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What Do Hedge Funds Think of First Solar, Inc. (FSLR)?

The latest 13F reporting period has come and gone, and Insider Monkey is again at the forefront when it comes to making use of this gold mine of data. We have processed the filings of the more than 700 world-class investment firms that we track and now have access to the collective wisdom contained in these filings, which are based on their September 30 holdings, data that is available nowhere else. Should you consider First Solar, Inc. (NASDAQ:FSLR) for your portfolio? We’ll look to this invaluable collective wisdom for the answer.

Is First Solar, Inc. (NASDAQ:FSLR) the right pick for your portfolio? Money managers are turning bullish. The number of long hedge fund bets inched up by four in recent months. The level and the change in hedge fund popularity aren’t the only variables you need to analyze to decipher hedge funds’ perspectives. A stock may witness a boost in popularity, but it may still be less popular than similarly priced stocks. That’s why at the end of this article we will examine companies such as Brocade Communications Systems, Inc. (NASDAQ:BRCD), VCA Inc (NASDAQ:WOOF), and Investors Bancorp, Inc. (NASDAQ:ISBC) to gather more data points.

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At the moment there are a large number of methods investors employ to appraise stocks. A pair of the most useful methods are hedge fund and insider trading activity. We have shown that, historically, those who follow the best picks of the top investment managers can outpace the broader indices by a solid amount (see the details here).

Keeping this in mind, let’s take a gander at the new action encompassing First Solar, Inc. (NASDAQ:FSLR).

Hedge fund activity in First Solar, Inc. (NASDAQ:FSLR)

At the end of the third quarter, a total of 34 of the hedge funds tracked by Insider Monkey were long this stock, an increase of 13% from the previous quarter. With hedgies’ capital changing hands, there exists a few notable hedge fund managers who were boosting their stakes substantially (or already accumulated large positions).

According to Insider Monkey’s hedge fund database, Millennium Management, managed by Israel Englander, holds the largest position in First Solar, Inc. (NASDAQ:FSLR). Millennium Management has a $45.2 million position in the stock, comprising 0.1% of its 13F portfolio. Coming in second is Cliff Asness of AQR Capital Management, with an $43.4 million position; the fund has 0.1% of its 13F portfolio invested in the stock. Some other members of the smart money that hold long positions encompass Bernard Lambilliotte’s Ecofin Ltd, John Overdeck and David Siegel’s Two Sigma Advisors and Mike Masters’s Masters Capital Management.

Now, key money managers have jumped into First Solar, Inc. (NASDAQ:FSLR) headfirst. Highbridge Capital Management, managed by Glenn Russell Dubin, assembled the largest position in First Solar, Inc. (NASDAQ:FSLR). Highbridge Capital Management had $20.8 million invested in the company at the end of the quarter. John Segrich and Michael Molnar’s Lorem Ipsum Management also initiated a $15 million position during the quarter. The following funds were also among the new FSLR investors: Chao Ku’s Nine Chapters Capital Management, Wilfred Meckel’s Marque Millennium Capital, and George Hall’s Clinton Group.

Let’s go over hedge fund activity in other stocks – not necessarily in the same industry as First Solar, Inc. (NASDAQ:FSLR) but similarly valued. We will take a look at Brocade Communications Systems, Inc. (NASDAQ:BRCD), VCA Inc (NASDAQ:WOOF), Investors Bancorp, Inc. (NASDAQ:ISBC), and King Digital Entertainment PLC (NYSE:KING). All of these stocks’ market caps are similar to First Solar, Inc. (NASDAQ:FSLR)’s market cap.

Ticker No of HFs with positions Total Value of HF Positions (x1000) Change in HF Position
BRCD 30 601336 -1
WOOF 38 839129 8
ISBC 26 689935 -8
KING 18 303994 -6

As you can see, these stocks had an average of 28 hedge funds with bullish positions and the average amount invested in these stocks was $609 million. By comparison, hedge funds from our database held $351 million worth of First Solar’s stock at the end of September, below average and the number of funds with long positions is also not the highest in this group. On the other hand, the stock witnessed an increase in popularity in the third quarter. Nevertheless, VCA Inc (NASDAQ:WOOF) is topping FSLR on all of these metrics, which might suggest that it is a better alternative to invest in at the moment.

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