Hedge Funds Have Never Been This Bullish On Qiagen NV (QGEN)

Coronavirus is probably the #1 concern in investors’ minds right now. It should be. On February 27th we published this article and predicted that US stocks will go down by at least 20% in the next 3-6 months. We also told you to short the market ETFs and buy long-term bonds. Investors who agreed with us and replicated these trades are up double digits whereas the market is down double digits. In these volatile markets we scrutinize hedge fund filings to get a reading on which direction each stock might be going. After several tireless days we have finished crunching the numbers from nearly 835 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 December 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 Qiagen NV (NYSE:QGEN).

Qiagen NV (NYSE:QGEN) shareholders have witnessed an increase in activity from the world’s largest hedge funds of late. QGEN was in 51 hedge funds’ portfolios at the end of the fourth quarter of 2019. There were 24 hedge funds in our database with QGEN holdings at the end of the previous quarter. Our calculations also showed that QGEN isn’t among the 30 most popular stocks among hedge funds (click for Q4 rankings and see the video below for Q3 rankings).
5 Most Popular Stocks Among Hedge Funds
Video: Click the image to watch our video about the top 5 most popular hedge fund stocks.

In today’s marketplace there are plenty of metrics stock traders use to analyze publicly traded companies. A couple of the best metrics are hedge fund and insider trading interest. Our researchers have shown that, historically, those who follow the best picks of the top fund managers can outclass their index-focused peers by a very impressive margin (see the details here).

Clint Carlson of Carlson Capital

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 read hedge fund investor letters and listen to stock pitches at hedge fund conferences, and and go through short-term trade recommendations like this one. We even check out the recommendations of services with hard to believe track records. In January, we recommended a long position in one of the most shorted stocks in the market, and that stock returned more than 50% despite the large losses in the market since our recommendation. Keeping this in mind let’s check out the recent hedge fund action regarding Qiagen NV (NYSE:QGEN).

How are hedge funds trading Qiagen NV (NYSE:QGEN)?

At the end of the fourth quarter, a total of 51 of the hedge funds tracked by Insider Monkey were long this stock, a change of 113% from the previous quarter. By comparison, 21 hedge funds held shares or bullish call options in QGEN a year ago. With hedgies’ positions undergoing their usual ebb and flow, there exists an “upper tier” of key hedge fund managers who were upping their stakes significantly (or already accumulated large positions).

Among these funds, Citadel Investment Group held the most valuable stake in Qiagen NV (NYSE:QGEN), which was worth $75.7 million at the end of the third quarter. On the second spot was Farallon Capital which amassed $72.8 million worth of shares. Adage Capital Management, D E Shaw, and Carlson Capital 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 Twin Capital Management allocated the biggest weight to Qiagen NV (NYSE:QGEN), around 13.2% of its 13F portfolio. Sand Grove Capital Partners is also relatively very bullish on the stock, dishing out 5.49 percent of its 13F equity portfolio to QGEN.

Consequently, specific money managers have been driving this bullishness. Farallon Capital, initiated the most outsized position in Qiagen NV (NYSE:QGEN). Farallon Capital had $72.8 million invested in the company at the end of the quarter. Phill Gross and Robert Atchinson’s Adage Capital Management also initiated a $37.2 million position during the quarter. The other funds with brand new QGEN positions are Clint Carlson’s Carlson Capital, Zach Schreiber’s Point State Capital, and Carl Tiedemann and Michael Tiedemann’s TIG Advisors.

Let’s check out hedge fund activity in other stocks similar to Qiagen NV (NYSE:QGEN). These stocks are Hill-Rom Holdings, Inc. (NYSE:HRC), Levi Strauss & Co. (NYSE:LEVI), Spirit AeroSystems Holdings, Inc. (NYSE:SPR), and The Stars Group Inc. (NASDAQ:TSG). This group of stocks’ market values are closest to QGEN’s market value.

Ticker No of HFs with positions Total Value of HF Positions (x1000) Change in HF Position
HRC 27 793647 -2
LEVI 11 34219 1
SPR 48 1874707 9
TSG 45 1366436 11
Average 32.75 1017252 4.75

View table here if you experience formatting issues.

As you can see these stocks had an average of 32.75 hedge funds with bullish positions and the average amount invested in these stocks was $1017 million. That figure was $585 million in QGEN’s case. Spirit AeroSystems Holdings, Inc. (NYSE:SPR) is the most popular stock in this table. On the other hand Levi Strauss & Co. (NYSE:LEVI) is the least popular one with only 11 bullish hedge fund positions. Compared to these stocks Qiagen NV (NYSE:QGEN) is more popular among hedge funds. Our calculations showed that top 20 most popular stocks among hedge funds returned 41.3% in 2019 and outperformed the S&P 500 ETF (SPY) by 10.1 percentage points. These stocks lost 12.9% in 2020 through March 9th but still managed to beat the market by 1.9 percentage points. Hedge funds were also right about betting on QGEN as the stock returned 22.3% so far in Q1 (through March 9th) and outperformed the market by an even larger margin. Hedge funds were clearly right about piling into this stock relative to other stocks with similar market capitalizations.

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