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Is Potbelly Corp (PBPB) A Good Stock To Buy?

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Looking for high-potential stocks? Just follow the big players within the hedge fund industry. Why should you do so? Let’s take a brief look at what statistics have to say about hedge funds’ stock picking abilities to illustrate. The Standard and Poor’s 500 Index returned approximately 7.6% in the 12 months ending November 21, with more than 51% of the stocks in the index failing to beat the benchmark. Therefore, the odds that one will pin down a winner by randomly picking a stock are less than the odds in a fair coin-tossing game. Conversely, best performing hedge funds’ 30 preferred mid-cap stocks generated a return of 18% during the same 12-month period. Coincidence? It might happen to be so, but it is unlikely. Our research covering a 17-year period indicates that hedge funds’ stock picks generate superior risk-adjusted returns. That’s why we believe it is wise to check hedge fund activity before you invest your time or your savings on a stock like Potbelly Corp (NASDAQ:PBPB).

Potbelly Corp (NASDAQ:PBPB) has experienced a decrease in hedge fund sentiment recently. 14 hedge funds that we track were long the stock on September 30. There were 16 hedge funds in our database with PBPB holdings at the end of the previous quarter. The level and the change in hedge fund popularity aren’t the only variables you need to analyze to decipher hedge funds’ perspectives. A stock may witness a boost in popularity but it may still be less popular than similarly priced stocks. That’s why at the end of this article we will examine companies such as NewLink Genetics Corp (NASDAQ:NLNK), Versartic Inc (NASDAQ:VSAR), and Casella Waste Systems Inc. (NASDAQ:CWST) to gather more data points.

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At Insider Monkey, we’ve developed an investment strategy that has delivered market-beating returns over the past 12 months. Our strategy identifies the 100 best-performing funds of the previous quarter from among the collection of 700+ successful funds that we track in our database, which we accomplish using our returns methodology. We then study the portfolios of those 100 funds using the latest 13F data to uncover the 30 most popular mid-cap stocks (market caps of between $1 billion and $10 billion) among them to hold until the next filing period. This strategy delivered 18% gains over the past 12 months, more than doubling the 8% returns enjoyed by the S&P 500 ETFs.

Maksimilian/Shutterstock.com

Maksimilian/Shutterstock.com

What does the smart money think about Potbelly Corp (NASDAQ:PBPB)?

At Q3’s end, a total of 14 of the hedge funds tracked by Insider Monkey were long this stock, a 13% dip from one quarter earlier. Below, you can check out the change in hedge fund sentiment towards PBPB over the last 5 quarters, which has been somewhat volatile. So, let’s check out which hedge funds were among the top holders of the stock and which hedge funds were making big moves.

HedgeFundSentimentChart

When looking at the institutional investors followed by Insider Monkey, Renaissance Technologies, founded by Jim Simons, holds the most valuable position in Potbelly Corp (NASDAQ:PBPB). Renaissance Technologies has a $23.4 million position in the stock. The second most bullish fund manager is Peter Algert and Kevin Coldiron of Algert Coldiron Investors, with a $1.8 million position. Some other peers that are bullish include John Overdeck and David Siegel’s Two Sigma Advisors, Adam Wright and Gary Kohler’s Blue Clay Capital, and Peter Rathjens, Bruce Clarke and John Campbell’s Arrowstreet Capital. We should note that none of these hedge funds are among our list of the 100 best performing hedge funds which is based on the performance of their 13F long positions in non-microcap stocks.

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