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AXA Equitable Holdings (EQH): After Hitting All Time High, Hedge Fund Sentiment Drops

At Insider Monkey, we pore over the filings of nearly 750 top investment firms every quarter, a process we have now completed for the latest reporting period. The data we’ve gathered as a result gives us access to a wealth of collective knowledge based on these firms’ portfolio holdings as of June 28. In this article, we will use that wealth of knowledge to determine whether or not AXA Equitable Holdings, Inc. (NYSE:EQH) makes for a good investment right now.

Is AXA Equitable Holdings, Inc. (NYSE:EQH) a buy right now? The best stock pickers are getting less bullish. The number of bullish hedge fund positions retreated by 3 recently. Our calculations also showed that EQH isn’t among the 30 most popular stocks among hedge funds (see the video below). EQH was in 32 hedge funds’ portfolios at the end of June. There were 35 hedge funds in our database with EQH positions at the end of the previous quarter.
5 Most Popular Stocks Among Hedge Funds
Video: Click the image to watch our video about the top 5 most popular hedge fund stocks.

Today there are a multitude of metrics stock market investors have at their disposal to evaluate publicly traded companies. Some of the most innovative metrics are hedge fund and insider trading signals. Our researchers have shown that, historically, those who follow the top picks of the best hedge fund managers can outperform the S&P 500 by a superb amount (see the details here).

YORK CAPITAL MANAGEMENT

Unlike this former hedge fund manager who is convinced Dow will soar past 40000, our long-short investment strategy doesn’t rely on bull markets to deliver double digit returns. We only rely on hedge fund buy/sell signals. We’re going to review the new hedge fund action encompassing AXA Equitable Holdings, Inc. (NYSE:EQH).

How are hedge funds trading AXA Equitable Holdings, Inc. (NYSE:EQH)?

Heading into the third quarter of 2019, a total of 32 of the hedge funds tracked by Insider Monkey were long this stock, a change of -9% from one quarter earlier. By comparison, 19 hedge funds held shares or bullish call options in EQH a year ago. With hedgies’ capital changing hands, there exists a few noteworthy hedge fund managers who were boosting their stakes meaningfully (or already accumulated large positions).

EQH_oct2019

When looking at the institutional investors followed by Insider Monkey, Pzena Investment Management, managed by Richard S. Pzena, holds the most valuable position in AXA Equitable Holdings, Inc. (NYSE:EQH). Pzena Investment Management has a $361.3 million position in the stock, comprising 1.9% of its 13F portfolio. Coming in second is Viking Global, led by Andreas Halvorsen, holding a $184.8 million position; the fund has 0.8% of its 13F portfolio invested in the stock. Some other hedge funds and institutional investors that are bullish encompass John Petry’s Sessa Capital, Anand Parekh’s Alyeska Investment Group and Ken Griffin’s Citadel Investment Group.

Due to the fact that AXA Equitable Holdings, Inc. (NYSE:EQH) has experienced a decline in interest from the smart money, we can see that there is a sect of hedgies who sold off their positions entirely by the end of the second quarter. Interestingly, Michael A. Price and Amos Meron’s Empyrean Capital Partners dumped the biggest stake of the 750 funds monitored by Insider Monkey, totaling about $48.1 million in stock. Usman Waheed’s fund, Strycker View Capital, also dropped its stock, about $21.3 million worth. These bearish behaviors are intriguing to say the least, as total hedge fund interest was cut by 3 funds by the end of the second quarter.

Let’s go over hedge fund activity in other stocks – not necessarily in the same industry as AXA Equitable Holdings, Inc. (NYSE:EQH) but similarly valued. These stocks are Dropbox, Inc. (NASDAQ:DBX), AEGON N.V. (NYSE:AEG), Henry Schein, Inc. (NASDAQ:HSIC), and Autohome Inc (NYSE:ATHM). This group of stocks’ market values resemble EQH’s market value.

Ticker No of HFs with positions Total Value of HF Positions (x1000) Change in HF Position
DBX 43 918956 10
AEG 9 36666 -1
HSIC 24 1557796 2
ATHM 16 1113833 0
Average 23 906813 2.75

View table here if you experience formatting issues.

As you can see these stocks had an average of 23 hedge funds with bullish positions and the average amount invested in these stocks was $907 million. That figure was $1113 million in EQH’s case. Dropbox, Inc. (NASDAQ:DBX) is the most popular stock in this table. On the other hand AEGON N.V. (NYSE:AEG) is the least popular one with only 9 bullish hedge fund positions. AXA Equitable Holdings, Inc. (NYSE:EQH) is not the most popular stock in this group but hedge fund interest is still above average. Our calculations showed that top 20 most popular stocks among hedge funds returned 24.4% in 2019 through September 30th and outperformed the S&P 500 ETF (SPY) by 4 percentage points. Hedge funds were also right about betting on EQH as the stock returned 6.8% during the third quarter and outperformed the market. Hedge funds were rewarded for their relative bullishness.

Disclosure: None. This article was originally published at Insider Monkey.

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