Whole Foods Market, Inc. (NASDAQ:WFM) was in 32 hedge funds’ portfolio at the end of December. WFM shareholders have witnessed an increase in hedge fund sentiment in recent months. There were 30 hedge funds in our database with WFM holdings at the end of the previous quarter.
To the average investor, there are dozens of metrics market participants can use to watch Mr. Market. A duo of the most useful are hedge fund and insider trading interest. At Insider Monkey, our studies have shown that, historically, those who follow the best picks of the elite money managers can outperform the broader indices by a very impressive margin (see just how much).
Equally as integral, positive insider trading activity is another way to break down the investments you’re interested in. As the old adage goes: there are plenty of stimuli for an insider to downsize shares of his or her company, but just one, very obvious reason why they would behave bullishly. Plenty of empirical studies have demonstrated the market-beating potential of this method if piggybackers understand where to look (learn more here).
Now, it’s important to take a peek at the recent action surrounding Whole Foods Market, Inc. (NASDAQ:WFM).
What does the smart money think about Whole Foods Market, Inc. (NASDAQ:WFM)?
Heading into 2013, a total of 32 of the hedge funds we track were bullish in this stock, a change of 7% from the previous quarter. With hedgies’ capital changing hands, there exists a select group of notable hedge fund managers who were upping their stakes substantially.
When looking at the hedgies we track, Jim Simons’s Renaissance Technologies had the most valuable position in Whole Foods Market, Inc. (NASDAQ:WFM), worth close to $191.5 million, comprising 0.6% of its total 13F portfolio. Coming in second is Columbus Circle Investors, managed by Donald Chiboucis, which held a $124.4 million position; the fund has 1% of its 13F portfolio invested in the stock. Remaining hedgies with similar optimism include Lee Ainslie’s Maverick Capital, James Crichton and Adam Weiss’s Scout Capital Management and Steven Cohen’s SAC Capital Advisors.
With a general bullishness amongst the heavyweights, specific money managers have jumped into Whole Foods Market, Inc. (NASDAQ:WFM) headfirst. Maverick Capital, managed by Lee Ainslie, created the biggest position in Whole Foods Market, Inc. (NASDAQ:WFM). Maverick Capital had 52.3 million invested in the company at the end of the quarter. James Crichton and Adam Weiss’s Scout Capital Management also made a $50.2 million investment in the stock during the quarter. The following funds were also among the new WFM investors: John Lykouretzos’s Hoplite Capital Management, Sean Cullinan’s Point State Capital, and Paul Tudor Jones’s Tudor Investment Corp.
How have insiders been trading Whole Foods Market, Inc. (NASDAQ:WFM)?
Insider trading activity, especially when it’s bullish, is best served when the primary stock in question has seen transactions within the past 180 days. Over the last half-year time frame, Whole Foods Market, Inc. (NASDAQ:WFM) has experienced 1 unique insiders purchasing, and 14 insider sales (see the details of insider trades here).
Let’s check out hedge fund and insider activity in other stocks similar to Whole Foods Market, Inc. (NASDAQ:WFM). These stocks are Casey’s General Stores, Inc. (NASDAQ:CASY), Delhaize Group (ADR) (NYSE:DEG), Safeway Inc. (NYSE:SWY), Companhia Brasileira de Distrib. (ADR) (NYSE:CBD), and The Kroger Co. (NYSE:KR). This group of stocks are the members of the grocery stores industry and their market caps are similar to WFM’s market cap.