Hedge Funds Are Getting Bullish On The Ensign Group, Inc. (ENSG)

We at Insider Monkey have gone over 821 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 March 31st, near the height of the coronavirus market crash. In this article, we look at what those funds think of The Ensign Group, Inc. (NASDAQ:ENSG) based on that data.

Is The Ensign Group, Inc. (NASDAQ:ENSG) a first-rate investment now? Money managers are turning bullish. The number of long hedge fund bets inched up by 3 in recent months. Our calculations also showed that ENSG isn’t among the 30 most popular stocks among hedge funds (click for Q1 rankings and see the video for a quick look at the top 5 stocks).

Video: Watch our video about the top 5 most popular hedge fund stocks.

In the eyes of most traders, hedge funds are perceived as unimportant, old investment tools of the past. While there are more than 8000 funds in operation today, Our researchers look at the bigwigs of this club, about 850 funds. These investment experts shepherd the majority of all hedge funds’ total asset base, and by following their best equity investments, Insider Monkey has revealed numerous investment strategies that have historically outperformed the S&P 500 index. Insider Monkey’s flagship short hedge fund strategy defeated the S&P 500 short ETFs by around 20 percentage points per year since its inception in March 2017. Our portfolio of short stocks lost 36% since February 2017 (through May 18th) even though the market was up 30% during the same period. We just shared a list of 8 short targets in our latest quarterly update .

Kamran Moghtaderi of Eversept Partners

We leave no stone unturned when looking for the next great investment idea. For example Europe is set to become the world’s largest cannabis market, so we check out this European marijuana stock pitch. We interview hedge fund managers and ask them about their best ideas. If you want to find out the best healthcare stock to buy right now, you can watch our latest hedge fund manager interview here. We read hedge fund investor letters and listen to stock pitches at hedge fund conferences. Our best call in 2020 was shorting the market when the S&P 500 was trading at 3150 after realizing the coronavirus pandemic’s significance before most investors. Keeping this in mind let’s check out the new hedge fund action regarding The Ensign Group, Inc. (NASDAQ:ENSG).

How are hedge funds trading The Ensign Group, Inc. (NASDAQ:ENSG)?

At Q1’s end, a total of 18 of the hedge funds tracked by Insider Monkey were bullish on this stock, a change of 20% from the previous quarter. Below, you can check out the change in hedge fund sentiment towards ENSG over the last 18 quarters. So, let’s find out which hedge funds were among the top holders of the stock and which hedge funds were making big moves.

More specifically, Polar Capital was the largest shareholder of The Ensign Group, Inc. (NASDAQ:ENSG), with a stake worth $20.2 million reported as of the end of September. Trailing Polar Capital was Millennium Management, which amassed a stake valued at $16.4 million. Royce & Associates, Eversept Partners, and Winton 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 Eversept Partners allocated the biggest weight to The Ensign Group, Inc. (NASDAQ:ENSG), around 3.4% of its 13F portfolio. Intrinsic Edge Capital is also relatively very bullish on the stock, setting aside 0.25 percent of its 13F equity portfolio to ENSG.

As aggregate interest increased, key money managers have jumped into The Ensign Group, Inc. (NASDAQ:ENSG) headfirst. D E Shaw, managed by D. E. Shaw, assembled the most outsized position in The Ensign Group, Inc. (NASDAQ:ENSG). D E Shaw had $2.1 million invested in the company at the end of the quarter. Mark Coe’s Intrinsic Edge Capital also made a $1.9 million investment in the stock during the quarter. The following funds were also among the new ENSG investors: Hoon Kim’s Quantinno Capital, Frederick DiSanto’s Ancora Advisors, and Qing Li’s Sciencast Management.

Let’s check out hedge fund activity in other stocks – not necessarily in the same industry as The Ensign Group, Inc. (NASDAQ:ENSG) but similarly valued. These stocks are Apellis Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NASDAQ:APLS), Cracker Barrel Old Country Store, Inc. (NASDAQ:CBRL), Home Bancshares Inc (Conway, AR) (NASDAQ:HOMB), and National Beverage Corp. (NASDAQ:FIZZ). This group of stocks’ market values resemble ENSG’s market value.

Ticker No of HFs with positions Total Value of HF Positions (x1000) Change in HF Position
APLS 30 455911 -1
CBRL 23 101131 -1
HOMB 20 15614 8
FIZZ 20 202468 -1
Average 23.25 193781 1.25

View table here if you experience formatting issues.

As you can see these stocks had an average of 23.25 hedge funds with bullish positions and the average amount invested in these stocks was $194 million. That figure was $89 million in ENSG’s case. Apellis Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NASDAQ:APLS) is the most popular stock in this table. On the other hand Home Bancshares Inc (Conway, AR) (NASDAQ:HOMB) is the least popular one with only 20 bullish hedge fund positions. Compared to these stocks The Ensign Group, Inc. (NASDAQ:ENSG) is even less popular than HOMB. Hedge funds dodged a bullet by taking a bearish stance towards ENSG. Our calculations showed that the top 10 most popular hedge fund stocks returned 41.4% in 2019 and outperformed the S&P 500 ETF (SPY) by 10.1 percentage points. These stocks gained 13.4% in 2020 through June 22nd but managed to beat the market by 15.9 percentage points. Unfortunately ENSG wasn’t nearly as popular as these 10 stocks (hedge fund sentiment was very bearish); ENSG investors were disappointed as the stock returned 12% during the second quarter (through June 22nd) and underperformed the market. If you are interested in investing in large cap stocks with huge upside potential, you should check out the top 10 most popular stocks among hedge funds as most of these stocks already outperformed the market so far in 2020.

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