Should You Avoid ConocoPhillips (NYSE:COP)?

ConocoPhillips (NYSE:COP) was in 36 hedge funds’ portfolio at the end of the fourth quarter of 2012. COP has seen a decrease in support from the world’s most elite money managers lately. There were 43 hedge funds in our database with COP positions at the end of the previous quarter.

ConocoPhillips (COP)

In the 21st century investor’s toolkit, there are tons of gauges investors can use to track Mr. Market. Two of the most useful are hedge fund and insider trading sentiment. At Insider Monkey, our research analyses have shown that, historically, those who follow the best picks of the best hedge fund managers can beat the market by a very impressive amount (see just how much).

Just as key, bullish insider trading activity is a second way to parse down the world of equities. Just as you’d expect, there are lots of motivations for an upper level exec to drop shares of his or her company, but just one, very obvious reason why they would initiate a purchase. Several empirical studies have demonstrated the impressive potential of this strategy if shareholders understand where to look (learn more here).

With these “truths” under our belt, we’re going to take a glance at the recent action regarding ConocoPhillips (NYSE:COP).

What does the smart money think about ConocoPhillips (NYSE:COP)?

Heading into 2013, a total of 36 of the hedge funds we track were long in this stock, a change of -16% from the previous quarter. With hedgies’ capital changing hands, there exists a few notable hedge fund managers who were increasing their stakes considerably.

Of the funds we track, Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway had the most valuable position in ConocoPhillips (NYSE:COP), worth close to $1.399 billion, comprising 1.9% of its total 13F portfolio. The second largest stake is held by Jean-Marie Eveillard of First Eagle Investment Management, with a $511 million position; 0% of its 13F portfolio is allocated to the stock. Remaining hedge funds that hold long positions include Donald Yacktman’s Yacktman Asset Management, John Overdeck and David Siegel’s Two Sigma Advisors and Michael Messner’s Seminole Capital (Investment Mgmt).

Seeing as ConocoPhillips (NYSE:COP) has experienced a declination in interest from hedge fund managers, it’s easy to see that there was a specific group of hedge funds who sold off their entire stakes in Q4. Interestingly, Bart Baum’s Ionic Capital Management sold off the biggest position of the “upper crust” of funds we track, comprising about $26 million in call options, and Peter Rathjens, Bruce Clarke and John Campbell of Arrowstreet Capital was right behind this move, as the fund cut about $10 million worth. These transactions are important to note, as aggregate hedge fund interest dropped by 7 funds in Q4.

What have insiders been doing with ConocoPhillips (NYSE:COP)?

Insider purchases made by high-level executives is at its handiest when the company in question has seen transactions within the past 180 days. Over the last 180-day time frame, ConocoPhillips (NYSE:COP) has seen zero unique insiders buying, and 2 insider sales (see the details of insider trades here).

With the results shown by Insider Monkey’s research, everyday investors should always monitor hedge fund and insider trading sentiment, and ConocoPhillips (NYSE:COP) shareholders fit into this picture quite nicely.

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