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Petroquest Energy Inc (PQ): Hedge Funds and Insiders Are Bearish, What Should You Do?: Warren Resources, Inc. (WRES), Panhandle Oil and Gas Inc. (PHX)

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Petroquest Energy Inc (NYSE:PQ) was in 8 hedge funds’ portfolio at the end of the fourth quarter of 2012. PQ has experienced a decrease in hedge fund sentiment of late. There were 9 hedge funds in our database with PQ positions at the end of the previous quarter.

Millennium Management, Catapult Capital Management

To the average investor, there are plenty of indicators shareholders can use to watch their holdings. Two of the most under-the-radar are hedge fund and insider trading movement. At Insider Monkey, our research analyses have shown that, historically, those who follow the top picks of the elite fund managers can trounce the market by a significant amount (see just how much).

Equally as beneficial, bullish insider trading activity is a second way to break down the world of equities. As the old adage goes: there are lots of motivations for an upper level exec to sell shares of his or her company, but just one, very simple reason why they would behave bullishly. Plenty of empirical studies have demonstrated the useful potential of this method if shareholders understand what to do (learn more here).

Keeping this in mind, let’s take a look at the recent action regarding Petroquest Energy Inc (NYSE:PQ).

How are hedge funds trading Petroquest Energy Inc (NYSE:PQ)?

Heading into 2013, a total of 8 of the hedge funds we track were long in this stock, a change of -11% from the third quarter. With the smart money’s capital changing hands, there exists an “upper tier” of noteworthy hedge fund managers who were upping their stakes meaningfully.

Of the funds we track, John H. Scully’s SPO Advisory Corp had the most valuable position in Petroquest Energy Inc (NYSE:PQ), worth close to $39 million, accounting for 0.6% of its total 13F portfolio. On SPO Advisory Corp’s heels is Millennium Management, managed by Israel Englander, which held a $1 million position; 0% of its 13F portfolio is allocated to the company. Some other hedgies that are bullish include Cliff Asness’s AQR Capital Management, Ken Griffin’s Citadel Investment Group and David Cohen and Harold Levy’s Iridian Asset Management.

Due to the fact that Petroquest Energy Inc (NYSE:PQ) has faced falling interest from the smart money, logic holds that there is a sect of fund managers who were dropping their entire stakes heading into 2013. It’s worth mentioning that Peter Rathjens, Bruce Clarke and John Campbell’s Arrowstreet Capital sold off the largest investment of the “upper crust” of funds we watch, comprising close to less than $1 million, and Steven Cohen of SAC Capital Advisors was right behind this move, as the fund sold off about less than $1 million worth. These moves are intriguing to say the least, as aggregate hedge fund interest fell by 1 funds heading into 2013.

What have insiders been doing with Petroquest Energy Inc (NYSE:PQ)?

Bullish insider trading is most useful when the company in question has experienced transactions within the past six months. Over the last half-year time period, Petroquest Energy Inc (NYSE:PQ) has experienced zero unique insiders purchasing, and 1 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 Petroquest Energy Inc (NYSE:PQ). These stocks are Warren Resources, Inc. (NASDAQ:WRES), Panhandle Oil and Gas Inc. (NYSE:PHX), Whiting USA Trust II (NYSE:WHZ), Isramco, Inc. (NASDAQ:ISRL), and Evolution Petroleum Corporation (NYSEAMEX:EPM). All of these stocks are in the independent oil & gas industry and their market caps match PQ’s market cap.

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