It seems that the masses and most of the financial media hate hedge funds and what they do, but why is this hatred of hedge funds so prominent? At the end of the day, these asset management firms do not gamble the hard-earned money of the people who are on the edge of poverty. Truth be told, most hedge fund managers and other smaller players within this industry are very smart and skilled investors. Of course, they may also make wrong bets in some instances, but no one knows what the future holds and how market participants will react to the bountiful news that floods in each day. The Standard and Poor’s 500 Total Return Index ETFs returned approximately 31% in 2019 (through December 23rd). Conversely, hedge funds’ top 20 large-cap stock picks generated a return of 41.1% during the same period, with the majority of these stock picks outperforming the broader market benchmark. Coincidence? It might happen to be so, but it is unlikely. Our research covering the last 18 years indicates that hedge funds’ consensus stock picks generate superior risk-adjusted returns. 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 HD Supply Holdings Inc (NASDAQ:HDS).
Is HD Supply Holdings Inc (NASDAQ:HDS) the right pick for your portfolio? Investors who are in the know are turning bullish. The number of long hedge fund bets advanced by 3 in recent months. Our calculations also showed that HDS isn’t among the 30 most popular stocks among hedge funds (click for Q3 rankings and see the video at the end of this article for Q2 rankings).
Hedge funds’ reputation as shrewd investors has been tarnished in the last decade as their hedged returns couldn’t keep up with the unhedged returns of the market indices. Our research has shown that hedge funds’ small-cap stock picks managed to beat the market by double digits annually between 1999 and 2016, but the margin of outperformance has been declining in recent years. Nevertheless, we were still 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 underperformed the market by 10 percentage points annually between 2006 and 2017. Interestingly the margin of underperformance of these stocks has been increasing in recent years. Investors who are long the market and short these stocks would have returned more than 27% annually between 2015 and 2017. We have been tracking and sharing the list of these stocks since February 2017 in our quarterly newsletter.
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. Keeping this in mind we’re going to view the fresh hedge fund action regarding HD Supply Holdings Inc (NASDAQ:HDS).
What does smart money think about HD Supply Holdings Inc (NASDAQ:HDS)?
Heading into the fourth quarter of 2019, a total of 33 of the hedge funds tracked by Insider Monkey were bullish on this stock, a change of 10% from the previous quarter. Below, you can check out the change in hedge fund sentiment towards HDS over the last 17 quarters. So, let’s review which hedge funds were among the top holders of the stock and which hedge funds were making big moves.
Among these funds, Iridian Asset Management held the most valuable stake in HD Supply Holdings Inc (NASDAQ:HDS), which was worth $232.5 million at the end of the third quarter. On the second spot was Sculptor Capital which amassed $159.8 million worth of shares. D E Shaw, JANA Partners, and AQR Capital Management were also very fond of the stock, becoming one of the largest hedge fund holders of the company. In terms of the portfolio weights assigned to each position Marathon Partners allocated the biggest weight to HD Supply Holdings Inc (NASDAQ:HDS), around 16.84% of its 13F portfolio. Marlowe Partners is also relatively very bullish on the stock, setting aside 13.9 percent of its 13F equity portfolio to HDS.
Now, specific money managers have been driving this bullishness. Third Point, managed by Dan Loeb, created the most valuable position in HD Supply Holdings Inc (NASDAQ:HDS). Third Point had $39.2 million invested in the company at the end of the quarter. Paul Marshall and Ian Wace’s Marshall Wace also initiated a $29.8 million position during the quarter. The following funds were also among the new HDS investors: David Steinberg and Eric Udoff’s Marlowe Partners, Mario Cibelli’s Marathon Partners, and Sander Gerber’s Hudson Bay Capital Management.
Let’s go over hedge fund activity in other stocks – not necessarily in the same industry as HD Supply Holdings Inc (NASDAQ:HDS) but similarly valued. We will take a look at Charles River Laboratories International Inc. (NYSE:CRL), East West Bancorp, Inc. (NASDAQ:EWBC), Watsco Inc (NYSE:WSO), and HubSpot Inc (NYSE:HUBS). This group of stocks’ market valuations resemble HDS’s market valuation.
|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 27.75 hedge funds with bullish positions and the average amount invested in these stocks was $565 million. That figure was $965 million in HDS’s case. HubSpot Inc (NYSE:HUBS) is the most popular stock in this table. On the other hand Watsco Inc (NYSE:WSO) is the least popular one with only 18 bullish hedge fund positions. HD Supply Holdings Inc (NASDAQ:HDS) is not the most popular stock in this group but hedge fund interest is still above average. This is a slightly positive signal but 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 41.1% in 2019 through December 23rd and outperformed the S&P 500 ETF (SPY) by 10.1 percentage points. Unfortunately HDS wasn’t nearly as popular as these 20 stocks and hedge funds that were betting on HDS were disappointed as the stock returned 7.1% in 2019 (through December 23rd) 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 many of these stocks already outperformed the market so far this year.
Video: Click the image to watch our video about the top 5 most popular hedge fund stocks.
Disclosure: None. This article was originally published at Insider Monkey.