Is Dole Food Company, Inc. (NYSE:DOLE) Going to Burn These Hedge Funds? – Annies Inc (NYSE:BNNY), Post Holdings Inc (NYSE:POST)

Dole Food Company, Inc. (NYSE:DOLE) has seen an increase in enthusiasm from smart money lately.

If you’d ask most investors, hedge funds are seen as underperforming, outdated financial vehicles of years past. While there are over 8000 funds with their doors open at the moment, we at Insider Monkey hone in on the top tier of this group, about 450 funds. It is estimated that this group has its hands on the majority of the hedge fund industry’s total asset base, and by keeping an eye on their best stock picks, we have identified a few investment strategies that have historically outpaced Mr. Market. Our small-cap hedge fund strategy outperformed the S&P 500 index by 18 percentage points annually 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 beaten the S&P 500 index by 25 percentage points in 6.5 month (explore the details and some picks here).

Dole Food Company, Inc. (NYSE:DOLE)

Equally as integral, bullish insider trading sentiment is another way to break down the financial markets. Just as you’d expect, there are lots of incentives for a bullish insider to drop shares of his or her company, but only one, very clear reason why they would initiate a purchase. Many empirical studies have demonstrated the valuable potential of this strategy if shareholders know what to do (learn more here).

Keeping this in mind, let’s take a glance at the key action regarding Dole Food Company, Inc. (NYSE:DOLE).

How are hedge funds trading Dole Food Company, Inc. (NYSE:DOLE)?

Heading into 2013, a total of 15 of the hedge funds we track were bullish in this stock, a change of 7% from the third quarter. With hedge funds’ positions undergoing their usual ebb and flow, there exists a select group of key hedge fund managers who were upping their holdings substantially.

Of the funds we track, Hutchin Hill Capital, managed by Neil Chriss, holds the most valuable position in Dole Food Company, Inc. (NYSE:DOLE). Hutchin Hill Capital has a $17 million position in the stock, comprising 1.6% of its 13F portfolio. Sitting at the No. 2 spot is Tiger Management, managed by Julian Robertson, which held a $14 million position; the fund has 2.5% of its 13F portfolio invested in the stock. Remaining peers with similar optimism include Brian Taylor’s Pine River Capital Management, Nick Niell’s Arrowgrass Capital Partners and Dmitry Balyasny’s Balyasny Asset Management.

Consequently, key money managers were breaking ground themselves. Hutchin Hill Capital, managed by Neil Chriss, initiated the biggest position in Dole Food Company, Inc. (NYSE:DOLE). Hutchin Hill Capital had 17 million invested in the company at the end of the quarter. Julian Robertson’s Tiger Management also initiated a $14 million position during the quarter. The following funds were also among the new DOLE investors: Brian Taylor’s Pine River Capital Management, Nick Niell’s Arrowgrass Capital Partners, and Cliff Asness’s AQR Capital Management.

What have insiders been doing with Dole Food Company, Inc. (NYSE:DOLE)?

Insider buying is best served when the primary stock in question has experienced transactions within the past six months. Over the last 180-day time period, Dole Food Company, Inc. (NYSE:DOLE) has experienced zero unique insiders purchasing, and 2 insider sales (see the details of insider trades here).

Let’s also examine hedge fund and insider activity in other stocks similar to Dole Food Company, Inc. (NYSE:DOLE). Some of these stocks are ZHONGPIN INC. (NASDAQ:HOGS), Annies Inc (NYSE:BNNY), and Post Holdings Inc (NYSE:POST).

Company Name # of Hedge Funds # of Insiders Buying # of Insiders Selling
Annies Inc (NYSE:BNNY) 10 1 6
Post Holdings Inc (NYSE:POST) 17 0 0
Sanderson Farms, Inc. (NASDAQ:SAFM) 16 0 3
Cal-Maine Foods Inc (NASDAQ:CALM) 9 0 1

With the returns demonstrated by Insider Monkey’s research, everyday investors should always keep an eye on hedge fund and insider trading sentiment, and Dole Food Company, Inc. (NYSE:DOLE) applies perfectly to this mantra.

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Insider Monkey’s small-cap strategy returned 37% between September 2012 and March 2013 versus 12.9% for the S&P 500 index. Try it now by clicking the link above.