figured out a few investment strategies that have historically outpaced the broader indices. Our small-cap hedge fund strategy outstripped the S&P 500 index by 18 percentage points per year 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 beaten the S&P 500 index by 24 percentage points in 7 months (see all of our picks from August).

Just as beneficial, bullish insider trading activity is a second way to break down the stock market universe. As the old adage goes: there are a variety of stimuli for a bullish insider to cut shares of his or her company, but only one, very clear reason why they would behave bullishly. Various academic studies have demonstrated the market-beating potential of this tactic if “monkeys” know where to look (learn more here).

Now, we’re going to take a glance at the key action encompassing USANA Health Sciences, Inc. (NYSE:USNA).

How are hedge funds trading USANA Health Sciences, Inc. (NYSE:USNA)?

At year’s end, a total of 11 of the hedge funds we track were bullish in this stock, a change of -8% from the previous quarter. With the smart money’s positions undergoing their usual ebb and flow, there exists an “upper tier” of notable hedge fund managers who were boosting their holdings significantly.

According to our comprehensive database, Renaissance Technologies, managed by Jim Simons, holds the largest position in USANA Health Sciences, Inc. (NYSE:USNA). Renaissance Technologies has a $18.7 million position in the stock, comprising 0.1% of its 13F portfolio. Coming in second is Citadel Investment Group, managed by Ken Griffin, which held a $5.5 million position; less than 0.1%% of its 13F portfolio is allocated to the stock. Remaining hedge funds with similar optimism include Cliff Asness’s AQR Capital Management, Peter Rathjens, Bruce Clarke and John Campbell’s Arrowstreet Capital and Paul Tudor Jones’s Tudor Investment Corp.

Because USANA Health Sciences, Inc. (NYSE:USNA) has witnessed bearish sentiment from the entirety of the hedge funds we track, it’s easy to see that there is a sect of money managers who sold off their entire stakes heading into 2013. It’s worth mentioning that Joel Greenblatt’s Gotham Asset Management dumped the largest investment of the “upper crust” of funds we key on, comprising close to $1.8 million in stock., and Mike Vranos of Ellington was right behind this move, as the fund sold off about $0.4 million worth. These bearish behaviors are interesting, as total hedge fund interest was cut by 1 funds heading into 2013.

What do corporate executives and insiders think about USANA Health Sciences, Inc. (NYSE:USNA)?

Insider buying is particularly usable when the company in focus has experienced transactions within the past six months. Over the last half-year time frame, USANA Health Sciences, Inc. (NYSE:USNA) has seen 1 unique insiders purchasing, and 6 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 USANA Health Sciences, Inc. (NYSE:USNA). These stocks are Herbalife Ltd. (NYSE:HLF), Nature’s Sunshine Prod. (NASDAQ:NATR), Prestige Brands Holdings, Inc. (NYSE:PBH), and Auxilium Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NASDAQ:AUXL). All of these stocks are in the drug related products industry and their market caps are similar to USNA’s market cap.

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