This Metric Says You Are Smart to Sell Ascena Retail Group Inc (ASNA)

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Now, according to many market players, hedge funds are perceived as useless, old investment vehicles of an era lost to time. Although there are In excess of 8,000 hedge funds with their doors open in present day, Insider Monkey focuses on the leaders of this club, close to 525 funds. Analysts calculate that this group has its hands on the lion’s share of the hedge fund industry’s total assets, and by monitoring their highest quality equity investments, we’ve unsheathed a number of investment strategies that have historically outstripped the S&P 500. Our small-cap hedge fund strategy outpaced the S&P 500 index by 18 percentage points per year 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 topped the S&P 500 index by 33 percentage points in 11 months (find a sample of our picks).

Equally as useful, optimistic insider trading sentiment is another way to analyze the stock market universe. Just as you’d expect, there are plenty of reasons for an upper level exec to drop shares of his or her company, but only one, very simple reason why they would initiate a purchase. Many empirical studies have demonstrated the impressive potential of this strategy if shareholders understand what to do (learn more here).

Thus, we’re going to analyze the recent info about Ascena Retail Group Inc (NASDAQ:ASNA).

What does the smart money think about Ascena Retail Group Inc (NASDAQ:ASNA)?

In preparation for the third quarter, a total of 19 of the hedge funds we track held long positions in this stock, a change of -21% from the first quarter. With hedgies’ positions undergoing their usual ebb and flow, there exists an “upper tier” of notable hedge fund managers who were boosting their stakes substantially.

Ascena Retail Group Inc (NASDAQ:ASNA)Out of the hedge funds we follow, Royce & Associates, managed by Chuck Royce, holds the largest position in Ascena Retail Group Inc (NASDAQ:ASNA). Royce & Associates has a $136.8 million position in the stock, comprising 0.4% of its 13F portfolio. On Royce & Associates’s heels is Alan Fournier of Pennant Capital Management, with a $122.1 million position; 2.3% of its 13F portfolio is allocated to the company. Other peers that are bullish include Ken Fisher’s Fisher Asset Management, Leon Cooperman’s Omega Advisors and Alexander Medina Seaver’s Stadium Capital Management.

Due to the fact Ascena Retail Group Inc (NASDAQ:ASNA) has experienced dropping sentiment from the entirety of the hedge funds we track, logic holds that there lies a certain “tier” of money managers that slashed their positions entirely last quarter. At the top of the heap, David Dreman’s Dreman Value Management said goodbye to the largest investment of the 450+ funds we key on, totaling close to $14 million in stock, and Debra Fine of Fine Capital Partners was right behind this move, as the fund cut about $9.6 million worth. These bearish behaviors are interesting, as aggregate hedge fund interest dropped by 5 funds last quarter.

What have insiders been doing with Ascena Retail Group Inc (NASDAQ:ASNA)?

Insider buying made by high-level executives is at its handiest when the primary stock in question has seen transactions within the past 180 days. Over the latest 180-day time period, Ascena Retail Group Inc (NASDAQ:ASNA) has seen zero unique insiders buying, and 3 insider sales (see the details of insider trades here).

We’ll also review the relationship between both of these indicators in other stocks similar to Ascena Retail Group Inc (NASDAQ:ASNA). These stocks are The Buckle, Inc. (NYSE:BKE), Abercrombie & Fitch Co. (NYSE:ANF), American Eagle Outfitters (NYSE:AEO), Chico’s FAS, Inc. (NYSE:CHS), and DSW Inc. (NYSE:DSW). This group of stocks are in the apparel stores industry and their market caps match ASNA’s market cap.

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