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Hedge Funds Keep Buying Arch Capital Group Ltd. (ACGL)

We know that hedge funds generate strong, risk-adjusted returns over the long run, which is why imitating the picks that they are collectively bullish on can be a profitable strategy for retail investors. With billions of dollars in assets, professional investors have to conduct complex analyses, spend many resources and use tools that are not always available for the general crowd. This doesn’t mean that they don’t have occasional colossal losses; they do. However, it is still a good idea to keep an eye on hedge fund activity. With this in mind, let’s examine the smart money sentiment towards Arch Capital Group Ltd. (NASDAQ:ACGL) and determine whether hedge funds skillfully traded this stock.

Arch Capital Group Ltd. (NASDAQ:ACGL) was in 36 hedge funds’ portfolios at the end of the second quarter of 2020. The all time high for this statistics is 33. This means the bullish number of hedge fund positions in this stock currently sits at its all time high. ACGL has experienced an increase in activity from the world’s largest hedge funds recently. There were 33 hedge funds in our database with ACGL positions at the end of the first quarter. Our calculations also showed that ACGL isn’t among the 30 most popular stocks among hedge funds (click for Q2 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.

So, why do we pay attention to hedge fund sentiment before making any investment decisions? Our research has shown that hedge funds’ small-cap stock picks managed to beat the market by double digits annually between 1999 and 2016, but the margin of outperformance has been declining in recent years. Nevertheless, we were still able to identify in advance a select group of hedge fund holdings that outperformed the S&P 500 ETFs by more than 56 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 underperformed the market by 10 percentage points annually between 2006 and 2017. Interestingly the margin of underperformance of these stocks has been increasing in recent years. Investors who are long the market and short these stocks would have returned more than 27% annually between 2015 and 2017. We have been tracking and sharing the list of these stocks since February 2017 in our quarterly newsletter. Even if you aren’t comfortable with shorting stocks, you should at least avoid initiating long positions in stocks that are in our short portfolio.

Steven Cohen of Point72 Asset Management

At Insider Monkey we leave no stone unturned when looking for the next great investment idea. For example, this “mom” trader turned $2000 into $2 million within 2 years. So, we are checking out her best trade idea of the month. We read hedge fund investor letters and listen to stock pitches at hedge fund conferences. We go through lists like the 10 most profitable companies in the world to pick the best large-cap stocks to buy. Even though we recommend positions in only a tiny fraction of the companies we analyze, we check out as many stocks as we can. Now let’s take a glance at the new hedge fund action encompassing Arch Capital Group Ltd. (NASDAQ:ACGL).

How are hedge funds trading Arch Capital Group Ltd. (NASDAQ:ACGL)?

At the end of the second quarter, a total of 36 of the hedge funds tracked by Insider Monkey were bullish on this stock, a change of 9% from the first quarter of 2020. The graph below displays the number of hedge funds with bullish position in ACGL over the last 20 quarters. So, let’s find out which hedge funds were among the top holders of the stock and which hedge funds were making big moves.

Is ACGL A Good Stock To Buy?

Among these funds, FPR Partners held the most valuable stake in Arch Capital Group Ltd. (NASDAQ:ACGL), which was worth $395.9 million at the end of the third quarter. On the second spot was Polar Capital which amassed $154.8 million worth of shares. Point72 Asset Management, Citadel Investment Group, and Echo Street Capital Management 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 FPR Partners allocated the biggest weight to Arch Capital Group Ltd. (NASDAQ:ACGL), around 13.77% of its 13F portfolio. Capital Returns Management is also relatively very bullish on the stock, setting aside 9.91 percent of its 13F equity portfolio to ACGL.

As one would reasonably expect, some big names were breaking ground themselves. Balyasny Asset Management, managed by Dmitry Balyasny, initiated the most valuable position in Arch Capital Group Ltd. (NASDAQ:ACGL). Balyasny Asset Management had $22.5 million invested in the company at the end of the quarter. Louis Bacon’s Moore Global Investments also made a $11 million investment in the stock during the quarter. The other funds with brand new ACGL positions are Jeff Osher’s No Street Capital, Joe DiMenna’s ZWEIG DIMENNA PARTNERS, and Daniel Johnson’s Gillson Capital.

Let’s also examine hedge fund activity in other stocks similar to Arch Capital Group Ltd. (NASDAQ:ACGL). These stocks are PagSeguro Digital Ltd. (NYSE:PAGS), Expedia Group Inc (NASDAQ:EXPE), Brown & Brown, Inc. (NYSE:BRO), Open Text Corporation (NASDAQ:OTEX), Ceridian HCM Holding Inc. (NYSE:CDAY), Shinhan Financial Group Co., Ltd. (NYSE:SHG), and Ulta Beauty, Inc. (NASDAQ:ULTA). This group of stocks’ market caps are similar to ACGL’s market cap.

Ticker No of HFs with positions Total Value of HF Positions (x1000) Change in HF Position
PAGS 27 1013173 7
EXPE 61 3109490 20
BRO 24 633665 -2
OTEX 18 319502 0
CDAY 30 2098612 6
SHG 2 5215 -3
ULTA 38 662360 -8
Average 28.6 1120288 2.9

View table here if you experience formatting issues.

As you can see these stocks had an average of 28.6 hedge funds with bullish positions and the average amount invested in these stocks was $1120 million. That figure was $1077 million in ACGL’s case. Expedia Group Inc (NASDAQ:EXPE) is the most popular stock in this table. On the other hand Shinhan Financial Group Co., Ltd. (NYSE:SHG) is the least popular one with only 2 bullish hedge fund positions. Arch Capital Group Ltd. (NASDAQ:ACGL) is not the most popular stock in this group but hedge fund interest is still above average. Our overall hedge fund sentiment score for ACGL is 66.8. 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. This is a slightly positive signal but we’d rather spend our time researching stocks that hedge funds are piling on. 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 33% in 2020 through the end of August and beat the market by 23.2 percentage points. Unfortunately ACGL wasn’t nearly as popular as these 10 stocks and hedge funds that were betting on ACGL were disappointed as the stock returned 10.1% during the same time period 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 many of these stocks already outperformed the market so far this year.

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