Hedge Funds Are Betting On Assurant, Inc. (AIZ)

Hedge Funds and other institutional investors have just completed filing their 13Fs with the Securities and Exchange Commission, revealing their equity portfolios as of the end of September. At Insider Monkey, we follow over 700 of the best-performing investors and by analyzing their 13F filings, we can determine the stocks that they are collectively bullish on. One of their picks is Assurant, Inc. (NYSE:AIZ), so let’s take a closer look at the sentiment that surrounds it in the current quarter.

Assurant, Inc. investors should be aware of an increase in activity from the world’s largest hedge funds recently. AIZ was in 20 hedge funds’ portfolios at the end of September. There were 17 hedge funds in our database with AIZ holdings at the end of the previous quarter. 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 Calpine Corporation (NYSE:CPN), Relx PLC (ADR) (NYSE:RELX), and Keysight Technologies Inc (NYSE:KEYS) to gather more data points.

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With all of this in mind, let’s take a glance at the new action encompassing Assurant, Inc. (NYSE:AIZ).

How have hedgies been trading Assurant, Inc. (NYSE:AIZ)?

At the end of the third quarter, a total of 20 of the hedge funds tracked by Insider Monkey were long this stock, a change of 18% from one quarter earlier. With hedgies’ capital changing hands, there exists a select group of notable hedge fund managers who were increasing their stakes significantly (or already accumulated large positions).

According to publicly available hedge fund and institutional investor holdings data compiled by Insider Monkey, AQR Capital Management, managed by Cliff Asness, holds the number one position in Assurant, Inc. (NYSE:AIZ). AQR Capital Management has a $200.2 million position in the stock, comprising 0.4% of its 13F portfolio. The second most bullish fund manager is Citadel Investment Group, managed by Ken Griffin, which holds a $142.6 million position; the fund has 0.1% of its 13F portfolio invested in the stock. Some other professional money managers that are bullish include Richard S. Pzena’s Pzena Investment Management, Peter Rathjens, Bruce Clarke and John Campbell’s Arrowstreet Capital, and Malcolm Fairbairn’s Ascend Capital.

With a general bullishness amongst the heavyweights, key hedge funds have been driving this bullishness. Arrowstreet Capital initiated the largest position in Assurant, Inc. (NYSE:AIZ). Arrowstreet Capital had $15.1 million invested in the company at the end of the quarter. Ascend Capital also initiated a $10.4 million position during the quarter. The other funds with brand new AIZ positions are Lawrence Sapanski’s Scoria Capital, Ben Levine, Andrew Manuel and Stefan Renold’s LMR Partners, and Lee Ainslie’s Maverick Capital.

Let’s also examine hedge fund activity in other stocks similar to Assurant, Inc. (NYSE:AIZ). We will take a look at Calpine Corporation (NYSE:CPN), Relx PLC (ADR) (NYSE:RELX), Keysight Technologies Inc (NYSE:KEYS), and Arrow Electronics, Inc. (NYSE:ARW). This group of stocks’ market values match AIZ’s market value.

Ticker No of HFs with positions Total Value of HF Positions (x1000) Change in HF Position
CPN 38 983254 -2
RELX 5 2907 4
KEYS 21 179301 3
ARW 27 317004 5

As you can see these stocks had an average of 23 hedge funds with bullish positions and the average amount invested in these stocks was $371 million, compared to $433 million in AIZ’s case. Calpine Corporation (NYSE:CPN) is the most popular stock in this table, while Relx PLC (ADR) (NYSE:RELX) is the least popular one with only 5 bullish hedge fund positions. Assurant, Inc. (NYSE:AIZ) 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. In this regard CPN might be a better candidate to consider a long position.