Do Hedge Funds and Insiders Love The E.W. Scripps Company (SSP)?

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Is The E.W. Scripps Company (NYSE:SSP) an exceptional investment now? The smart money is reducing their bets on the stock. The number of long hedge fund bets were trimmed by 1 lately.

To most investors, hedge funds are perceived as slow, outdated investment tools of yesteryear. While there are more than 8000 funds with their doors open today, we at Insider Monkey look at the top tier of this group, around 450 funds. Most estimates calculate that this group controls the lion’s share of the smart money’s total asset base, and by keeping an eye on their best investments, we have identified a few investment strategies that have historically outperformed Mr. Market. Our small-cap hedge fund strategy outperformed the S&P 500 index by 18 percentage points annually 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 outclassed the S&P 500 index by 24 percentage points in 7 months (check out a sample of our picks).

Mario Gabelli

Just as key, bullish insider trading activity is another way to break down the marketplace. Obviously, there are plenty of stimuli for an upper level exec to get rid of shares of his or her company, but only one, very obvious reason why they would buy. Plenty of empirical studies have demonstrated the useful potential of this method if piggybackers understand what to do (learn more here).

With all of this in mind, let’s take a glance at the key action surrounding The E.W. Scripps Company (NYSE:SSP).

What does the smart money think about The E.W. Scripps Company (NYSE:SSP)?

Heading into 2013, a total of 15 of the hedge funds we track were bullish in this stock, a change of -6% from the third quarter. With hedgies’ positions undergoing their usual ebb and flow, there exists an “upper tier” of noteworthy hedge fund managers who were boosting their stakes meaningfully.

Of the funds we track, Andrew Feldstein and Stephen Siderow’s Blue Mountain Capital had the largest position in The E.W. Scripps Company (NYSE:SSP), worth close to $41.8 million, accounting for 2.9% of its total 13F portfolio. The second largest stake is held by Jeffrey Gates of Gates Capital Management, with a $29.7 million position; 1.9% of its 13F portfolio is allocated to the company. Other hedgies that hold long positions include Mario Gabelli’s GAMCO Investors, Abby Flamholz and Yehuda Blinder’s ADAR Investment Management and Ken Griffin’s Citadel Investment Group.

Judging by the fact that The E.W. Scripps Company (NYSE:SSP) has faced bearish sentiment from hedge fund managers, logic holds that there exists a select few fund managers that decided to sell off their positions entirely at the end of the year. It’s worth mentioning that Steven Cohen’s SAC Capital Advisors cut the largest stake of the 450+ funds we track, comprising close to $0.2 million in stock.. Ben Levine, Andrew Manuel and Stefan Renold’s fund, LMR Partners, also cut its stock, about $0.1 million worth. These moves are intriguing to say the least, as aggregate hedge fund interest was cut by 1 funds at the end of the year.

How have insiders been trading The E.W. Scripps Company (NYSE:SSP)?

Insider buying is at its handiest when the company in question has seen transactions within the past half-year. Over the latest six-month time frame, The E.W. Scripps Company (NYSE:SSP) has seen zero unique insiders purchasing, and 8 insider sales (see the details of insider trades here).

Let’s check out hedge fund and insider activity in other stocks similar to The E.W. Scripps Company (NYSE:SSP). These stocks are Media General, Inc. (NYSE:MEG), The McClatchy Company (NYSE:MNI), The New York Times Company (NYSE:NYT), and Journal Communications, Inc. (NYSE:JRN). This group of stocks belong to the publishing – newspapers industry and their market caps resemble SSP’s market cap.

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