Should You Avoid United Rentals, Inc. (NYSE:URI)?

United Rentals, Inc. (NYSE:URI) was in 48 hedge funds’ portfolio at the end of the fourth quarter of 2012. URI shareholders have witnessed a decrease in enthusiasm from smart money lately. There were 49 hedge funds in our database with URI holdings at the end of the previous quarter.

In the eyes of most market participants, hedge funds are viewed as unimportant, outdated investment tools of the past. While there are greater than 8000 funds with their doors open today, we at Insider Monkey hone in on the bigwigs of this group, around 450 funds. It is estimated that this group oversees the lion’s share of all hedge funds’ total capital, and by watching their best stock picks, we have found a number of investment strategies that have historically outstripped the S&P 500 index. Our small-cap hedge fund strategy outperformed the S&P 500 index by 18 percentage points annually 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 all of our picks from August).

United Rentals, Inc. (NYSE:URI)

Just as key, positive insider trading sentiment is a second way to parse down the stock market universe. As the old adage goes: there are many stimuli for an upper level exec to drop shares of his or her company, but only one, very simple reason why they would initiate a purchase. Several academic studies have demonstrated the impressive potential of this tactic if piggybackers understand where to look (learn more here).

Consequently, we’re going to take a glance at the latest action regarding United Rentals, Inc. (NYSE:URI).

What does the smart money think about United Rentals, Inc. (NYSE:URI)?

Heading into 2013, a total of 48 of the hedge funds we track held long positions in this stock, a change of -2% from one quarter earlier. With hedgies’ sentiment swirling, there exists a few noteworthy hedge fund managers who were boosting their stakes considerably.

According to our comprehensive database, Glenn Russell Dubin’s Highbridge Capital Management had the largest position in United Rentals, Inc. (NYSE:URI), worth close to $113 million, accounting for 1.8% of its total 13F portfolio. On Highbridge Capital Management’s heels is Point State Capital, managed by Sean Cullinan, which held a $100 million position; 1.8% of its 13F portfolio is allocated to the company. Other hedgies with similar optimism include Paul ReederáandáEdward Shapiro’s PAR Capital Management, Crispin Odey’s Odey Asset Management Group and Ken Griffin’s Citadel Investment Group.

Due to the fact that United Rentals, Inc. (NYSE:URI) has faced bearish sentiment from hedge fund managers, we can see that there was a specific group of hedgies that slashed their full holdings heading into 2013. It’s worth mentioning that Wayne Cooperman’s Cobalt Capital Management said goodbye to the biggest position of the “upper crust” of funds we monitor, totaling an estimated $17 million in stock.. Bruce Kovner’s fund, Caxton Associates LP, also sold off its stock, about $15 million worth. These transactions are interesting, as total hedge fund interest was cut by 1 funds heading into 2013.

Insider trading activity in United Rentals, Inc. (NYSE:URI)

Insider purchases made by high-level executives is at its handiest when the company we’re looking at has experienced transactions within the past six months. Over the latest 180-day time frame, United Rentals, Inc. (NYSE:URI) has seen zero unique insiders buying, and 10 insider sales (see the details of insider trades here).

With the results exhibited by our strategies, retail investors should always pay attention to hedge fund and insider trading activity, and United Rentals, Inc. (NYSE:URI) shareholders fit into this picture quite nicely.

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