Hedge Funds Aren’t Crazy About CenturyLink, Inc. (CTL) Anymore

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Is CenturyLink, Inc. (NYSE:CTL) an outstanding stock to buy now? Prominent investors are getting less bullish. The number of long hedge fund positions stayed the same which is a slightly negative development in our experience

In the financial world, there are plenty of gauges investors can use to analyze publicly traded companies. A couple of the most under-the-radar are hedge fund and insider trading movement. At Insider Monkey, our research analyses have shown that, historically, those who follow the best picks of the top hedge fund managers can outperform the market by a significant amount (see just how much).

CenturyLink, Inc. (NYSE:CTL)Equally as key, positive insider trading activity is another way to parse down the financial markets. There are a number of motivations for an executive to drop shares of his or her company, but only one, very simple reason why they would initiate a purchase. Various academic studies have demonstrated the impressive potential of this method if “monkeys” know what to do (learn more here).

With all of this in mind, we’re going to take a gander at the recent action encompassing CenturyLink, Inc. (NYSE:CTL).

What have hedge funds been doing with CenturyLink, Inc. (NYSE:CTL)?

At Q1’s end, a total of 23 of the hedge funds we track were long in this stock, a change of 0% from the previous quarter. With hedge funds’ sentiment swirling, there exists a select group of notable hedge fund managers who were upping their holdings meaningfully.

Of the funds we track, Balestra, managed by James Melcher, holds the biggest position in CenturyLink, Inc. (NYSE:CTL). Balestra has a $30 million position in the stock, comprising 6.3% of its 13F portfolio. On Balestra’s heels is Clint Carlson of Carlson Capital, with a $17 million position; the fund has 0.2% of its 13F portfolio invested in the stock. Remaining peers that hold long positions include Ray Dalio’s Bridgewater Associates, and Phill Gross and Robert Atchinson’s Adage Capital Management.

Due to the fact that CenturyLink, Inc. (NYSE:CTL) has experienced declining sentiment from the aggregate hedge fund industry, logic holds that there were a few funds that decided to sell off their positions entirely last quarter. At the top of the heap, Robert Emil Zoellner’s Alpine Associates sold off the largest stake of the 450+ funds we track, valued at an estimated $36 million in stock.. Ken Griffin’s fund, Citadel Investment Group, also said goodbye to its stock, about $21.3 million worth. These transactions are interesting, as total hedge fund interest stayed the same (this is a bearish signal in our experience).

What do corporate executives and insiders think about CenturyLink, Inc. (NYSE:CTL)?

Insider buying is most useful when the company in question has experienced transactions within the past 180 days. Over the last six-month time frame, CenturyLink, Inc. (NYSE:CTL) has seen 1 unique insiders buying, and 3 insider sales (see the details of insider trades here).

Let’s go over hedge fund and insider activity in other stocks similar to CenturyLink, Inc. (NYSE:CTL). These stocks are TW Telecom Inc (NASDAQ:TWTC), Frontier Communications Corp (NASDAQ:FTR), Windstream Corporation (NASDAQ:WIN), BCE Inc. (USA) (NYSE:BCE), and Chunghwa Telecom Co., Ltd (ADR) (NYSE:CHT). This group of stocks are in the telecom services – domestic industry and their market caps resemble CTL’s market cap.

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