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UniFirst Corp (UNF): Hedge Funds Are Bullish and Insiders Are Bearish, What Should You Do?

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UniFirst Corp (NYSE:UNF) was in 14 hedge funds’ portfolio at the end of the first quarter of 2013. UNF has seen an increase in hedge fund interest lately. There were 9 hedge funds in our database with UNF holdings at the end of the previous quarter.

In the 21st century investor’s toolkit, there are dozens of metrics shareholders can use to monitor publicly traded companies. A duo of the best are hedge fund and insider trading interest. At Insider Monkey, our studies have shown that, historically, those who follow the best picks of the best hedge fund managers can outclass the broader indices by a significant amount (see just how much).

Equally as important, bullish insider trading sentiment is another way to break down the marketplace. Obviously, there are a variety of incentives for an insider to get rid of shares of his or her company, but only one, very simple reason why they would initiate a purchase. Many empirical studies have demonstrated the valuable potential of this tactic if you know where to look (learn more here).

With all of this in mind, we’re going to take a glance at the key action regarding UniFirst Corp (NYSE:UNF).

Hedge fund activity in UniFirst Corp (NYSE:UNF)

At Q1’s end, a total of 14 of the hedge funds we track were bullish in this stock, a change of 56% from the previous quarter. With the smart money’s sentiment swirling, there exists a few key hedge fund managers who were upping their holdings substantially.

According to our comprehensive database, Royce & Associates, managed by Chuck Royce, holds the biggest position in UniFirst Corp (NYSE:UNF). Royce & Associates has a $168.5 million position in the stock, comprising 0.5% of its 13F portfolio. The second largest stake is held by Jean-Marie Eveillard of First Eagle Investment Management, with a $69.5 million position; the fund has 0.2% of its 13F portfolio invested in the stock. Some other peers that hold long positions include Martin Whitman’s Third Avenue Management, Jim Simons’s Renaissance Technologies and D. E. Shaw’s D E Shaw.

As industrywide interest jumped, key money managers have jumped into UniFirst Corp (NYSE:UNF) headfirst. Hutchin Hill Capital, managed by Neil Chriss, initiated the most outsized position in UniFirst Corp (NYSE:UNF). Hutchin Hill Capital had 1.1 million invested in the company at the end of the quarter. Peter Algert and Kevin Coldiron’s Algert Coldiron Investors also initiated a $0.7 million position during the quarter. The other funds with new positions in the stock are Israel Englander’s Millennium Management, Steven Cohen’s SAC Capital Advisors, and Matthew Tewksbury’s Stevens Capital Management.

What do corporate executives and insiders think about UniFirst Corp (NYSE:UNF)?

Insider trading activity, especially when it’s bullish, is most useful when the company in question has experienced transactions within the past half-year. Over the latest half-year time period, UniFirst Corp (NYSE:UNF) has experienced zero unique insiders purchasing, and 4 insider sales (see the details of insider trades here).

Let’s go over hedge fund and insider activity in other stocks similar to UniFirst Corp (NYSE:UNF). These stocks are Oxford Industries, Inc. (NYSE:OXM), Carter’s, Inc. (NYSE:CRI), Quiksilver, Inc. (NYSE:ZQK), Fifth & Pacific Companies Inc (NYSE:FNP), and Columbia Sportswear Company (NASDAQ:COLM). This group of stocks are the members of the textile – apparel clothing industry and their market caps match UNF’s market cap.

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