Was The Smart Money Right About Equitable Holdings, Inc. (EQH)?

The financial regulations require hedge funds and wealthy investors that exceeded the $100 million holdings threshold to file a report that shows their positions at the end of every quarter. Even though it isn’t the intention, these filings to a certain extent level the playing field for ordinary investors. The latest round of 13F filings disclosed the funds’ positions on December 31st. We at Insider Monkey have made an extensive database of more than 887 of those established hedge funds and famous value investors’ filings. In this article, we analyze how these elite funds and prominent investors traded Equitable Holdings, Inc. (NYSE:EQH) based on those filings.

Equitable Holdings, Inc. (NYSE:EQH) was in 46 hedge funds’ portfolios at the end of the fourth quarter of 2020. The all time high for this statistic was previously 39. This means the bullish number of hedge fund positions in this stock currently sits at its all time high. EQH has seen an increase in enthusiasm from smart money of late. There were 36 hedge funds in our database with EQH positions at the end of the third quarter. Our calculations also showed that EQH isn’t among the 30 most popular stocks among hedge funds (click for Q4 rankings).

If you’d ask most market participants, hedge funds are assumed to be unimportant, old financial vehicles of years past. While there are more than 8000 funds in operation today, Our researchers look at the leaders of this group, approximately 850 funds. These money managers have their hands on bulk of all hedge funds’ total asset base, and by keeping track of their best picks, Insider Monkey has uncovered several investment strategies that have historically outstripped the broader indices. Insider Monkey’s flagship short hedge fund strategy outstripped the S&P 500 short ETFs by around 20 percentage points a year since its inception in March 2017. Also, our monthly newsletter’s portfolio of long stock picks returned 197% since March 2017 (through March 2021) and beat the S&P 500 Index by 124 percentage points. You can download a sample issue of this newsletter on our website .

Andreas Halvorsen

Andreas Halvorsen of Viking Global

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Do Hedge Funds Think EQH Is A Good Stock To Buy Now?

Heading into the first quarter of 2021, a total of 46 of the hedge funds tracked by Insider Monkey held long positions in this stock, a change of 28% from the third quarter of 2020. On the other hand, there were a total of 33 hedge funds with a bullish position in EQH a year ago. So, let’s examine which hedge funds were among the top holders of the stock and which hedge funds were making big moves.

Is EQH A Good Stock To Buy?

Among these funds, Pzena Investment Management held the most valuable stake in Equitable Holdings, Inc. (NYSE:EQH), which was worth $503.3 million at the end of the fourth quarter. On the second spot was Sessa Capital which amassed $127 million worth of shares. Viking Global, Arrowstreet Capital, and Citadel Investment Group were also very fond of the stock, becoming one of the largest hedge fund holders of the company. In terms of the portfolio weights assigned to each position Soapstone Capital allocated the biggest weight to Equitable Holdings, Inc. (NYSE:EQH), around 12.12% of its 13F portfolio. Sessa Capital is also relatively very bullish on the stock, designating 8.13 percent of its 13F equity portfolio to EQH.

As aggregate interest increased, key money managers were leading the bulls’ herd. Viking Global, managed by Andreas Halvorsen, assembled the biggest position in Equitable Holdings, Inc. (NYSE:EQH). Viking Global had $99.1 million invested in the company at the end of the quarter. Louis Bacon’s Moore Global Investments also initiated a $23.7 million position during the quarter. The other funds with brand new EQH positions are Viraj Mehta’s Arctis Global, Allon Hellmann’s Full18 Capital, and Ryan Tolkin (CIO)’s Schonfeld Strategic Advisors.

Let’s now review hedge fund activity in other stocks similar to Equitable Holdings, Inc. (NYSE:EQH). These stocks are Appian Corporation (NASDAQ:APPN), UDR, Inc. (NYSE:UDR), Yatsen Holding Limited (NYSE:YSG), Whirlpool Corporation (NYSE:WHR), Kirkland Lake Gold Ltd. (NYSE:KL), Vail Resorts, Inc. (NYSE:MTN), and Apollo Global Management Inc (NYSE:APO). This group of stocks’ market caps are closest to EQH’s market cap.

Ticker No of HFs with positions Total Value of HF Positions (x1000) Change in HF Position
APPN 24 1163680 9
UDR 23 482699 -3
YSG 26 310970 26
WHR 32 1050870 4
KL 24 498090 2
MTN 31 937968 1
APO 30 2052942 2
Average 27.1 928174 5.9

View table here if you experience formatting issues.

As you can see these stocks had an average of 27.1 hedge funds with bullish positions and the average amount invested in these stocks was $928 million. That figure was $1270 million in EQH’s case. Whirlpool Corporation (NYSE:WHR) is the most popular stock in this table. On the other hand UDR, Inc. (NYSE:UDR) is the least popular one with only 23 bullish hedge fund positions. Compared to these stocks Equitable Holdings, Inc. (NYSE:EQH) is more popular among hedge funds. Our overall hedge fund sentiment score for EQH is 90. Stocks with higher number of hedge fund positions relative to other stocks as well as relative to their historical range receive a higher sentiment score. Our calculations showed that top 10 most popular stocks among hedge funds returned 90.7% in 2019 and 2020, and outperformed the S&P 500 ETF (SPY) by 35 percentage points. These stocks returned 13.6% in 2021 through April 30th but still managed to beat the market by 1.6 percentage points. Hedge funds were also right about betting on EQH as the stock returned 34.5% since the end of December (through 4/30) and outperformed the market by an even larger margin. Hedge funds were clearly right about piling into this stock relative to other stocks with similar market capitalizations.

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Disclosure: None. This article was originally published at Insider Monkey.