We are still in an overall bull market and many stocks that smart money investors were piling into surged through the end of November. Among them, Facebook and Microsoft ranked among the top 3 picks and these stocks gained 54% and 51% respectively. Hedge funds’ top 3 stock picks returned 41.7% this year and beat the S&P 500 ETFs by 14 percentage points. Investing in index funds guarantees you average returns, not superior returns. We are looking to generate superior returns for our readers. That’s why we believe it isn’t a waste of time to check out hedge fund sentiment before you invest in a stock like Suburban Propane Partners LP (NYSE:SPH).
Hedge fund interest in Suburban Propane Partners LP (NYSE:SPH) shares was flat at the end of last quarter. This is usually a negative indicator. The level and the change in hedge fund popularity aren’t the only variables you need to analyze to decipher hedge funds’ perspectives. A stock may witness a boost in popularity but it may still be less popular than similarly priced stocks. That’s why at the end of this article we will examine companies such as Inspire Medical Systems, Inc. (NYSE:INSP), Rambus Inc. (NASDAQ:RMBS), and Tri-Continental Corporation (NYSE:TY) to gather more data points. Our calculations also showed that SPH isn’t among the 30 most popular stocks among hedge funds (click for Q3 rankings and see the video below for Q2 rankings).
Video: Click the image to watch our video about the top 5 most popular hedge fund stocks.
Why do we pay any attention at all to hedge fund sentiment? Our research has shown that hedge funds’ large-cap stock picks indeed failed to beat the market between 1999 and 2016. However, we were able to identify in advance a select group of hedge fund holdings that outperformed the Russell 2000 ETFs by 40 percentage points since May 2014 (see the details here). We were also able to identify in advance a select group of hedge fund holdings that’ll significantly underperform the market. We have been tracking and sharing the list of these stocks since February 2017 and they lost 27.8% through November 21, 2019. That’s why we believe hedge fund sentiment is an extremely useful indicator that investors should pay attention to.
We leave no stone unturned when looking for the next great investment idea. For example Discover is offering this insane cashback card, so we look into shorting the stock. One of the most bullish analysts in America just put his money where his mouth is. He says, “I’m investing more today than I did back in early 2009.” So we check out his pitch. We read hedge fund investor letters and listen to stock pitches at hedge fund conferences. We even check out this option genius’ weekly trade ideas. This December, we recommended Adams Energy as a one-way bet based on an under-the-radar fund manager’s investor letter and the stock already gained 20 percent. With all of this in mind we’re going to view the key hedge fund action regarding Suburban Propane Partners LP (NYSE:SPH).
What have hedge funds been doing with Suburban Propane Partners LP (NYSE:SPH)?
Heading into the fourth quarter of 2019, a total of 4 of the hedge funds tracked by Insider Monkey were bullish on this stock, a change of 0% from the previous quarter. By comparison, 4 hedge funds held shares or bullish call options in SPH a year ago. With the smart money’s sentiment swirling, there exists an “upper tier” of noteworthy hedge fund managers who were increasing their holdings meaningfully (or already accumulated large positions).
Of the funds tracked by Insider Monkey, David Abrams’s Abrams Capital Management has the biggest position in Suburban Propane Partners LP (NYSE:SPH), worth close to $70.6 million, corresponding to 2% of its total 13F portfolio. The second most bullish fund manager is Arrowstreet Capital, led by Peter Rathjens, Bruce Clarke and John Campbell, holding a $11.8 million position; less than 0.1%% of its 13F portfolio is allocated to the stock. Remaining members of the smart money that hold long positions encompass James Dondero’s Highland Capital Management, and Renaissance Technologies. In terms of the portfolio weights assigned to each position Abrams Capital Management allocated the biggest weight to Suburban Propane Partners LP (NYSE:SPH), around 1.98% of its 13F portfolio. Highland Capital Management is also relatively very bullish on the stock, setting aside 0.03 percent of its 13F equity portfolio to SPH.
Earlier we told you that the aggregate hedge fund interest in the stock was unchanged and we view this as a negative development. Even though there weren’t any hedge funds dumping their holdings during the third quarter, there weren’t any hedge funds initiating brand new positions. This indicates that hedge funds, at the very best, perceive this stock as dead money and they haven’t identified any viable catalysts that can attract investor attention.
Let’s now take a look at hedge fund activity in other stocks similar to Suburban Propane Partners LP (NYSE:SPH). These stocks are Inspire Medical Systems, Inc. (NYSE:INSP), Rambus Inc. (NASDAQ:RMBS), Tri-Continental Corporation (NYSE:TY), and Rush Enterprises, Inc. (NASDAQ:RUSHB). This group of stocks’ market values resemble SPH’s market value.
|Ticker||No of HFs with positions||Total Value of HF Positions (x1000)||Change in HF Position|
View table here if you experience formatting issues.
As you can see these stocks had an average of 11 hedge funds with bullish positions and the average amount invested in these stocks was $120 million. That figure was $83 million in SPH’s case. Rambus Inc. (NASDAQ:RMBS) is the most popular stock in this table. On the other hand Tri-Continental Corporation (NYSE:TY) is the least popular one with only 1 bullish hedge fund positions. Suburban Propane Partners LP (NYSE:SPH) is not the least popular stock in this group but hedge fund interest is still below average. This is a slightly negative signal and we’d rather spend our time researching stocks that hedge funds are piling on. Our calculations showed that top 20 most popular stocks among hedge funds returned 37.4% in 2019 through the end of November and outperformed the S&P 500 ETF (SPY) by 9.9 percentage points. Unfortunately SPH wasn’t nearly as popular as these 20 stocks (hedge fund sentiment was quite bearish); SPH investors were disappointed as the stock returned -2.7% during the first two months of the fourth quarter and underperformed the market. If you are interested in investing in large cap stocks with huge upside potential, you should check out the top 20 most popular stocks among hedge funds as 70 percent of these stocks already outperformed the market in Q4.
Disclosure: None. This article was originally published at Insider Monkey.