Keep an Eye on These 4 High-Flying Stocks Today

U.S stocks have started the week on a slightly positive note, but are finding it difficult to stay in green territory, with Asian markets having slumped again and European indices having closed lower as well. There are, however, certain stocks that have not followed the overall trend and have registered solid gains during the first hours of trading today. Among those stocks are Anavex Life Sciences Corp. (NASDAQ:AVXL), NorthStar Asset Management Group Inc (NYSE:NSAM), Affymetrix, Inc. (NASDAQ:AFFX) and Acorn International, Inc. (ADR) (NYSE:ATV). Let’s find out what is driving these stocks higher today and what elite hedge funds think of them.

We track hedge funds and prominent investors because our research has shown that historically their stock picks delivered superior risk-adjusted returns. This is especially true in the small-cap space. The 50 most popular large-cap stocks among hedge funds had a monthly alpha of about six basis points per month between 1999 and 2012; however the 15 most popular small-cap stocks delivered a monthly alpha of 80 basis points during the same period. This means investors would have generated 10 percentage points of alpha per year simply by imitating hedge funds’ top 15 small-cap ideas (see the details here).

Anavex Life Sciences Corp. (NASDAQ:AVXL) is trending higher this morning on positive news related to one of its product candidates. In a press release today, the company announced the results from an interim analysis that point to positive effects from its ANAVEX 2-73 drug candidate. Anavex’s CEO expressed his delight with the results and affirmed the company’s desire to further develop the testing of the drug. Shares have jumped by as much as 26% during the first hour of trading and are currently up by just under 9%.

Follow Anavex Life Sciences Corp. (NASDAQ:AVXL)

None of the hedge funds tracked by Insider Monkey reported holding a stake in Anavex Life Sciences Corp. (NASDAQ:AVXL) as of the end of the third quarter of 2015.

With NorthStar Asset Management Group Inc (NYSE:NSAM) down by more than 50% from its 2015 high, management has decided to look for ways to increase shareholder value, having hired Goldman Sachs Group Inc (NYSE:GS) as a financial adviser.

“We believe our current share price undervalues the Company. Our Board of Directors and management have always been committed to acting in the best interests of our shareholders and we are aggressively seeking ways to maximize shareholder value,” said David Hamamoto, NortStar’s Chairman.

Follow Northstar Asset Management Group Inc. (NYSE:NSAM)

NorthStar Asset Management Group Inc (NYSE:NSAM) lost some of the support of top investors during the third quarter of 2015, with the number of hedge funds long the stock dropping to 56, from 63 at the end of June. Still, hedge funds have a notable presence among the company’s shareholders, having control over 48.5% of the company’s common stock. Robert Pitts is betting big on the stock, having pledged more than 4% of his capital to his position in it. In its latest 13F filling, Steadfast Capital Management reported ownership of 14.5 million NorthStar shares, up by 1% over the third quarter.

We look into the latest action on Affymetrix and Acorn International on the next page.

Shares of Affymetrix, Inc. (NASDAQ:AFFX) are up by approximately 50% after the company announced that it will be taken over by Thermo Fisher Scientific Inc. (NYSE:TMO) for $1.3 billion. As a result, Affymetrix shareholders will get $14 per share, which represents a 52% premium over Friday’s closing price. The deal is expected to close by the end of the second quarter and Thermo Fisher is expecting its earnings to increase by $0.10 per share in the first year following the close of the deal.

Follow Affymetrix Inc (NASDAQ:AFFX)

Hedge funds’ confidence in Affymetrix, Inc. (NASDAQ:AFFX) was boosted during the third quarter, with the number of long positions increasing to 24 by the end of September. Samuel Isaly and Orbimed Advisors were poised to gain the most from the takeover among the elite funds we follow, having reported ownership of 7.51 million shares at the end of the third quarter.

Acorn International, Inc. (ADR) (NYSE:ATV) has skyrocketed by more than 150% this morning on news that the company is set to implement a share buyback program. The company’s board of directors has approved a buyback program of up to $2 million worth of American Depositary Shares (ADS) during the next 12 months. Acorn also said it will use its cash balance to finance the program. Investors have poured into the stock during the first hours of trading, helping the stock easily cover its 25% slump since the start of the year prior to today.

Follow Acorn International Inc (NYSE:ATV)

At the end of the third quarter, only two of the funds that we track reported a stake in Acorn International, Inc. (ADR) (NYSE:ATV). Satyen Mehta‘s Neon Liberty Capital Management reported a position that amassed 223,043 Acorn shares as of the end of September, while Ken Griffin‘s Citadel Investment Group held 11,672 shares.

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