Should You Avoid Cohen & Steers, Inc. (CNS)?

Insider Monkey finished processing more than 700 13F filings made by hedge funds and prominent investors. These filings show these funds’ portfolio positions as of September 30. What do these smart investors think about Cohen & Steers, Inc. (NYSE:CNS)?

Cohen & Steers, Inc. (NYSE:CNS) has experienced a decrease in activity from the world’s largest hedge funds lately. At the end of this article we will also compare CNS to other stocks, including Northwest Natural Gas Co (NYSE:NWN), Stillwater Mining Company (NYSE:SWC), and AZZ Incorporated (NYSE:AZZ) to get a better sense of its popularity.

Follow Cohen & Steers Inc. (NYSE:CNS)

In today’s marketplace there are several metrics investors employ to analyze publicly traded companies. Some of the most useful metrics are hedge fund and insider trading signals. We have shown that, historically, those who follow the top picks of the best hedge fund managers can outperform the market by a solid amount (see the details here).

Keeping this in mind, we’re going to go over the recent action regarding Cohen & Steers, Inc. (NYSE:CNS).

Hedge fund activity in Cohen & Steers, Inc. (NYSE:CNS)

At Q3’s end, a total of 13 of the hedge funds tracked by Insider Monkey held long positions in this stock, a reduction of 7% from one quarter earlier. With the smart money’s sentiment swirling, there exists a few key hedge fund managers who were upping their stakes considerably (or already accumulated large positions).

Of the funds tracked by Insider Monkey, GAMCO Investors, managed by Mario Gabelli, holds the number one position in Cohen & Steers, Inc. (NYSE:CNS). The fund has a $32.8 million position in the stock, comprising 0.2% of its 13F portfolio. The second most bullish fund manager is Renaissance Technologies, led by Jim Simons, holding a $13.2 million position; the fund has less than 0.1% of its 13F portfolio invested in the stock. Other members of the smart money that hold long positions consist of Chuck Royce’s Royce & Associates, Israel Englander’s Millennium Management and D. E. Shaw’s D E Shaw.

Judging by the fact that Cohen & Steers, Inc. (NYSE:CNS) has faced falling interest from the smart money, we can see that there is a sect of money managers that elected to cut their entire stakes heading into Q4. At the top of the heap, Greg Poole’s Echo Street Capital Management dropped the biggest stake of all the hedgies monitored by Insider Monkey, valued at an estimated $6.9 million in stock. Dmitry Balyasny’s fund, Balyasny Asset Management, also said goodbye to its entire stake, about $4.5 million worth of shares. These transactions are interesting, as aggregate hedge fund interest fell by 1 fund heading into Q4.

Let’s now take a look at hedge fund activity in other stocks similar to Cohen & Steers, Inc. (NYSE:CNS). These stocks are Northwest Natural Gas Co (NYSE:NWN), Stillwater Mining Company (NYSE:SWC), AZZ Incorporated (NYSE:AZZ), and Zeltiq Aesthetics Inc (NASDAQ:ZLTQ). This group of stocks’ market values resemble CNS’s market value.

Ticker No of HFs with positions Total Value of HF Positions (x1000) Change in HF Position
NWN 11 22236 0
SWC 10 196295 -8
AZZ 7 34068 -4
ZLTQ 25 338023 -1

As you can see these stocks had an average of 13 hedge funds with bullish positions and the average amount invested in these stocks was $148 million. That figure was just $64 million in CNS’s case. Zeltiq Aesthetics Inc (NASDAQ:ZLTQ) is the most popular stock in this table. On the other hand AZZ Incorporated (NYSE:AZZ) is the least popular one with only 7 bullish hedge fund positions. Cohen & Steers, Inc. (NYSE:CNS) is not the least popular stock in this group, but hedge fund interest is still below average. This, coupled with the low value of hedge fund investment, is a slightly negative signal and we’d rather spend our time researching stocks that hedge funds are piling on. In this regard ZLTQ might be a better candidate to consider a long position.