Here is What Hedge Funds Think About Asbury Automotive Group, Inc. (NYSE:ABG): Group 1 Automotive, Inc. (NYSE:GPI), Lithia Motors Inc (NYSE:LAD)

Asbury Automotive Group, Inc. (NYSE:ABG) has seen an increase in hedge fund sentiment lately.

In the 21st century investor’s toolkit, there are tons of indicators shareholders can use to watch Mr. Market. A couple of the most useful are hedge fund and insider trading movement. At Insider Monkey, our studies have shown that, historically, those who follow the top picks of the best investment managers can outclass the market by a significant amount (see just how much).

Asbury Automotive Group, Inc. (NYSE:ABG)

Just as integral, optimistic insider trading sentiment is a second way to break down the marketplace. As the old adage goes: there are many reasons for a bullish insider to downsize shares of his or her company, but just one, very obvious reason why they would buy. Many academic studies have demonstrated the impressive potential of this strategy if piggybackers understand what to do (learn more here).

Consequently, it’s important to take a glance at the key action regarding Asbury Automotive Group, Inc. (NYSE:ABG).

What does the smart money think about Asbury Automotive Group, Inc. (NYSE:ABG)?

In preparation for this year, a total of 15 of the hedge funds we track were bullish in this stock, a change of 7% from one quarter earlier. With hedge funds’ sentiment swirling, there exists a select group of notable hedge fund managers who were increasing their stakes considerably.

When looking at the hedgies we track, MSD Capital, managed by Glenn Fuhrman and John Phelan, holds the largest position in Asbury Automotive Group, Inc. (NYSE:ABG). MSD Capital has a $101 million position in the stock, comprising 20.9% of its 13F portfolio. The second largest stake is held by QVT Financial, managed by Daniel Gold, which held a $44 million position; 0.1% of its 13F portfolio is allocated to the company. Other peers with similar optimism include Phill Gross and Robert Atchinson’s Adage Capital Management, Cliff Asness’s AQR Capital Management and Alexander Mitchell’s Scopus Asset Management.

As industrywide interest jumped, key hedge funds were breaking ground themselves. Gotham Asset Management, managed by Joel Greenblatt, established the biggest position in Asbury Automotive Group, Inc. (NYSE:ABG). Gotham Asset Management had 2 million invested in the company at the end of the quarter. Peter Rathjens, Bruce Clarke and John Campbell’s Arrowstreet Capital also made a $1 million investment in the stock during the quarter. The only other fund with a brand new ABG position is Steven Cohen’s SAC Capital Advisors.

What do corporate executives and insiders think about Asbury Automotive Group, Inc. (NYSE:ABG)?

Insider trading activity, especially when it’s bullish, is at its handiest when the primary stock in question has seen transactions within the past six months. Over the last six-month time frame, Asbury Automotive Group, Inc. (NYSE:ABG) has seen zero unique insiders buying, and 4 insider sales (see the details of insider trades here).

Let’s also take a look at hedge fund and insider activity in other stocks similar to Asbury Automotive Group, Inc. (NYSE:ABG). These stocks are KAR Auction Services Inc (NYSE:KAR), Rush Enterprises, Inc. (NASDAQ:RUSHB), Sonic Automotive Inc (NYSE:SAH), Group 1 Automotive, Inc. (NYSE:GPI), and Lithia Motors Inc (NYSE:LAD). This group of stocks belong to the auto dealerships industry and their market caps are closest to ABG’s market cap.

Company Name # of Hedge Funds # of Insiders Buying # of Insiders Selling
KAR Auction Services Inc (NYSE:KAR) 15 0 17
Rush Enterprises, Inc. (NASDAQ:RUSHB) 2 0 0
Sonic Automotive Inc (NYSE:SAH) 9 0 3
Group 1 Automotive, Inc. (NYSE:GPI) 11 0 3
Lithia Motors Inc (NYSE:LAD) 15 0 6

With the returns exhibited by the aforementioned tactics, retail investors must always monitor hedge fund and insider trading activity, and Asbury Automotive Group, Inc. (NYSE:ABG) shareholders fit into this picture quite nicely.