On Assignment, Inc. (ASGN): Here’s What You Should Watch

On Assignment, Inc. (NYSE:ASGN)On Assignment, Inc. (NYSE:ASGN) was in 9 hedge funds’ portfolio at the end of the fourth quarter of 2012. ASGN has seen a decrease in activity from the world’s largest hedge funds of late. There were 10 hedge funds in our database with ASGN positions at the end of the previous quarter.

In the eyes of most stock holders, hedge funds are perceived as unimportant, old financial tools of the past. While there are greater than 8000 funds in operation at present, we hone in on the bigwigs of this club, about 450 funds. Most estimates calculate that this group has its hands on most of the hedge fund industry’s total asset base, and by tracking their best equity investments, we have figured out a few investment strategies that have historically outstripped the market. Our small-cap hedge fund strategy outpaced the S&P 500 index by 18 percentage points per annum 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 beaten the S&P 500 index by 24 percentage points in 7 months (explore the details and some picks here).

Equally as beneficial, positive insider trading activity is a second way to break down the financial markets. There are lots of motivations for a bullish insider to downsize shares of his or her company, but only one, very simple reason why they would initiate a purchase. Many empirical studies have demonstrated the market-beating potential of this method if piggybackers understand what to do (learn more here).

With these “truths” under our belt, let’s take a peek at the recent action regarding On Assignment, Inc. (NYSE:ASGN).

What does the smart money think about On Assignment, Inc. (NYSE:ASGN)?

Heading into 2013, a total of 9 of the hedge funds we track were bullish in this stock, a change of -10% from the previous quarter. With hedgies’ capital changing hands, there exists a select group of key hedge fund managers who were increasing their holdings significantly.

Of the funds we track, Driehaus Capital, managed by Richard Driehaus, holds the largest position in On Assignment, Inc. (NYSE:ASGN). Driehaus Capital has a $11.8 million position in the stock, comprising 0.4% of its 13F portfolio. The second largest stake is held by Royce & Associates, managed by Chuck Royce, which held a $10.2 million position; the fund has less than 0.1%% of its 13F portfolio invested in the stock. Other peers that are bullish include Robert B. Gillam’s McKinley Capital Management, Jim Simons’s Renaissance Technologies and John Murphy’s Alydar Capital.

Because On Assignment, Inc. (NYSE:ASGN) has faced bearish sentiment from the entirety of the hedge funds we track, logic holds that there lies a certain “tier” of fund managers that slashed their entire stakes in Q4. At the top of the heap, Ken Grossman and Glen Schneider’s SG Capital Management dumped the largest stake of all the hedgies we monitor, totaling about $2.5 million in stock., and Anand Parekh of Alyeska Investment Group was right behind this move, as the fund dumped about $0.8 million worth. These bearish behaviors are interesting, as total hedge fund interest was cut by 1 funds in Q4.

How are insiders trading On Assignment, Inc. (NYSE:ASGN)?

Insider purchases made by high-level executives is particularly usable when the company we’re looking at has seen transactions within the past half-year. Over the last six-month time frame, On Assignment, Inc. (NYSE:ASGN) has experienced 1 unique insiders buying, and 9 insider sales (see the details of insider trades here).

Let’s check out hedge fund and insider activity in other stocks similar to On Assignment, Inc. (NYSE:ASGN). These stocks are Compass Diversified Holdings (NYSE:CODI), Trueblue Inc (NYSE:TBI), Korn/Ferry International (NYSE:KFY), , and 51job, Inc. (ADR) (NASDAQ:JOBS). This group of stocks belong to the staffing & outsourcing services industry and their market caps resemble ASGN’s market cap.

Company Name # of Hedge Funds # of Insiders Buying # of Insiders Selling
Compass Diversified Holdings (NYSE:CODI) 5 7 0
Trueblue Inc (NYSE:TBI) 7 0 10
Korn/Ferry International (NYSE:KFY) 12 0 0
51job, Inc. (ADR) (NASDAQ:JOBS) 6 0 0

With the results demonstrated by our studies, retail investors should always pay attention to hedge fund and insider trading sentiment, and On Assignment, Inc. (NYSE:ASGN) shareholders fit into this picture quite nicely.

Click here to learn why you should track hedge funds

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