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Should You Buy Herman Miller, Inc. (MLHR)?: Knoll Inc (KNL), Pitney Bowes Inc. (PBI)

Herman Miller, Inc. (NASDAQ:MLHR) was in 10 hedge funds’ portfolio at the end of the fourth quarter of 2012. MLHR investors should be aware of an increase in activity from the world’s largest hedge funds in recent months. There were 9 hedge funds in our database with MLHR positions at the end of the previous quarter.

Herman Miller, Inc. (NASDAQ:MLHR)

In the financial world, there are dozens of methods market participants can use to analyze their holdings. Two of the most under-the-radar are hedge fund and insider trading interest. At Insider Monkey, our studies have shown that, historically, those who follow the top picks of the best fund managers can outpace the market by a significant amount (see just how much).

Just as key, bullish insider trading sentiment is a second way to parse down the stock market universe. There are a number of motivations for an executive to get rid of shares of his or her company, but just one, very clear reason why they would initiate a purchase. Plenty of empirical studies have demonstrated the useful potential of this strategy if investors understand what to do (learn more here).

Consequently, we’re going to take a glance at the latest action surrounding Herman Miller, Inc. (NASDAQ:MLHR).

Hedge fund activity in Herman Miller, Inc. (NASDAQ:MLHR)

At year’s end, a total of 10 of the hedge funds we track were long in this stock, a change of 11% 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 stakes considerably.

According to our comprehensive database, Pzena Investment Management, managed by Richard S. Pzena, holds the biggest position in Herman Miller, Inc. (NASDAQ:MLHR). Pzena Investment Management has a $20 million position in the stock, comprising 0.2% of its 13F portfolio. On Pzena Investment Management’s heels is Basswood Capital, managed by Matthew Lindenbaum, which held a $13 million position; 0% of its 13F portfolio is allocated to the company. Remaining hedge funds that hold long positions include Tom Russo’s Gardner Russo & Gardner, Joel Greenblatt’s Gotham Asset Management and Jim Simons’s Renaissance Technologies.

As one would reasonably expect, key money managers have jumped into Herman Miller, Inc. (NASDAQ:MLHR) headfirst. Millennium Management, managed by Israel Englander, created the most valuable position in Herman Miller, Inc. (NASDAQ:MLHR). Millennium Management had 1 million invested in the company at the end of the quarter. Cliff Asness’s AQR Capital Management also initiated a $1 million position during the quarter.

What have insiders been doing with Herman Miller, Inc. (NASDAQ:MLHR)?

Insider buying is particularly usable when the company we’re looking at has experienced transactions within the past six months. Over the last 180-day time frame, Herman Miller, Inc. (NASDAQ:MLHR) has seen zero unique insiders buying, and 3 insider sales (see the details of insider trades here).

Let’s also examine hedge fund and insider activity in other stocks similar to Herman Miller, Inc. (NASDAQ:MLHR). These stocks are Knoll Inc (NYSE:KNL), Pitney Bowes Inc. (NYSE:PBI), VeriFone Systems Inc (NYSE:PAY), Steelcase Inc. (NYSE:SCS), and HNI Corp (NYSE:HNI). This group of stocks belong to the business equipment industry and their market caps match MLHR’s market cap.

Company Name # of Hedge Funds # of Insiders Buying # of Insiders Selling
Knoll Inc (NYSE:KNL) 8 0 4
Pitney Bowes Inc. (NYSE:PBI) 23 0 0
VeriFone Systems Inc (NYSE:PAY) 15 0 0
Steelcase Inc. (NYSE:SCS) 19 0 2
HNI Corp (NYSE:HNI) 3 1 7

With the returns shown by our research, everyday investors must always keep an eye on hedge fund and insider trading sentiment, and Herman Miller, Inc. (NASDAQ:MLHR) applies perfectly to this mantra.

Click here to learn more about Insider Monkey’s Hedge Fund Newsletter

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