Hedge Funds Have Never Been This Bullish On Meridian Bioscience, Inc. (VIVO)

Insider Monkey has processed numerous 13F filings of hedge funds and successful value investors to create an extensive database of hedge fund holdings. The 13F filings show the hedge funds’ and successful investors’ positions as of the end of the first quarter. You can find articles about an individual hedge fund’s trades on numerous financial news websites. However, in this article we will take a look at their collective moves over the last 4.5 years and analyze what the smart money thinks of Meridian Bioscience, Inc. (NASDAQ:VIVO) based on that data.

Meridian Bioscience, Inc. (NASDAQ:VIVO) was in 20 hedge funds’ portfolios at the end of the first quarter of 2020. VIVO investors should pay attention to an increase in enthusiasm from smart money recently. There were 17 hedge funds in our database with VIVO holdings at the end of the previous quarter. Our calculations also showed that VIVO 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 financial world there are plenty of methods shareholders use to analyze stocks. Two of the less known methods are hedge fund and insider trading sentiment. Our researchers have shown that, historically, those who follow the top picks of the top hedge fund managers can outperform the broader indices by a very impressive amount (see the details here).

Millennium Management, Catapult Capital Management

Israel Englander of Millennium Management

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 take a look at lists like the 10 most profitable companies in the world to identify the compounders that are likely to deliver double digit returns. 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. With all of this in mind let’s take a look at the latest hedge fund action regarding Meridian Bioscience, Inc. (NASDAQ:VIVO).

Hedge fund activity in Meridian Bioscience, Inc. (NASDAQ:VIVO)

At Q1’s end, a total of 20 of the hedge funds tracked by Insider Monkey held long positions in this stock, a change of 18% from one quarter earlier. The graph below displays the number of hedge funds with bullish position in VIVO over the last 18 quarters. With the smart money’s positions undergoing their usual ebb and flow, there exists a select group of key hedge fund managers who were adding to their stakes substantially (or already accumulated large positions).

Is VIVO A Good Stock To Buy?

The largest stake in Meridian Bioscience, Inc. (NASDAQ:VIVO) was held by Renaissance Technologies, which reported holding $26.5 million worth of stock at the end of September. It was followed by Millennium Management with a $9.8 million position. Other investors bullish on the company included D E Shaw, AQR Capital Management, and Two Sigma Advisors. In terms of the portfolio weights assigned to each position Zebra Capital Management allocated the biggest weight to Meridian Bioscience, Inc. (NASDAQ:VIVO), around 1.13% of its 13F portfolio. Factorial Partners is also relatively very bullish on the stock, earmarking 0.09 percent of its 13F equity portfolio to VIVO.

Now, some big names were leading the bulls’ herd. Balyasny Asset Management, managed by Dmitry Balyasny, established the most outsized position in Meridian Bioscience, Inc. (NASDAQ:VIVO). Balyasny Asset Management had $1.7 million invested in the company at the end of the quarter. Greg Eisner’s Engineers Gate Manager also initiated a $0.1 million position during the quarter. The other funds with new positions in the stock are Michael Gelband’s ExodusPoint Capital and Joel Greenblatt’s Gotham Asset Management.

Let’s also examine hedge fund activity in other stocks – not necessarily in the same industry as Meridian Bioscience, Inc. (NASDAQ:VIVO) but similarly valued. These stocks are Universal Logistics Holdings, Inc. (NASDAQ:ULH), Designer Brands Inc. (NYSE:DBI), Crinetics Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NASDAQ:CRNX), and Star Group L.P. (NYSE:SGU). This group of stocks’ market caps match VIVO’s market cap.

Ticker No of HFs with positions Total Value of HF Positions (x1000) Change in HF Position
ULH 8 15656 -3
DBI 21 28950 -1
CRNX 11 166354 -1
SGU 8 65781 1
Average 12 69185 -1

View table here if you experience formatting issues.

As you can see these stocks had an average of 12 hedge funds with bullish positions and the average amount invested in these stocks was $69 million. That figure was $57 million in VIVO’s case. Designer Brands Inc. (NYSE:DBI) is the most popular stock in this table. On the other hand Universal Logistics Holdings, Inc. (NASDAQ:ULH) is the least popular one with only 8 bullish hedge fund positions. Meridian Bioscience, Inc. (NASDAQ:VIVO) is not the most popular stock in this group but hedge fund interest is still above average. Our calculations showed that top 10 most popular stocks among hedge funds returned 41.4% in 2019 and outperformed the S&P 500 ETF (SPY) by 10.1 percentage points. These stocks gained 12.2% in 2020 through June 17th but still beat the market by 14.8 percentage points. Hedge funds were also right about betting on VIVO as the stock returned 118.5% in Q2 (through June 17th) and outperformed the market. Hedge funds were rewarded for their relative bullishness.

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