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Hedge Funds Were Selling Teradyne, Inc. (TER) Before Coronavirus

Coronavirus is probably the #1 concern in investors’ minds right now. It should be. On February 27th we published an article with the title Recession is Imminent: We Need A Travel Ban NOW. We predicted that a US recession is imminent and 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. Our article also called for a total international travel ban to prevent the spread of the coronavirus especially from Europe. We were one step ahead of the markets and the president (read our latest 10 coronavirus predictions).

In these volatile markets we scrutinize hedge fund filings to get a reading on which direction each stock might be going. With this in mind let’s see whether Teradyne, Inc. (NYSE:TER) makes for a good investment at the moment. We analyze the sentiment of a select group of the very best investors in the world, who spend immense amounts of time and resources studying companies. They may not always be right (no one is), but data shows that their consensus long positions have historically outperformed the market when we adjust for known risk factors.

Is Teradyne, Inc. (NYSE:TER) the right investment to pursue these days? Money managers are in a bearish mood. The number of long hedge fund bets shrunk by 1 in recent months. Our calculations also showed that TER 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.

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 41 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.

RENAISSANCE TECHNOLOGIES

Jim Simons of Renaissance Technologies

We leave no stone unturned when looking for the next great investment idea. For example we recently identified a stock that trades 25% below the net cash on its balance sheet. We read hedge fund investor letters and listen to stock pitches at hedge fund conferences, and go through short-term trade recommendations like this one. We even check out the recommendations of services with hard to believe track records. Our best call in 2020 was shorting the market when 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 glance at the fresh hedge fund action encompassing Teradyne, Inc. (NYSE:TER).

Hedge fund activity in Teradyne, Inc. (NYSE:TER)

At Q4’s end, a total of 33 of the hedge funds tracked by Insider Monkey were bullish on this stock, a change of -3% from the previous quarter. By comparison, 25 hedge funds held shares or bullish call options in TER a year ago. With hedge funds’ sentiment swirling, there exists an “upper tier” of key hedge fund managers who were adding to their stakes considerably (or already accumulated large positions).

Is TER A Good Stock To Buy?

More specifically, Renaissance Technologies was the largest shareholder of Teradyne, Inc. (NYSE:TER), with a stake worth $368.3 million reported as of the end of September. Trailing Renaissance Technologies was Arrowstreet Capital, which amassed a stake valued at $215.2 million. Alkeon Capital Management, Two Sigma Advisors, and D E Shaw 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 L2 Asset Management allocated the biggest weight to Teradyne, Inc. (NYSE:TER), around 2.61% of its 13F portfolio. Breakline Capital is also relatively very bullish on the stock, dishing out 1.7 percent of its 13F equity portfolio to TER.

Seeing as Teradyne, Inc. (NYSE:TER) has witnessed a decline in interest from hedge fund managers, we can see that there exists a select few money managers that slashed their full holdings in the third quarter. Interestingly, Steve Cohen’s Point72 Asset Management sold off the largest position of the “upper crust” of funds monitored by Insider Monkey, worth an estimated $18.2 million in stock, and David Harding’s Winton Capital Management was right behind this move, as the fund cut about $2.5 million worth. These moves are interesting, as aggregate hedge fund interest was cut by 1 funds in the third quarter.

Let’s now review hedge fund activity in other stocks – not necessarily in the same industry as Teradyne, Inc. (NYSE:TER) but similarly valued. We will take a look at Globe Life Inc. (NYSE:GL), Everest Re Group Ltd (NYSE:RE), PagSeguro Digital Ltd. (NYSE:PAGS), and The Western Union Company (NYSE:WU). This group of stocks’ market values match TER’s market value.

Ticker No of HFs with positions Total Value of HF Positions (x1000) Change in HF Position
GL 23 861493 2
RE 24 876907 1
PAGS 21 802176 -15
WU 29 394713 6
Average 24.25 733822 -1.5

View table here if you experience formatting issues.

As you can see these stocks had an average of 24.25 hedge funds with bullish positions and the average amount invested in these stocks was $734 million. That figure was $1144 million in TER’s case. The Western Union Company (NYSE:WU) is the most popular stock in this table. On the other hand PagSeguro Digital Ltd. (NYSE:PAGS) is the least popular one with only 21 bullish hedge fund positions. Compared to these stocks Teradyne, Inc. (NYSE:TER) 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 22.3% in 2020 through March 16th and still beat the market by 3.2 percentage points. Unfortunately TER wasn’t nearly as popular as these 20 stocks and hedge funds that were betting on TER were disappointed as the stock returned -29.3% during the first two and a half months of 2020 (through March 16th) and underperformed the market. If you are interested in investing in large cap stocks with huge upside potential, you should check out the top 20 most popular stocks among hedge funds as most of these stocks already outperformed the market in Q1.

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

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