Here is What Hedge Funds Think About Equus Total Return, Inc. (EQS)

The latest 13F reporting period has come and gone, and Insider Monkey is again at the forefront when it comes to making use of this gold mine of data. We at Insider Monkey have plowed through 821 13F filings that hedge funds and well-known value investors are required to file by the SEC. The 13F filings show the funds’ and investors’ portfolio positions as of March 31st, a week after the market trough. In this article we look at what those investors think of Equus Total Return, Inc. (NYSE:EQS).

Equus Total Return, Inc. (NYSE:EQS) shares haven’t seen a lot of action during the first quarter. Overall, hedge fund sentiment was unchanged. The stock was in 4 hedge funds’ portfolios at the end of the first quarter of 2020. The level and the change in hedge fund popularity aren’t the only variables you need to analyze to decipher hedge funds’ perspectives. A stock may witness a boost in popularity but it may still be less popular than similarly priced stocks. That’s why at the end of this article we will examine companies such as Taitron Components Incorporated (NASDAQ:TAIT), Davids Tea Inc (NASDAQ:DTEA), and FreightCar America, Inc. (NASDAQ:RAIL) to gather more data points. Our calculations also showed that EQS isn’t among the 30 most popular stocks among hedge funds (click for Q1 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.

To most market participants, hedge funds are viewed as unimportant, outdated investment tools of yesteryear. While there are greater than 8000 funds in operation today, We look at the elite of this group, around 850 funds. These hedge fund managers handle the majority of the smart money’s total capital, and by monitoring their finest equity investments, Insider Monkey has deciphered several investment strategies that have historically outrun the S&P 500 index. Insider Monkey’s flagship short hedge fund strategy beat the S&P 500 short ETFs by around 20 percentage points per annum since its inception in March 2017. Our portfolio of short stocks lost 36% since February 2017 (through May 18th) even though the market was up 30% during the same period. We just shared a list of 8 short targets in our latest quarterly update .

Nelson Obus of Wynnefield Capital

At Insider Monkey we leave no stone unturned when looking for the next great investment idea. For example, 2020’s unprecedented market conditions provide us with the highest number of trading opportunities in a decade. So we are checking out stocks recommended/scorned by legendary Bill Miller. We interview hedge fund managers and ask them about their best ideas. If you want to find out the best healthcare stock to buy right now, you can watch our latest hedge fund manager interview here. We read hedge fund investor letters and listen to stock pitches at hedge fund conferences. Our best call in 2020 was shorting the market when the S&P 500 was trading at 3150 after realizing the coronavirus pandemic’s significance before most investors. With all of this in mind we’re going to review the new hedge fund action encompassing Equus Total Return, Inc. (NYSE:EQS).

How have hedgies been trading Equus Total Return, Inc. (NYSE:EQS)?

At the end of the first quarter, a total of 4 of the hedge funds tracked by Insider Monkey held long positions in this stock, a change of 0% from the fourth quarter of 2019. On the other hand, there were a total of 5 hedge funds with a bullish position in EQS a year ago. So, let’s examine which hedge funds were among the top holders of the stock and which hedge funds were making big moves.

Is EQS A Good Stock To Buy?

According to publicly available hedge fund and institutional investor holdings data compiled by Insider Monkey, Frederick DiSanto’s Ancora Advisors has the largest position in Equus Total Return, Inc. (NYSE:EQS), worth close to $0.9 million, comprising less than 0.1%% of its total 13F portfolio. The second most bullish fund manager is Bulldog Investors, led by Phillip Goldstein, Andrew Dakos and Steven Samuels, holding a $0.1 million position; the fund has 0.1% of its 13F portfolio invested in the stock. Remaining peers that hold long positions include Nelson Obus’s Wynnefield Capital, Ron Mass’s Almitas Capital and . In terms of the portfolio weights assigned to each position Almitas Capital allocated the biggest weight to Equus Total Return, Inc. (NYSE:EQS), around 0.11% of its 13F portfolio. Bulldog Investors is also relatively very bullish on the stock, earmarking 0.05 percent of its 13F equity portfolio to EQS.

Earlier we told you that the aggregate hedge fund interest in the stock was unchanged and we view this as a negative development. Even though there weren’t any hedge funds dumping their holdings during the third quarter, there weren’t any hedge funds initiating brand new positions. This indicates that hedge funds, at the very best, perceive this stock as dead money and they haven’t identified any viable catalysts that can attract investor attention.

Let’s go over hedge fund activity in other stocks similar to Equus Total Return, Inc. (NYSE:EQS). We will take a look at Taitron Components Incorporated (NASDAQ:TAIT), Davids Tea Inc (NASDAQ:DTEA), FreightCar America, Inc. (NASDAQ:RAIL), and Ashford Inc. (NYSE:AINC). All of these stocks’ market caps match EQS’s market cap.

Ticker No of HFs with positions Total Value of HF Positions (x1000) Change in HF Position
TAIT 1 663 0
DTEA 2 79 0
RAIL 8 1410 -1
AINC 4 590 1
Average 3.75 686 0

View table here if you experience formatting issues.

As you can see these stocks had an average of 3.75 hedge funds with bullish positions and the average amount invested in these stocks was $1 million. That figure was $1 million in EQS’s case. FreightCar America, Inc. (NASDAQ:RAIL) is the most popular stock in this table. On the other hand Taitron Components Incorporated (NASDAQ:TAIT) is the least popular one with only 1 bullish hedge fund positions. Equus Total Return, Inc. (NYSE:EQS) is not the most popular stock in this group but hedge fund interest is still above average. 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 8.3% in 2020 through the end of May but beat the market by 13.2 percentage points. Unfortunately EQS wasn’t nearly as popular as these 10 stocks and hedge funds that were betting on EQS were disappointed as the stock returned 13.7% 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.