Is Crane Co. (CR) A Good Stock To Buy?

Is Crane Co. (NYSE:CR) a good equity to bet on right now? We like to check what the smart money thinks first before doing extensive research. Although there have been several high profile failed hedge fund picks, the consensus picks among hedge fund investors have historically outperformed the market after adjusting for known risk attributes. It’s not surprising given that hedge funds have access to better information and more resources to find the latest market-moving information.

Crane Co. (NYSE:CR) investors should pay attention to a decrease in enthusiasm from smart money of late. At the end of this article we will also compare CR to other stocks including Thor Industries, Inc. (NYSE:THO), First Citizens BancShares Inc. (NASDAQ:FCNCA), and Piedmont Office Realty Trust, Inc. (NYSE:PDM) to get a better sense of its popularity.

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How are hedge funds trading Crane Co. (NYSE:CR)?

At Q3’s end, a total of 21 of the hedge funds tracked by Insider Monkey held long positions in this stock, a change of -9% from the second quarter. With hedgies’ sentiment swirling, there exists a select group of notable hedge fund managers who were increasing their stakes substantially (or already accumulated large positions).

When looking at the hedgies followed by Insider Monkey, GAMCO Investors, managed by Mario Gabelli, holds the most valuable position in Crane Co. (NYSE:CR). GAMCO Investors has a $136.4 million position in the stock, comprising 0.9% of its 13F portfolio. On GAMCO Investors’s heels is Cliff Asness of AQR Capital Management, with a $28.6 million position; the fund has 0.1% of its 13F portfolio invested in the stock. Other hedgies with similar optimism contain Joel Greenblatt’s Gotham Asset Management, Alexander Roepers’s Atlantic Investment Management and Jim Simons’s Renaissance Technologies.

Due to the fact that Crane Co. (NYSE:CR) has experienced bearish sentiment from the aggregate hedge fund industry, logic holds that there is a sect of fund managers who were dropping their full holdings heading into Q4. It’s worth mentioning that Steve Cohen’s Point72 Asset Management dumped the largest stake of all the hedgies monitored by Insider Monkey, comprising about $32.2 million in stock, and Jerome Debs of Bodri Capital Management was right behind this move, as the fund dropped about $3.8 million worth. These transactions are interesting, as aggregate hedge fund interest was cut by 2 funds heading into Q4.

Let’s go over hedge fund activity in other stocks similar to Crane Co. (NYSE:CR). These stocks are Thor Industries, Inc. (NYSE:THO), First Citizens BancShares Inc. (NASDAQ:FCNCA), Piedmont Office Realty Trust, Inc. (NYSE:PDM), and American Greetings Corporation (NYSE:AM). All of these stocks’ market caps are similar to CR’s market cap.

Ticker No of HFs with positions Total Value of HF Positions (x1000) Change in HF Position
THO 21 232892 3
FCNCA 9 125208 -1
PDM 7 141889 -4
AM 5 11103 -1

As you can see these stocks had an average of 10.5 hedge funds with bullish positions and the average amount invested in these stocks was $128 million. Thor Industries, Inc. (NYSE:THO) is the most popular stock in this table. On the other hand American Greetings Corporation (NYSE:AM) is the least popular one with only 5 bullish hedge fund positions. Crane Co. (NYSE:CR) is on par with the most popular stock in this group. This is a positive signal considering the fact that hedge funds had more money invested in CR than any of its market cap peers. That’s why we believe investors should at the very least take a closer look at Crane and consider adding it to their portfolios.