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W.R. Berkley Corporation (WRB): Insiders Aren’t Crazy About It But Hedge Funds Love It

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What has a W.R. Berkley Corporation (NYSE:WRB) investor to do?

In the eyes of many market players, hedge funds are seen as useless, outdated financial vehicles of an era lost to time. Although there are over 8,000 hedge funds in operation in present day, Insider Monkey looks at the top tier of this group, close to 525 funds. It is assumed that this group has its hands on most of the smart money’s total assets, and by watching their highest quality investments, we’ve revealed a few investment strategies that have historically outstripped the S&P 500. Our small-cap hedge fund strategy beat the S&P 500 index by 18 percentage points a year for a decade in our back tests, and since we’ve started sharing our picks with our subscribers at the end of August 2012, we have beaten the S&P 500 index by 33 percentage points in 11 months (see all of our picks from August).

Just as useful, bullish insider trading sentiment is a second way to analyze the financial markets. As the old adage goes: there are plenty of incentives for an executive to drop shares of his or her company, but only one, very obvious reason why they would buy. Many empirical studies have demonstrated the market-beating potential of this strategy if you understand where to look (learn more here).

Thus, we’re going to analyze the recent info surrounding W.R. Berkley Corporation (NYSE:WRB).

W.R. Berkley Corporation (NYSE:WRB)

What does the smart money think about W.R. Berkley Corporation (NYSE:WRB)?

At the end of the second quarter, a total of 24 of the hedge funds we track were long in this stock, a change of 41% from the first quarter. With hedgies’ positions undergoing their usual ebb and flow, there exists a select group of noteworthy hedge fund managers who were upping their stakes considerably.

When using filings from the hedgies we track, Boykin Curry’s Eagle Capital Management had the most valuable position in W.R. Berkley Corporation (NYSE:WRB), worth close to $445.1 million, comprising 2.4% of its total 13F portfolio. Coming in second is Matt McLennan of First Eagle Investment Management, with a $263.3 million position; 0.8% of its 13F portfolio is allocated to the company. Some other hedge funds that are bullish include Ken Griffin’s Citadel Investment Group, Jim Simons’s Renaissance Technologies and Mario Gabelli’s GAMCO Investors.

Now, certain bigger names have been driving this bullishness. Eagle Capital Management, managed by Boykin Curry, assembled the most valuable position in W.R. Berkley Corporation (NYSE:WRB). Eagle Capital Management had 445.1 million invested in the company at the end of the quarter. Matt McLennan’s First Eagle Investment Management also made a $263.3 million investment in the stock during the quarter. The other funds with new positions in the stock are Ken Griffin’s Citadel Investment Group, Jim Simons’s Renaissance Technologies, and Mario Gabelli’s GAMCO Investors.

What have insiders been doing with W.R. Berkley Corporation (NYSE:WRB)?

Insider buying is particularly usable when the primary stock in question has experienced transactions within the past 180 days. Over the last six-month time frame, W.R. Berkley Corporation (NYSE:WRB) has seen zero unique insiders buying, and zero 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 W.R. Berkley Corporation (NYSE:WRB). These stocks are Markel Corporation (NYSE:MKL), Axis Capital Holdings Limited (NYSE:AXS), Arch Capital Group Ltd. (NASDAQ:ACGL), Partnerre Ltd (NYSE:PRE), and Alleghany Corporation (NYSE:Y). This group of stocks are in the property & casualty insurance industry and their market caps resemble WRB’s market cap.

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