Here is What Hedge Funds Think About Metlife Inc (NYSE:MET)

Is Metlife Inc (NYSE:MET) the right investment to pursue these days? Prominent investors are taking a bullish view. The number of long hedge fund positions went up by 2 lately.

If you’d ask most stock holders, hedge funds are assumed to be slow, outdated financial tools of yesteryear. While there are over 8000 funds in operation at present, we at Insider Monkey hone in on the moguls of this club, close to 450 funds. It is widely believed that this group controls the lion’s share of the hedge fund industry’s total asset base, and by paying attention to their best picks, we have determined a number of investment strategies that have historically outperformed the S&P 500 index. Our small-cap hedge fund strategy outpaced the S&P 500 index by 18 percentage points a year for a decade in our back tests, and since we’ve began to sharing our picks with our subscribers at the end of August 2012, we have outpaced the S&P 500 index by 25 percentage points in 6.5 month (see the details here).

MetlifeEqually as beneficial, optimistic insider trading activity is another way to parse down the world of equities. Obviously, there are lots of incentives for a corporate insider to sell shares of his or her company, but only one, very simple reason why they would initiate a purchase. Several academic studies have demonstrated the market-beating potential of this strategy if “monkeys” know what to do (learn more here).

With these “truths” under our belt, it’s important to take a glance at the recent action regarding Metlife Inc (NYSE:MET).

How are hedge funds trading Metlife Inc (NYSE:MET)?

At the end of the fourth quarter, a total of 49 of the hedge funds we track held long positions in this stock, a change of 4% from the previous quarter. With hedgies’ positions undergoing their usual ebb and flow, there exists a select group of noteworthy hedge fund managers who were boosting their stakes considerably.

Of the funds we track, Pzena Investment Management, managed by Richard S. Pzena, holds the largest position in Metlife Inc (NYSE:MET). Pzena Investment Management has a $255 million position in the stock, comprising 2.1% of its 13F portfolio. Coming in second is Renaissance Technologies, managed by Jim Simons, which held a $180 million position; 2.4% of its 13F portfolio is allocated to the stock. Some other hedge funds with similar optimism include John A. Levin’s Levin Capital Strategies, Bill Miller’s Legg Mason Capital Management and David Tepper’s Appaloosa Management LP.

As aggregate interest increased, key money managers have jumped into Metlife Inc (NYSE:MET) headfirst. Appaloosa Management LP, managed by David Tepper, created the most valuable position in Metlife Inc (NYSE:MET). Appaloosa Management LP had 112 million invested in the company at the end of the quarter. Richard Perry’s Perry Capital also made a $49 million investment in the stock during the quarter. The other funds with new positions in the stock are Anand Parekh’s Alyeska Investment Group, Clint Carlson’s Carlson Capital, and Kevin D. Eng’s Columbus Hill Capital Management.

What do corporate executives and insiders think about Metlife Inc (NYSE:MET)?

Insider trading activity, especially when it’s bullish, is best served when the primary stock in question has seen transactions within the past six months. Over the latest 180-day time frame, Metlife Inc (NYSE:MET) has seen zero unique insiders buying, and 2 insider sales (see the details of insider trades here).

With the returns shown by the aforementioned strategies, retail investors should always watch hedge fund and insider trading sentiment, and Metlife Inc (NYSE:MET) shareholders fit into this picture quite nicely.

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Insider Monkey’s small-cap strategy returned 29.2% between September 2012 and February 2013 versus 8.7% for the S&P 500 index. Try it now by clicking the link above.