Kirby Corporation (KEX): Are Hedge Funds Right About This Stock?

Kirby Corporation (NYSE:KEX) was in 21 hedge funds’ portfolio at the end of the first quarter of 2013. KEX investors should be aware of an increase in hedge fund interest lately. There were 13 hedge funds in our database with KEX holdings at the end of the previous quarter.

Kirby Corporation (NYSE:KEX)To the average investor, there are plenty of gauges investors can use to watch their holdings. Some of the most underrated are hedge fund and insider trading interest. At Insider Monkey, our studies have shown that, historically, those who follow the top picks of the top hedge fund managers can outpace the broader indices by a solid amount (see just how much).

Equally as key, optimistic insider trading activity is another way to parse down the marketplace. There are lots of reasons for a bullish insider to drop shares of his or her company, but just one, very clear reason why they would behave bullishly. Plenty of empirical studies have demonstrated the impressive potential of this strategy if shareholders know what to do (learn more here).

Now, it’s important to take a glance at the key action encompassing Kirby Corporation (NYSE:KEX).

What have hedge funds been doing with Kirby Corporation (NYSE:KEX)?

In preparation for this quarter, a total of 21 of the hedge funds we track held long positions in this stock, a change of 62% from the previous quarter. With hedgies’ sentiment swirling, there exists a select group of key hedge fund managers who were increasing their holdings considerably.

When looking at the hedgies we track, Robert Joseph Caruso’s Select Equity Group had the largest position in Kirby Corporation (NYSE:KEX), worth close to $240.8 million, accounting for 3.2% of its total 13F portfolio. Sitting at the No. 2 spot is Royce & Associates, managed by Chuck Royce, which held a $101.9 million position; the fund has 0.3% of its 13F portfolio invested in the stock. Other peers that hold long positions include Steven Richman’s East Side Capital (RR Partners), Michael R. Weisberg’s Crestwood Capital Management and Andrew Sandler’s Sandler Capital Management.

Now, key hedge funds have been driving this bullishness. Sandler Capital Management, managed by Andrew Sandler, initiated the most outsized position in Kirby Corporation (NYSE:KEX). Sandler Capital Management had 22.5 million invested in the company at the end of the quarter. Thomas M. Fitzgerald’s Longbow Capital Partners also initiated a $12.5 million position during the quarter. The other funds with brand new KEX positions are Alexander Mitchell’s Scopus Asset Management, Richard S. Meisenberg’s ACK Asset Management, and D. E. Shaw’s D E Shaw.

How are insiders trading Kirby Corporation (NYSE:KEX)?

Insider buying is most useful when the company we’re looking at has seen transactions within the past 180 days. Over the latest 180-day time frame, Kirby Corporation (NYSE:KEX) has seen zero unique insiders buying, and 18 insider sales (see the details of insider trades here).

Let’s check out hedge fund and insider activity in other stocks similar to Kirby Corporation (NYSE:KEX). These stocks are Teekay Offshore Partners L.P. (NYSE:TOO), Teekay Corporation (NYSE:TK), Tidewater Inc. (NYSE:TDW), Teekay LNG Partners L.P. (NYSE:TGP), and Golar LNG Limited (USA) (NASDAQ:GLNG). This group of stocks are in the shipping industry and their market caps match KEX’s market cap.