Hedge Funds Are Betting On United Continental Holdings Inc (NYSE:UAL)

United Continental Holdings Inc (NYSE:UAL) was in 34 hedge funds’ portfolio at the end of December. UAL has seen an increase in hedge fund interest lately. There were 31 hedge funds in our database with UAL positions at the end of the previous quarter.

United Continental Holdings Inc (NYSE:UAL)

In the financial world, there are dozens of metrics market participants can use to watch their holdings. A pair of the most underrated are hedge fund and insider trading interest. At Insider Monkey, our studies have shown that, historically, those who follow the best picks of the elite money managers can trounce the broader indices by a very impressive margin (see just how much).

Just as beneficial, optimistic insider trading activity is another way to parse down the investments you’re interested in. As the old adage goes: there are many stimuli for an insider to drop shares of his or her company, but only one, very simple reason why they would initiate a purchase. Many empirical studies have demonstrated the useful potential of this tactic if shareholders understand where to look (learn more here).

Keeping this in mind, let’s take a peek at the key action regarding United Continental Holdings Inc (NYSE:UAL).

What does the smart money think about United Continental Holdings Inc (NYSE:UAL)?

Heading into 2013, a total of 34 of the hedge funds we track held long positions in this stock, a change of 10% from the third quarter. With the smart money’s positions undergoing their usual ebb and flow, there exists a few notable hedge fund managers who were upping their stakes meaningfully.

Of the funds we track, GMT Capital, managed by Thomas E. Claugus, holds the most valuable position in United Continental Holdings Inc (NYSE:UAL). GMT Capital has a $245 million billion position in the stock, comprising 6% of its 13F portfolio. On GMT Capital’s heels is Appaloosa Management LP, managed by David Tepper, which held a $213 million position; 2% of its 13F portfolio is allocated to the stock. Remaining hedgies that hold long positions include Bill Miller’s Legg Mason Capital Management, John Griffin’s Blue Ridge Capital and Ken Heebner’s Capital Growth Management.

With a general bullishness amongst the heavyweights, key hedge funds were breaking ground themselves. Capital Growth Management, managed by Ken Heebner, assembled the biggest position in United Continental Holdings Inc (NYSE:UAL). Capital Growth Management had 78 million invested in the company at the end of the quarter. Bruce J. Richards and Louis Hanover’s Marathon Asset Management also initiated a $35 million position during the quarter. The following funds were also among the new UAL investors: , , and Kenneth Mario Garschina’s Mason Capital Management.

How have insiders been trading United Continental Holdings Inc (NYSE:UAL)?

Insider trading activity, especially when it’s bullish, is best served when the primary stock in question has seen transactions within the past half-year. Over the latest six-month time period, United Continental Holdings Inc (NYSE:UAL) has seen zero unique insiders buying, and 3 insider sales (see the details of insider trades here).

With the returns demonstrated by the aforementioned time-tested strategies, retail investors must always monitor hedge fund and insider trading sentiment, and United Continental Holdings Inc (NYSE:UAL) shareholders fit into this picture quite nicely.

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