Looking for high-potential stocks? Just follow the big players within the hedge fund industry. Why should you do so? Let’s take a brief look at what statistics have to say about hedge funds’ stock picking abilities to illustrate. The Standard and Poor’s 500 Index returned approximately 7.6% in the 12 months ending November 21, with more than 51% of the stocks in the index failing to beat the benchmark. Therefore, the odds that one will pin down a winner by randomly picking a stock are less than the odds in a fair coin-tossing game. Conversely, best performing hedge funds’ 30 preferred mid-cap stocks generated a return of 18% during the same 12-month period. Coincidence? It might happen to be so, but it is unlikely. Our research covering a 17-year period indicates that hedge funds’ stock picks generate superior risk-adjusted returns. That’s why we believe it is wise to check hedge fund activity before you invest your time or your savings on a stock like Hancock Holding Company (NASDAQ:HBHC).
Is Hancock Holding Company (NASDAQ:HBHC) a splendid stock to buy now? Investors who are in the know are taking an optimistic view. The number of long hedge fund positions grew by 3 in recent months. At the end of this article we will also compare HBHC to other stocks including Trinseo S.A. (NYSE:TSE), Wolverine World Wide, Inc. (NYSE:WWW), and Dynegy Inc. (NYSE:DYN) to get a better sense of its popularity.
At Insider Monkey, we’ve developed an investment strategy that has delivered market-beating returns over the past 12 months. Our strategy identifies the 100 best-performing funds of the previous quarter from among the collection of 700+ successful funds that we track in our database, which we accomplish using our returns methodology. We then study the portfolios of those 100 funds using the latest 13F data to uncover the 30 most popular mid-cap stocks (market caps of between $1 billion and $10 billion) among them to hold until the next filing period. This strategy delivered 18% gains over the past 12 months, more than doubling the 8% returns enjoyed by the S&P 500 ETFs.
How are hedge funds trading Hancock Holding Company (NASDAQ:HBHC)?
Heading into the fourth quarter of 2016, a total of 14 of the hedge funds tracked by Insider Monkey were bullish on this stock, a 27% increase from one quarter earlier. The graph below displays the number of hedge funds with bullish position in HBHC over the last 5 quarters, which shows the number of hedge fund positions sliding by over 20% this year. So, let’s review which hedge funds were among the top holders of the stock and which hedge funds were making big moves.
Of the funds tracked by Insider Monkey, Fisher Asset Management, led by Ken Fisher, holds the most valuable position in Hancock Holding Company (NASDAQ:HBHC). Fisher Asset Management has a $16.7 million position in the stock. On Fisher Asset Management’s heels is David E. Shaw’s D E Shaw, with a $4.5 million position. Other members of the smart money that are bullish encompass Mark Lee’s Forest Hill Capital, Dmitry Balyasny’s Balyasny Asset Management, and Peter Rathjens, Bruce Clarke and John Campbell’s Arrowstreet Capital. We should note that none of these hedge funds are among our list of the 100 best performing hedge funds which is based on the performance of their 13F long positions in non-microcap stocks.