Is Pieris Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (PIRS) A Good Stock To Buy?

Insider Monkey has processed numerous 13F filings of hedge funds and successful value investors to create an extensive database of hedge fund holdings. The 13F filings show the hedge funds’ and successful investors’ positions as of the end of the first quarter. You can find articles about an individual hedge fund’s trades on numerous financial news websites. However, in this article we will take a look at their collective moves over the last 4.5 years and analyze what the smart money thinks of Pieris Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NASDAQ:PIRS) based on that data.

Is Pieris Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NASDAQ:PIRS) going to take off soon? Prominent investors are in a pessimistic mood. The number of bullish hedge fund positions were trimmed by 2 in recent months. Our calculations also showed that PIRS isn’t among the 30 most popular stocks among hedge funds (click for Q1 rankings and see the video for a quick look at the top 5 stocks).

Video: Watch our video about the top 5 most popular hedge fund stocks.

In the 21st century investor’s toolkit there are several tools market participants have at their disposal to analyze stocks. Two of the most underrated tools are hedge fund and insider trading indicators. We have shown that, historically, those who follow the best picks of the best investment managers can outperform the market by a very impressive amount (see the details here).

Paul Marshall Marshall Wace

Paul Marshall of Marshall Wace

We leave no stone unturned when looking for the next great investment idea. For example Europe is set to become the world’s largest cannabis market, so we check out this European marijuana stock pitch. We interview hedge fund managers and ask them about their best ideas. If you want to find out the best healthcare stock to buy right now, you can watch our latest hedge fund manager interview here. We read hedge fund investor letters and listen to stock pitches at hedge fund conferences. Our best call in 2020 was shorting the market when the S&P 500 was trading at 3150 after realizing the coronavirus pandemic’s significance before most investors. With all of this in mind let’s go over the fresh hedge fund action surrounding Pieris Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NASDAQ:PIRS).

How are hedge funds trading Pieris Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NASDAQ:PIRS)?

At the end of the first quarter, a total of 19 of the hedge funds tracked by Insider Monkey were long this stock, a change of -10% from the previous quarter. The graph below displays the number of hedge funds with bullish position in PIRS over the last 18 quarters. With hedge funds’ capital changing hands, there exists an “upper tier” of noteworthy hedge fund managers who were boosting their stakes significantly (or already accumulated large positions).

Is PIRS A Good Stock To Buy?

More specifically, Biotechnology Value Fund / BVF Inc was the largest shareholder of Pieris Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NASDAQ:PIRS), with a stake worth $13.4 million reported as of the end of September. Trailing Biotechnology Value Fund / BVF Inc was Aquilo Capital Management, which amassed a stake valued at $12.7 million. Renaissance Technologies, Corriente Advisors, and Samsara BioCapital were also very fond of the stock, becoming one of the largest hedge fund holders of the company. In terms of the portfolio weights assigned to each position Aquilo Capital Management allocated the biggest weight to Pieris Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NASDAQ:PIRS), around 4.95% of its 13F portfolio. Corriente Advisors is also relatively very bullish on the stock, setting aside 4.39 percent of its 13F equity portfolio to PIRS.

Seeing as Pieris Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NASDAQ:PIRS) has faced bearish sentiment from hedge fund managers, we can see that there is a sect of money managers that slashed their positions entirely in the first quarter. Interestingly, Parvinder Thiara’s Athanor Capital cut the largest position of all the hedgies monitored by Insider Monkey, totaling about $0.2 million in stock, and Paul Marshall and Ian Wace’s Marshall Wace LLP was right behind this move, as the fund dumped about $0.2 million worth. These transactions are interesting, as total hedge fund interest was cut by 2 funds in the first quarter.

Let’s go over hedge fund activity in other stocks – not necessarily in the same industry as Pieris Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NASDAQ:PIRS) but similarly valued. These stocks are Lakeland Industries, Inc. (NASDAQ:LAKE), Peoples Bancorp of North Carolina, Inc. (NASDAQ:PEBK), Safe Bulkers, Inc. (NYSE:SB), and Lineage Cell Therapeutics, Inc. (NYSE:LCTX). All of these stocks’ market caps resemble PIRS’s market cap.

Ticker No of HFs with positions Total Value of HF Positions (x1000) Change in HF Position
LAKE 9 18007 5
PEBK 2 5139 0
SB 6 6525 -1
LCTX 6 28804 1
Average 5.75 14619 1.25

View table here if you experience formatting issues.

As you can see these stocks had an average of 5.75 hedge funds with bullish positions and the average amount invested in these stocks was $15 million. That figure was $48 million in PIRS’s case. Lakeland Industries, Inc. (NASDAQ:LAKE) is the most popular stock in this table. On the other hand Peoples Bancorp of North Carolina, Inc. (NASDAQ:PEBK) is the least popular one with only 2 bullish hedge fund positions. Compared to these stocks Pieris Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NASDAQ:PIRS) is more popular among hedge funds. Our calculations showed that top 10 most popular stocks among hedge funds returned 41.4% in 2019 and outperformed the S&P 500 ETF (SPY) by 10.1 percentage points. These stocks returned 13.4% in 2020 through June 22nd but still managed to beat the market by 15.9 percentage points. Hedge funds were also right about betting on PIRS as the stock returned 47.8% so far in Q2 (through June 22nd) and outperformed the market by an even larger margin. Hedge funds were clearly right about piling into this stock relative to other stocks with similar market capitalizations.

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