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Why Ford, U.S. Bancorp, and Other Stocks Are on Investors’ Radars Today

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After falling sharply over the past few trading sessions, crude futures are now in the green as traders position themselves for the upcoming informal OPEC/Russia meeting later this month. Although expectations are low and many believe Iran’s refusal to limit production will again throw a wrench into any positive statement coming out of the meeting, some investors think oil prices will rise in the medium term given the upcoming Saudi Aramco IPO next year.

Among the stocks traders are talking about in addition to crude on Thursday are Ford Motor Company (NYSE:F), U.S. Bancorp (NYSE:USB), Immune Design Corp (NASDAQ:IMDZ), PNC Financial Services Group Inc (NYSE:PNC), and ENSCO PLC (NYSE:ESV). Let’s find out why the five stocks are in the spotlight and see how the funds from our database are positioned towards them.

We believe that imitating hedge funds and other large institutional investors can be helpful in identifying stocks capable of outperforming the broader market. Through extensive research that covered portfolios of several hundred large investors between 1999 and 2012, we determined that following the small-cap stocks that large money managers are collectively bullish on, can generate monthly returns nearly 1.0 percentage points above the market (see the details here).

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Ford Motor Company (NYSE:F) is in the spotlight after Presidential candidate Donald Trump criticized the company for its intention to move all of its U.S. small car production (which currently isn’t profitable) to Mexico. Ford management is doing so to cut costs and estimates the move will take around two to three years. Trump said the following:

“We shouldn’t allow it to happen. They’ll make their cars, they’ll employ thousands and thousands of people not from this country and they’ll sell the cars right through our border. No tax, no nothing, and we’ll have nothing but more unemployment in Flint and in Michigan.”

If Trump becomes President, he has said before that he might impose additional taxes on companies that do similar things that hurt the American workers. Of the around 750 funds that we track, 31 had a bullish position in Ford Motor Company (NYSE:F) at the end of June.

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Traders are talking about U.S. Bancorp (NYSE:USB) after the bank set long-term financial targets of around 6%-8% for revenue growth, 6%-8% for net income growth, and a rather disappointing return on asset ratio of 1.35%-1.65% (the company targeted 1.6%-1.9% before). In addition, the management also expects to target a return on equity of 13.5%-16.5% in the long run, down from the prior 16%-19%. Traders are a little disheartened at the guidance, and shares of U.S. Bancorp are down around 0.75%. Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway owned over 85 million shares in U.S. Bancorp (NYSE:USB) at the end of the second quarter.

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On the next page, we take a closer look at Immune Design Corp, PNC Financial Services Group, and ENSCO PLC.

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