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Here’s What Hedge Funds Think About Hancock Whitney Corporation (HWC)

We at Insider Monkey have gone over 730 13F filings that hedge funds and prominent investors are required to file by the SEC The 13F filings show the funds’ and investors’ portfolio positions as of June 28th. In this article, we look at what those funds think of Hancock Whitney Corporation (NASDAQ:HWC) based on that data.

Is Hancock Whitney Corporation (NASDAQ:HWC) a buy here? Investors who are in the know are in a bullish mood. The number of long hedge fund bets inched up by 1 in recent months. Our calculations also showed that HWC isn’t among the 30 most popular stocks among hedge funds (view the video below). HWC was in 16 hedge funds’ portfolios at the end of the second quarter of 2019. There were 15 hedge funds in our database with HWC positions at the end of the previous quarter.
5 Most Popular Stocks Among Hedge Funds
Video: Click the image to watch our video about the top 5 most popular hedge fund stocks.

Hedge funds’ reputation as shrewd investors has been tarnished in the last decade as their hedged returns couldn’t keep up with the unhedged returns of the market indices. Our research has shown that hedge funds’ large-cap stock picks indeed failed to beat the market between 1999 and 2016. However, we were able to identify in advance a select group of hedge fund holdings that outperformed the market by 40 percentage points since May 2014 through May 30, 2019 (see the details here). We were also able to identify in advance a select group of hedge fund holdings that’ll significantly underperform the market. We have been tracking and sharing the list of these stocks since February 2017 and they lost 25.7% through September 30, 2019. That’s why we believe hedge fund sentiment is an extremely useful indicator that investors should pay attention to.

Ken Fisher FISHER ASSET MANAGEMENT

Unlike former hedge manager, Dr. Steve Sjuggerud, who is convinced Dow will soar past 40000, our long-short investment strategy doesn’t rely on bull markets to deliver double digit returns. We only rely on hedge fund buy/sell signals. Let’s take a glance at the fresh hedge fund action encompassing Hancock Whitney Corporation (NASDAQ:HWC).

How have hedgies been trading Hancock Whitney Corporation (NASDAQ:HWC)?

At the end of the second quarter, a total of 16 of the hedge funds tracked by Insider Monkey were long this stock, a change of 7% from one quarter earlier. The graph below displays the number of hedge funds with bullish position in HWC over the last 16 quarters. With hedgies’ sentiment swirling, there exists an “upper tier” of key hedge fund managers who were adding to their stakes substantially (or already accumulated large positions).

No of Hedge Funds with HWC Positions

More specifically, Millennium Management was the largest shareholder of Hancock Whitney Corporation (NASDAQ:HWC), with a stake worth $20.8 million reported as of the end of March. Trailing Millennium Management was Renaissance Technologies, which amassed a stake valued at $18.7 million. Castine Capital Management, Forest Hill Capital, and Fisher Asset Management were also very fond of the stock, giving the stock large weights in their portfolios.

Now, some big names have jumped into Hancock Whitney Corporation (NASDAQ:HWC) headfirst. Arrowstreet Capital, managed by Peter Rathjens, Bruce Clarke and John Campbell, assembled the most valuable position in Hancock Whitney Corporation (NASDAQ:HWC). Arrowstreet Capital had $4.6 million invested in the company at the end of the quarter. Michael Gelband’s ExodusPoint Capital also made a $0.4 million investment in the stock during the quarter. The following funds were also among the new HWC investors: Ken Griffin’s Citadel Investment Group and Claes Fornell’s CSat Investment Advisory.

Let’s now review hedge fund activity in other stocks similar to Hancock Whitney Corporation (NASDAQ:HWC). These stocks are GrafTech International Ltd. (NYSE:EAF), Community Bank System, Inc. (NYSE:CBU), White Mountains Insurance Group Ltd (NYSE:WTM), and Global Blood Therapeutics Inc (NASDAQ:GBT). All of these stocks’ market caps resemble HWC’s market cap.

Ticker No of HFs with positions Total Value of HF Positions (x1000) Change in HF Position
EAF 27 246790 3
CBU 12 29802 4
WTM 17 180077 1
GBT 30 583828 4
Average 21.5 260124 3

View table here if you experience formatting issues.

As you can see these stocks had an average of 21.5 hedge funds with bullish positions and the average amount invested in these stocks was $260 million. That figure was $104 million in HWC’s case. Global Blood Therapeutics Inc (NASDAQ:GBT) is the most popular stock in this table. On the other hand Community Bank System, Inc. (NYSE:CBU) is the least popular one with only 12 bullish hedge fund positions. Hancock Whitney Corporation (NASDAQ:HWC) is not the least popular stock in this group but hedge fund interest is still below average. 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 20 most popular stocks among hedge funds returned 24.4% in 2019 through September 30th and outperformed the S&P 500 ETF (SPY) by 4 percentage points. Unfortunately HWC wasn’t nearly as popular as these 20 stocks (hedge fund sentiment was quite bearish); HWC investors were disappointed as the stock returned -3.6% during 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 20 most popular stocks among hedge funds as many of these stocks already outperformed the market so far in 2019.

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

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