Hedge Funds Have Never Been This Bullish On Aclaris Therapeutics, Inc. (ACRS)

After several tireless days we have finished crunching the numbers from nearly 900 13F filings issued by the elite hedge funds and other investment firms that we track at Insider Monkey, which disclosed those firms’ equity portfolios as of March 31st. The results of that effort will be put on display in this article, as we share valuable insight into the smart money sentiment towards Aclaris Therapeutics, Inc. (NASDAQ:ACRS).

Is Aclaris Therapeutics, Inc. (NASDAQ:ACRS) a great investment today? Money managers were in a bullish mood. The number of long hedge fund positions inched up by 7 in recent months. Aclaris Therapeutics, Inc. (NASDAQ:ACRS) was in 30 hedge funds’ portfolios at the end of March. The all time high for this statistic was previously 24. This means the bullish number of hedge fund positions in this stock currently sits at its all time high. Our calculations also showed that ACRS isn’t among the 30 most popular stocks among hedge funds (click for Q1 rankings).

Hedge funds’ reputation as shrewd investors has been tarnished in the last decade as their hedged returns couldn’t keep up with the unhedged returns of the market indices. Hedge funds have more than $3.5 trillion in assets under management, so you can’t expect their entire portfolios to beat the market by large margins. Our research was able to identify in advance a select group of hedge fund holdings that outperformed the S&P 500 ETFs by more than 115 percentage points since March 2017 (see the details here). So you can still find a lot of gems by following hedge funds’ moves today.

Oleg Nodelman EcoR1 Capital

Oleg Nodelman of EcoR1 Capital

At Insider Monkey, we scour multiple sources to uncover the next great investment idea. For example, lithium mining is one of the fastest growing industries right now, so we are checking out stock pitches like this emerging lithium stock. We go through lists like the 10 best EV stocks to pick the next Tesla that will deliver a 10x return. Even though we recommend positions in only a tiny fraction of the companies we analyze, we check out as many stocks as we can. We read hedge fund investor letters and listen to stock pitches at hedge fund conferences. You can subscribe to our free daily newsletter on our homepage. Now let’s take a peek at the latest hedge fund action encompassing Aclaris Therapeutics, Inc. (NASDAQ:ACRS).

Do Hedge Funds Think ACRS Is A Good Stock To Buy Now?

At the end of the first quarter, a total of 30 of the hedge funds tracked by Insider Monkey held long positions in this stock, a change of 30% from the fourth quarter of 2020. On the other hand, there were a total of 15 hedge funds with a bullish position in ACRS a year ago. With hedgies’ capital changing hands, there exists a few key hedge fund managers who were increasing their stakes meaningfully (or already accumulated large positions).

Is ACRS A Good Stock To Buy?

The largest stake in Aclaris Therapeutics, Inc. (NASDAQ:ACRS) was held by Rock Springs Capital Management, which reported holding $89.9 million worth of stock at the end of December. It was followed by Adage Capital Management with a $80.6 million position. Other investors bullish on the company included Renaissance Technologies, Cormorant Asset Management, and Foresite Capital. In terms of the portfolio weights assigned to each position Foresite Capital allocated the biggest weight to Aclaris Therapeutics, Inc. (NASDAQ:ACRS), around 43.26% of its 13F portfolio. Commodore Capital is also relatively very bullish on the stock, setting aside 10.2 percent of its 13F equity portfolio to ACRS.

As industrywide interest jumped, specific money managers have been driving this bullishness. Cormorant Asset Management, managed by Bihua Chen, created the most outsized position in Aclaris Therapeutics, Inc. (NASDAQ:ACRS). Cormorant Asset Management had $50.4 million invested in the company at the end of the quarter. Alan Frazier’s Frazier Healthcare Partners also initiated a $17.5 million position during the quarter. The following funds were also among the new ACRS investors: Joseph Edelman’s Perceptive Advisors, Brandon Haley’s Holocene Advisors, and Devesh Gandhi’s SilverArc Capital.

Let’s now take a look at hedge fund activity in other stocks similar to Aclaris Therapeutics, Inc. (NASDAQ:ACRS). We will take a look at Metromile, Inc. (NASDAQ:MILE), Forma Therapeutics Holdings, Inc. (NASDAQ:FMTX), Camtek LTD. (NASDAQ:CAMT), The Pennant Group, Inc. (NASDAQ:PNTG), Hawaiian Holdings, Inc. (NASDAQ:HA), City Holding Company (NASDAQ:CHCO), and Home Point Capital Inc. (NASDAQ:HMPT). All of these stocks’ market caps are closest to ACRS’s market cap.

Ticker No of HFs with positions Total Value of HF Positions (x1000) Change in HF Position
MILE 19 105719 19
FMTX 17 628565 0
CAMT 12 117423 -3
PNTG 11 28651 1
HA 16 109242 5
CHCO 5 16561 -1
HMPT 13 35611 13
Average 13.3 148825 4.9

View table here if you experience formatting issues.

As you can see these stocks had an average of 13.3 hedge funds with bullish positions and the average amount invested in these stocks was $149 million. That figure was $655 million in ACRS’s case. Metromile, Inc. (NASDAQ:MILE) is the most popular stock in this table. On the other hand City Holding Company (NASDAQ:CHCO) is the least popular one with only 5 bullish hedge fund positions. Compared to these stocks Aclaris Therapeutics, Inc. (NASDAQ:ACRS) is more popular among hedge funds. Our overall hedge fund sentiment score for ACRS is 90. Stocks with higher number of hedge fund positions relative to other stocks as well as relative to their historical range receive a higher sentiment score. Our calculations showed that top 5 most popular stocks among hedge funds returned 95.8% in 2019 and 2020, and outperformed the S&P 500 ETF (SPY) by 40 percentage points. These stocks gained 22.8% in 2021 through July 2nd and still beat the market by 6 percentage points. Unfortunately ACRS wasn’t nearly as popular as these 5 stocks and hedge funds that were betting on ACRS were disappointed as the stock returned -32.3% since the end of the first quarter (through 7/2) and underperformed the market. If you are interested in investing in large cap stocks with huge upside potential, you should check out the top 5 most popular stocks among hedge funds as most of these stocks already outperformed the market since 2019.

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