Symetra Financial Corporation (NYSE:SYA): Are Hedge Funds Right About This Stock? – Aviva Plc (ADR) (NYSE:AV), Primerica, Inc. (NYSE:PRI)

Is Symetra Financial Corporation (NYSE:SYA) a healthy stock for your portfolio? Investors who are in the know are getting less optimistic. The number of long hedge fund bets stayed the same which is a slightly negative development in our experience.

Symetra Financial Corporation (NYSE:SYA)

In today’s marketplace, there are tons of gauges market participants can use to track stocks. A duo of the best are hedge fund and insider trading interest. At Insider Monkey, our research analyses have shown that, historically, those who follow the top picks of the best fund managers can trounce the market by a healthy margin (see just how much).

Just as beneficial, optimistic insider trading sentiment is another way to parse down the investments you’re interested in. Obviously, there are lots of stimuli for a bullish insider to get rid of shares of his or her company, but just one, very obvious reason why they would behave bullishly. Various empirical studies have demonstrated the market-beating potential of this method if investors understand where to look (learn more here).

Keeping this in mind, we’re going to take a peek at the latest action surrounding Symetra Financial Corporation (NYSE:SYA).

Hedge fund activity in Symetra Financial Corporation (NYSE:SYA)

In preparation for this year, a total of 14 of the hedge funds we track were long in this stock, a change of 0% from one quarter earlier. With the smart money’s sentiment swirling, there exists an “upper tier” of noteworthy hedge fund managers who were boosting their holdings considerably.

Of the funds we track, Highfields Capital Management, managed by Jonathon Jacobson, holds the most valuable position in Symetra Financial Corporation (NYSE:SYA). Highfields Capital Management has a $50 million position in the stock, comprising 0.6% of its 13F portfolio. Coming in second is John Osterweis of Osterweis Capital Management, with a $38 million position; 0% of its 13F portfolio is allocated to the stock. Some other hedge funds that are bullish include Michael Price’s MFP Investors, David Dreman’s Dreman Value Management and D. E. Shaw’s D E Shaw.

Since Symetra Financial Corporation (NYSE:SYA) has witnessed bearish sentiment from hedge fund managers, we can see that there lies a certain “tier” of fund managers who sold off their full holdings last quarter. Intriguingly, Israel Englander’s Millennium Management cut the biggest position of the “upper crust” of funds we watch, valued at an estimated $1 million in stock., and Mike Vranos of Ellington was right behind this move, as the fund said goodbye to about $0 million worth. These moves are interesting, as total hedge fund interest stayed the same (this is a bearish signal in our experience).

What have insiders been doing with Symetra Financial Corporation (NYSE:SYA)?

Bullish insider trading is at its handiest when the primary stock in question has experienced transactions within the past six months. Over the last half-year time period, Symetra Financial Corporation (NYSE:SYA) has seen zero unique insiders buying, and zero insider sales (see the details of insider trades here).

Let’s go over hedge fund and insider activity in other stocks similar to Symetra Financial Corporation (NYSE:SYA). These stocks are Aviva Plc (ADR) (NYSE:AV), National Western Life Insurance Company (NASDAQ:NWLI), Protective Life Corp. (NYSE:PL), American Equity Investment Life Holding (NYSE:AEL), and Primerica, Inc. (NYSE:PRI). This group of stocks belong to the life insurance industry and their market caps match SYA’s market cap.

Company Name # of Hedge Funds # of Insiders Buying # of Insiders Selling
Aviva Plc (ADR) (NYSE:AV) 1 0 0
National Western Life Insurance Company (NASDAQ:NWLI) 4 0 0
Protective Life Corp. (NYSE:PL) 13 1 2
American Equity Investment Life Holding (NYSE:AEL) 14 1 3
Primerica, Inc. (NYSE:PRI) 15 0 12

With the returns exhibited by the aforementioned tactics, everyday investors must always keep an eye on hedge fund and insider trading sentiment, and Symetra Financial Corporation (NYSE:SYA) is no exception.

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Insider Monkey’s small-cap strategy returned 37% between September 2012 and March 2013 versus 12.9% for the S&P 500 index. Try it now by clicking the link above.