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Hedge Funds Keep Buying Cohen & Steers, Inc. (CNS)

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 Cohen & Steers, Inc. (NYSE:CNS) and determine whether hedge funds skillfully traded this stock.

Is Cohen & Steers, Inc. (NYSE:CNS) a good investment now? Money managers keep buying but does this really mean that the stock is relatively a good investment? Cohen & Steers, Inc. (NYSE:CNS) was in 21 hedge funds’ portfolios at the end of the second quarter of 2020. The all time high for this statistics is 20. This means the bullish number of hedge fund positions in this stock currently sits at its all time high. Our calculations also showed that CNS 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.

In the financial world there are a large number of tools investors have at their disposal to grade stocks. A pair of the most under-the-radar tools are hedge fund and insider trading indicators. We have shown that, historically, those who follow the top picks of the best fund managers can outperform the broader indices by a solid amount. Insider Monkey’s monthly stock picks returned 101% since March 2017 and outperformed the S&P 500 ETFs by more than 56 percentage points. Our short strategy outperformed the S&P 500 short ETFs by 20 percentage points annually (see the details here). That’s why we believe hedge fund sentiment is a useful indicator that investors should pay attention to.

Izzy Englander of MILLENNIUM MANAGEMENT

Israel Englander of Millennium Management

At Insider Monkey we scour multiple sources to uncover the next great investment idea. For example, Federal Reserve has been creating trillions of dollars electronically to keep the interest rates near zero. We believe this will lead to inflation and boost precious metals prices. So, we are checking out this junior gold mining stock. We are also checking out this lithium company which could benefit from the electric car adoption. 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. 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 website to get excerpts of these letters in your inbox. Now we’re going to go over the fresh hedge fund action encompassing Cohen & Steers, Inc. (NYSE:CNS).

What does smart money think about Cohen & Steers, Inc. (NYSE:CNS)?

At the end of the second quarter, a total of 21 of the hedge funds tracked by Insider Monkey were long this stock, a change of 5% from one quarter earlier. By comparison, 15 hedge funds held shares or bullish call options in CNS a year ago. So, let’s review which hedge funds were among the top holders of the stock and which hedge funds were making big moves.

Among these funds, GAMCO Investors held the most valuable stake in Cohen & Steers, Inc. (NYSE:CNS), which was worth $38.3 million at the end of the third quarter. On the second spot was Driehaus Capital which amassed $16.1 million worth of shares. Royce & Associates, Citadel Investment Group, and Millennium 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 Zebra Capital Management allocated the biggest weight to Cohen & Steers, Inc. (NYSE:CNS), around 1.63% of its 13F portfolio. GAMCO Investors is also relatively very bullish on the stock, setting aside 0.44 percent of its 13F equity portfolio to CNS.

Now, key hedge funds have jumped into Cohen & Steers, Inc. (NYSE:CNS) headfirst. Millennium Management, managed by Israel Englander, assembled the most valuable position in Cohen & Steers, Inc. (NYSE:CNS). Millennium Management had $3.9 million invested in the company at the end of the quarter. Murray Stahl’s Horizon Asset Management also initiated a $1.5 million position during the quarter. The other funds with new positions in the stock are Paul Marshall and Ian Wace’s Marshall Wace LLP, Michael Gelband’s ExodusPoint Capital, and Benjamin A. Smith’s Laurion Capital Management.

Let’s go over hedge fund activity in other stocks similar to Cohen & Steers, Inc. (NYSE:CNS). We will take a look at Energizer Holdings, Inc. (NYSE:ENR), SVMK Inc. (NASDAQ:SVMK), Stifel Financial Corp. (NYSE:SF), Ormat Technologies, Inc. (NYSE:ORA), Kirby Corporation (NYSE:KEX), The Hain Celestial Group, Inc. (NASDAQ:HAIN), and KBR, Inc. (NYSE:KBR). This group of stocks’ market values are similar to CNS’s market value.

Ticker No of HFs with positions Total Value of HF Positions (x1000) Change in HF Position
ENR 25 277086 4
SVMK 33 309964 4
SF 21 158221 4
ORA 19 179434 10
KEX 20 375194 -1
HAIN 24 829403 4
KBR 35 604967 7
Average 25.3 390610 4.6

View table here if you experience formatting issues.

As you can see these stocks had an average of 25.3 hedge funds with bullish positions and the average amount invested in these stocks was $391 million. That figure was $87 million in CNS’s case. KBR, Inc. (NYSE:KBR) is the most popular stock in this table. On the other hand Ormat Technologies, Inc. (NYSE:ORA) is the least popular one with only 19 bullish hedge fund positions. Cohen & Steers, Inc. (NYSE:CNS) is not the least popular stock in this group but hedge fund interest is still below average. Our overall hedge fund sentiment score for CNS is 42.3. 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 negative signal and 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 24.8% in 2020 through the end of September and surpassed the market by 19.3 percentage points. Unfortunately CNS wasn’t nearly as popular as these 10 stocks (hedge fund sentiment was quite bearish); CNS investors were disappointed as the stock returned -17.6% in the third quarter 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.