Axis Capital Holdings Limited (AXS): Insiders Aren’t Crazy About It

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Axis Capital Holdings Limited (NYSE:AXS) was in 21 hedge funds’ portfolio at the end of March. AXS investors should be aware of an increase in activity from the world’s largest hedge funds of late. There were 20 hedge funds in our database with AXS holdings at the end of the previous quarter.

If you’d ask most shareholders, hedge funds are viewed as underperforming, outdated investment tools of yesteryear. While there are over 8000 funds with their doors open at the moment, we choose to focus on the leaders of this group, close to 450 funds. Most estimates calculate that this group controls most of all hedge funds’ total capital, and by keeping an eye on their highest performing investments, we have figured out a few investment strategies that have historically outstripped Mr. Market. Our small-cap hedge fund strategy outpaced the S&P 500 index by 18 percentage points a year for a decade in our back tests, and since we’ve began to sharing our picks with our subscribers at the end of August 2012, we have beaten the S&P 500 index by 23.3 percentage points in 8 months (see all of our picks from August).

Equally as beneficial, positive insider trading sentiment is a second way to break down the marketplace. There are lots of motivations for an insider to drop shares of his or her company, but only one, very obvious reason why they would behave bullishly. Plenty of empirical studies have demonstrated the valuable potential of this strategy if investors know what to do (learn more here).

Consequently, we’re going to take a peek at the recent action surrounding Axis Capital Holdings Limited (NYSE:AXS).

How have hedgies been trading Axis Capital Holdings Limited (NYSE:AXS)?

At Q1’s end, a total of 21 of the hedge funds we track were bullish in this stock, a change of 5% from one quarter earlier. With hedge funds’ positions undergoing their usual ebb and flow, there exists an “upper tier” of key hedge fund managers who were upping their holdings significantly.

Of the funds we track, Richard S. Pzena’s Pzena Investment Management had the largest position in Axis Capital Holdings Limited (NYSE:AXS), worth close to $254.8 million, accounting for 1.8% of its total 13F portfolio. The second largest stake is held by Citadel Investment Group, managed by Ken Griffin, which held a $121.4 million position; the fund has 0.2% of its 13F portfolio invested in the stock. Some other hedge funds that hold long positions include Cliff Asness’s AQR Capital Management, Michael Messner’s Seminole Capital and Ken Gray and Steve Walsh’s Bryn Mawr Capital.

Now, key money managers have jumped into Axis Capital Holdings Limited (NYSE:AXS) headfirst. AQR Capital Management, managed by Cliff Asness, assembled the most valuable position in Axis Capital Holdings Limited (NYSE:AXS). AQR Capital Management had 52.9 million invested in the company at the end of the quarter. Jim Simons’s Renaissance Technologies also made a $8.1 million investment in the stock during the quarter. The other funds with brand new AXS positions are Paul Tudor Jones’s Tudor Investment Corp and Gregory Fraser, Rudolph Kluiber, and Timothy Krochuk’s GRT Capital Partners.

How are insiders trading Axis Capital Holdings Limited (NYSE:AXS)?

Insider trading activity, especially when it’s bullish, is at its handiest when the company in focus has seen transactions within the past 180 days. Over the last 180-day time frame, Axis Capital Holdings Limited (NYSE:AXS) has experienced zero unique insiders buying, and 5 insider sales (see the details of insider trades here).

Let’s also review hedge fund and insider activity in other stocks similar to Axis Capital Holdings Limited (NYSE:AXS). These stocks are American Financial Group (NYSE:AFG), HCC Insurance Holdings, Inc. (NYSE:HCC), W.R. Berkley Corporation (NYSE:WRB), Partnerre Ltd (NYSE:PRE), and Markel Corporation (NYSE:MKL). This group of stocks are the members of the property & casualty insurance industry and their market caps are closest to AXS’s market cap.

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