Navigant Consulting, Inc. (NYSE:NCI): Hedge Funds Are Bullish and Insiders Are Bearish, What Should You Do? – ICF International Inc (NASDAQ:ICFI), Exponent, Inc. (NASDAQ:EXPO)

Is Navigant Consulting, Inc. (NYSE:NCI) the right investment to pursue these days? The best stock pickers are becoming hopeful. The number of bullish hedge fund positions inched up by 1 in recent months.

In the eyes of most market participants, hedge funds are viewed as slow, outdated financial vehicles of yesteryear. While there are more than 8000 funds in operation at present, we at Insider Monkey look at the moguls of this club, about 450 funds. It is widely believed that this group oversees the majority of the hedge fund industry’s total capital, and by tracking their highest performing equity investments, we have come up with a number of investment strategies that have historically outperformed the broader indices. Our small-cap hedge fund strategy outstripped the S&P 500 index by 18 percentage points a year 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 outpaced the S&P 500 index by 25 percentage points in 6.5 month (see the details here).

Navigant Consulting, Inc. (NYSE:NCI)

Just as important, positive insider trading sentiment is a second way to parse down the marketplace. Obviously, there are plenty of reasons for a bullish insider to drop shares of his or her company, but just one, very obvious reason why they would behave bullishly. Plenty of academic studies have demonstrated the useful potential of this tactic if investors know where to look (learn more here).

Consequently, let’s take a look at the key action encompassing Navigant Consulting, Inc. (NYSE:NCI).

What does the smart money think about Navigant Consulting, Inc. (NYSE:NCI)?

In preparation for this year, a total of 11 of the hedge funds we track were bullish in this stock, a change of 10% from one quarter earlier. With hedgies’ capital changing hands, there exists a select group of key hedge fund managers who were upping their holdings meaningfully.

When looking at the hedgies we track, D E Shaw, managed by D. E. Shaw, holds the most valuable position in Navigant Consulting, Inc. (NYSE:NCI). D E Shaw has a $4 million position in the stock, comprising 0% of its 13F portfolio. Coming in second is Cliff Asness of AQR Capital Management, with a $3 million position; the fund has 0% of its 13F portfolio invested in the stock. Other peers that are bullish include Israel Englander’s Millennium Management, John Overdeck and David Siegel’s Two Sigma Advisors and Ken Griffin’s Citadel Investment Group.

As one would reasonably expect, key money managers were leading the bulls’ herd. Bryn Mawr Capital, managed by Ken Gray and Steve Walsh, established the biggest position in Navigant Consulting, Inc. (NYSE:NCI). Bryn Mawr Capital had 0 million invested in the company at the end of the quarter. Mike Vranos’s Ellington also made a $0 million investment in the stock during the quarter. The other funds with brand new NCI positions are Steven Cohen’s SAC Capital Advisors and Ken Griffin’s Citadel Investment Group.

What have insiders been doing with Navigant Consulting, Inc. (NYSE:NCI)?

Insider trading activity, especially when it’s bullish, is particularly usable when the company we’re looking at has experienced transactions within the past half-year. Over the latest half-year time frame, Navigant Consulting, Inc. (NYSE:NCI) has experienced zero unique insiders purchasing, and 3 insider sales (see the details of insider trades here).

Let’s also review hedge fund and insider activity in other stocks similar to Navigant Consulting, Inc. (NYSE:NCI). These stocks are Huron Consulting Group (NASDAQ:HURN), Resources Connection, Inc. (NASDAQ:RECN), ICF International Inc (NASDAQ:ICFI), Wageworks Inc (NYSE:WAGE), and Exponent, Inc. (NASDAQ:EXPO). This group of stocks are in the management services industry and their market caps are similar to NCI’s market cap.

Company Name # of Hedge Funds # of Insiders Buying # of Insiders Selling
Huron Consulting Group (NASDAQ:HURN) 7 1 5
Resources Connection, Inc. (NASDAQ:RECN) 13 0 2
ICF International Inc (NASDAQ:ICFI) 9 0 0
Wageworks Inc (NYSE:WAGE) 9 1 8
Exponent, Inc. (NASDAQ:EXPO) 4 1 6

With the results exhibited by the aforementioned time-tested strategies, retail investors should always monitor hedge fund and insider trading activity, and Navigant Consulting, Inc. (NYSE:NCI) is no exception.