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Hedge Funds Are Crazy About National Vision Holdings, Inc. (EYE)

We at Insider Monkey have gone over 700 13F filings that hedge funds and prominent investors are required to file by the SEC. The 13F filings show the funds’ and investors’ portfolio positions as of September 30th. In this article we look at what those investors think of National Vision Holdings, Inc. (NASDAQ:EYE).

National Vision Holdings, Inc. (NASDAQ:EYE) shareholders have witnessed an increase in hedge fund sentiment recently. EYE was in 17 hedge funds’ portfolios at the end of September. There were 11 hedge funds in our database with EYE positions at the end of the previous quarter. Our calculations also showed that eye isn’t among the 30 most popular stocks among hedge funds.

In the financial world there are a large number of tools investors have at their disposal to grade stocks. A pair of the most under-the-radar tools are hedge fund and insider trading indicators. We have shown that, historically, those who follow the top picks of the best fund managers can outperform the broader indices by a solid amount. Insider Monkey’s flagship best performing hedge funds strategy returned 6.3% year to date (through December 3rd) and outperformed the market even though it draws its stock picks among small-cap stocks. This strategy also outperformed the market by 18 percentage points since its inception (see the details here). That’s why we believe hedge fund sentiment is a useful indicator that investors should pay attention to.

Steve Cohen SAC CAPITAL ADVISORS

Let’s check out the new hedge fund action encompassing National Vision Holdings, Inc. (NASDAQ:EYE).

How have hedgies been trading National Vision Holdings, Inc. (NASDAQ:EYE)?

Heading into the fourth quarter of 2018, a total of 17 of the hedge funds tracked by Insider Monkey were bullish on this stock, a change of 55% from one quarter earlier. Below, you can check out the change in hedge fund sentiment towards EYE over the last 13 quarters. With the smart money’s positions undergoing their usual ebb and flow, there exists an “upper tier” of key hedge fund managers who were upping their stakes meaningfully (or already accumulated large positions).

No of Hedge Funds with EYE Positions

Of the funds tracked by Insider Monkey, Select Equity Group, managed by Robert Joseph Caruso, holds the biggest position in National Vision Holdings, Inc. (NASDAQ:EYE). Select Equity Group has a $185.1 million position in the stock, comprising 1.4% of its 13F portfolio. The second largest stake is held by Adage Capital Management, led by Phill Gross and Robert Atchinson, holding a $173.1 million position; the fund has 0.4% of its 13F portfolio invested in the stock. Other peers that are bullish comprise D. E. Shaw’s D E Shaw, Steve Cohen’s Point72 Asset Management and Ian Simm’s Impax Asset Management.

As aggregate interest increased, specific money managers were leading the bulls’ herd. Select Equity Group, managed by Robert Joseph Caruso, assembled the most valuable position in National Vision Holdings, Inc. (NASDAQ:EYE). Select Equity Group had $185.1 million invested in the company at the end of the quarter. Steve Cohen’s Point72 Asset Management also made a $14.5 million investment in the stock during the quarter. The following funds were also among the new EYE investors: Ian Simm’s Impax Asset Management, Benjamin A. Smith’s Laurion Capital Management, and Richard Driehaus’s Driehaus Capital.

Let’s check out hedge fund activity in other stocks – not necessarily in the same industry as National Vision Holdings, Inc. (NASDAQ:EYE) but similarly valued. We will take a look at Science Applications International Corp (NYSE:SAIC), Telephone & Data Systems, Inc. (NYSE:TDS), Syntel, Inc. (NASDAQ:SYNT), and Box, Inc. (NYSE:BOX). All of these stocks’ market caps are closest to EYE’s market cap.

Ticker No of HFs with positions Total Value of HF Positions (x1000) Change in HF Position
SAIC 24 186003 7
TDS 20 329985 -2
SYNT 18 179383 -2
BOX 26 455631 -1
Average 22 287751 0.5

View table here if you experience formatting issues.

As you can see these stocks had an average of 22 hedge funds with bullish positions and the average amount invested in these stocks was $288 million. That figure was $430 million in EYE’s case. Box, Inc. (NYSE:BOX) is the most popular stock in this table. On the other hand Syntel, Inc. (NASDAQ:SYNT) is the least popular one with only 18 bullish hedge fund positions. Compared to these stocks National Vision Holdings, Inc. (NASDAQ:EYE) is even less popular than SYNT. Considering that hedge funds aren’t fond of this stock in relation to other companies analyzed in this article, it may be a good idea to analyze it in detail and understand why the smart money isn’t behind this stock. This isn’t necessarily bad news. Although it is possible that hedge funds may think the stock is overpriced and view the stock as a short candidate, they may not be very familiar with the bullish thesis. In either case more research is warranted.

Disclosure: None. This article was originally published at Insider Monkey.

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