#3 MKS Instruments, Inc. (NASDAQ:MKSI)
– Shares Owned by Royce & Associates (as of September 30): 6.37 Million
– Value of Holding (as of September 30): $213.65 Million
Royce & Associates reduced its stake in MKS Instruments, Inc. (NASDAQ:MKSI) by 6% during the third quarter, pushing it down a spot to being the fund’s third-largest equity holding on September 30. Nevertheless, the ownership of the company among hedge funds we track saw a slight increase during the same period, rising to 23 from 22. For much of 2015, shares of MKS Instruments, Inc. (NASDAQ:MKSI) have traded in the $32-to-$38 range and currently trade flat for the year. On October 23, analysts at Dougherty & Co reiterated their ‘Buy’ rating on the stock, while lowering their price target on it to $42 from $44. After Royce & Associates, Spencer M. Waxman‘s Shannon River Fund Management was the second-largest shareholder of MKS Instruments, Inc. (NASDAQ:MKSI) on September 30, among the funds we track.
#2 Buckle Inc (NYSE:BKE)
– Shares Owned by Royce & Associates (as of September 30): 6.16 Million
– Value of Holding (as of September 30): $227.78 Million
Moving on, the stock of Buckle Inc (NYSE:BKE) has been on a constant downward path since the start of the year and currently trades down by 40% year-to-date. However, this underperformance has actually made the company more attractive for hedge funds, which can be gauged from the fact that 16 firms in our database held shares of the company on September 30, up from 13 at the end of June. Buckle Inc (NYSE:BKE) was Royce & Associates’ favorite stock pick at the end of the second quarter, but the decline in the stock coupled with the fund selling 7% of its position during the third quarter caused it to lose that spot. On November 19, the company reported its third quarter earnings, declaring EPS of $0.74 on revenue of $280.20 million, missing analyst expectations of EPS of $0.78 on revenue of $288.61 million. Joel Greenblatt‘s Gotham Asset Management reduced its stake in the company by 59% to 207,707 shares during the third quarter.
#1 UniFirst Corp (NYSE:UNF)
– Shares Owned by Royce & Associates (as of September 30): 2.17 Million
– Value of Holding (as of September 30): $232.17 Million
Finally, during the third quarter the stock of UniFirst Corp (NYSE:UNF) declined by 4.4%, while Royce & Associates sold 44,340 shares of the company. Nonetheless, UniFirst Corp jumped to the top spot in Royce & Associates’ equity portfolio by the end of September, from previously ranking third. Shares of UniFirst Corp (NYSE:UNF) have undergone a slow and gradual decline since April and currently trade down by more than 10% year-to-date. For the fourth quarter of fiscal year 2015, the work wear manufacturer reported EPS of $1.43 on revenue of $359.20 million. Analysts had expected the company to report EPS of $1.30 on revenue of $359.94 million. Of the 18 investment firms tracked by Insider Monkey that disclosed ownership of UniFirst Corp shares as of the end of September, Clint Carlson‘s Carlson Capital was another one that trimmed its stake in the stock during the July-to-September period; it held 67,900 shares of the company on September 30.