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Hedge Funds Have Never Been This Bullish On Photronics, Inc. (PLAB)

The latest 13F reporting period has come and gone, and Insider Monkey is again at the forefront when it comes to making use of this gold mine of data. Insider Monkey finished processing 821 13F filings submitted by hedge funds and prominent investors. These filings show these funds’ portfolio positions as of March 31st, 2020. What do these smart investors think about Photronics, Inc. (NASDAQ:PLAB)?

Photronics, Inc. (NASDAQ:PLAB) was in 22 hedge funds’ portfolios at the end of the first quarter of 2020. PLAB shareholders have witnessed an increase in activity from the world’s largest hedge funds in recent months. There were 21 hedge funds in our database with PLAB positions at the end of the previous quarter. Our calculations also showed that PLAB 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.

Why do we pay any attention at all to hedge fund sentiment? Our research has shown that a select group of hedge fund holdings outperformed the S&P 500 ETFs by 58 percentage points since March 2017 (see the details here). We were also able to identify in advance a select group of hedge fund holdings that’ll significantly underperform the market. We have been tracking and sharing the list of these stocks since February 2017 and they lost 36% through May 18th. That’s why we believe hedge fund sentiment is an extremely useful indicator that investors should pay attention to.

Chuck Royce

Chuck Royce of Royce & Associates

At Insider Monkey we leave no stone unturned when looking for the next great investment idea. For example, 2020’s unprecedented market conditions provide us with the highest number of trading opportunities in a decade. So we are checking out trades like this one. 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. Now let’s review the fresh hedge fund action encompassing Photronics, Inc. (NASDAQ:PLAB).

How are hedge funds trading Photronics, Inc. (NASDAQ:PLAB)?

At Q1’s end, a total of 22 of the hedge funds tracked by Insider Monkey held long positions in this stock, a change of 5% from one quarter earlier. Below, you can check out the change in hedge fund sentiment towards PLAB over the last 18 quarters. With the smart money’s positions undergoing their usual ebb and flow, there exists a few notable hedge fund managers who were upping their holdings significantly (or already accumulated large positions).

According to Insider Monkey’s hedge fund database, Renaissance Technologies, holds the number one position in Photronics, Inc. (NASDAQ:PLAB). Renaissance Technologies has a $20.2 million position in the stock, comprising less than 0.1%% of its 13F portfolio. On Renaissance Technologies’s heels is Royce & Associates, managed by Chuck Royce, which holds a $10.1 million position; the fund has 0.1% of its 13F portfolio invested in the stock. Some other members of the smart money with similar optimism comprise Carson Yost’s Yost Capital Management, Jeff Osher’s No Street Capital and Paul Marshall and Ian Wace’s Marshall Wace LLP. In terms of the portfolio weights assigned to each position Yost Capital Management allocated the biggest weight to Photronics, Inc. (NASDAQ:PLAB), around 8.99% of its 13F portfolio. Divisar Capital is also relatively very bullish on the stock, dishing out 2.27 percent of its 13F equity portfolio to PLAB.

As one would reasonably expect, key money managers were breaking ground themselves. Yost Capital Management, managed by Carson Yost, assembled the largest position in Photronics, Inc. (NASDAQ:PLAB). Yost Capital Management had $9.5 million invested in the company at the end of the quarter. Jeff Osher’s No Street Capital also initiated a $8.1 million position during the quarter. The other funds with new positions in the stock are Mark Coe’s Intrinsic Edge Capital, Ryan Tolkin (CIO)’s Schonfeld Strategic Advisors, and Greg Eisner’s Engineers Gate Manager.

Let’s check out hedge fund activity in other stocks similar to Photronics, Inc. (NASDAQ:PLAB). These stocks are PAE Incorporated (NASDAQ:PAE), BRP Group, Inc. (NASDAQ:BRP), OraSure Technologies, Inc. (NASDAQ:OSUR), and GMS Inc. (NYSE:GMS). This group of stocks’ market valuations are closest to PLAB’s market valuation.

Ticker No of HFs with positions Total Value of HF Positions (x1000) Change in HF Position
PAE 21 124295 9
BRP 2 9815 -6
OSUR 19 96477 4
GMS 16 73933 -1
Average 14.5 76130 1.5

View table here if you experience formatting issues.

As you can see these stocks had an average of 14.5 hedge funds with bullish positions and the average amount invested in these stocks was $76 million. That figure was $90 million in PLAB’s case. PAE Incorporated (NASDAQ:PAE) is the most popular stock in this table. On the other hand BRP Group, Inc. (NASDAQ:BRP) is the least popular one with only 2 bullish hedge fund positions. Compared to these stocks Photronics, Inc. (NASDAQ:PLAB) is more popular among hedge funds. 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 13.9% in 2020 through June 10th and still beat the market by 14.2 percentage points. Unfortunately PLAB wasn’t nearly as popular as these 10 stocks and hedge funds that were betting on PLAB were disappointed as the stock returned 18.4% during the second quarter (through June 10th) 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 in 2020.

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