Do Hedge Funds and Insiders Love Ascent Capital Group Inc (ASCMA)? – The Geo Group, Inc. (GEO), American Science & Engineering, Inc. (ASEI)

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Is Ascent Capital Group Inc (NASDAQ:ASCMA) a bargain? The best stock pickers are taking an optimistic view. The number of bullish hedge fund positions advanced by 2 lately.

Ascent Capital Group Inc (NASDAQ:ASCMA)

In the eyes of most shareholders, hedge funds are seen as underperforming, outdated investment vehicles of the past. While there are over 8000 funds trading today, we look at the elite of this club, close to 450 funds. It is estimated that this group has its hands on most of all hedge funds’ total asset base, and by monitoring their top investments, we have identified a number of investment strategies that have historically outstripped the S&P 500 index. Our small-cap hedge fund strategy outpaced the S&P 500 index by 18 percentage points per year for a decade in our back tests, and since we’ve started sharing our picks with our subscribers at the end of August 2012, we have topped the S&P 500 index by 24 percentage points in 7 months (explore the details and some picks here).

Just as key, positive insider trading activity is a second way to break down the world of equities. Obviously, there are many motivations for an executive to cut shares of his or her company, but only one, very obvious reason why they would behave bullishly. Many empirical studies have demonstrated the impressive potential of this tactic if you understand where to look (learn more here).

With these “truths” under our belt, let’s take a look at the recent action encompassing Ascent Capital Group Inc (NASDAQ:ASCMA).

Hedge fund activity in Ascent Capital Group Inc (NASDAQ:ASCMA)

Heading into 2013, a total of 17 of the hedge funds we track held long positions in this stock, a change of 13% from the previous quarter. With hedgies’ capital changing hands, there exists an “upper tier” of notable hedge fund managers who were boosting their holdings substantially.

According to our comprehensive database, Mario Gabelli’s GAMCO Investors had the biggest position in Ascent Capital Group Inc (NASDAQ:ASCMA), worth close to $71.2 million, accounting for 0.5% of its total 13F portfolio. Coming in second is Jonathan Auerbach of Hound Partners, with a $47.5 million position; the fund has 3.7% of its 13F portfolio invested in the stock. Some other hedge funds with similar optimism include Scott McLellan’s Marble Arch Investments, Manish Chopra’s Tiger Veda and “Richard S. Meisenberg’s ACK Asset Management.

Now, key money managers were breaking ground themselves. Millennium Management, managed by Israel Englander, established the biggest position in Ascent Capital Group Inc (NASDAQ:ASCMA). Millennium Management had 2.1 million invested in the company at the end of the quarter. Peter Rathjens, Bruce Clarke and John Campbell’s Arrowstreet Capital also initiated a $0.5 million position during the quarter. The only other fund with a brand new ASCMA position is Mike Vranos’s Ellington.

How have insiders been trading Ascent Capital Group Inc (NASDAQ:ASCMA)?

Bullish insider trading is at its handiest when the primary stock in question has experienced transactions within the past six months. Over the last 180-day time frame, Ascent Capital Group Inc (NASDAQ:ASCMA) has seen 1 unique insiders buying, and 1 insider sales (see the details of insider trades here).

Let’s go over hedge fund and insider activity in other stocks similar to Ascent Capital Group Inc (NASDAQ:ASCMA). These stocks are Kratos Defense & Security Solutions, Inc (NASDAQ:KTOS), The Geo Group, Inc. (NYSE:GEO), American Science & Engineering, Inc. (NASDAQ:ASEI), Checkpoint Systems, Inc. (NYSE:CKP), and Brink’S Co (NYSE:BCO). All of these stocks are in the security & protection services industry and their market caps are closest to ASCMA’s market cap.

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