Weingarten Realty Investors (WRI): Are Hedge Funds Right About This Stock?

Hedge fund managers like David Einhorn, Dan Loeb, or Carl Icahn became billionaires through reaping large profits for their investors, which is why piggybacking their stock picks may provide us with significant returns as well. Many hedge funds, like Paul Singer’s Elliott Management, are pretty secretive, but we can still get some insights by analyzing their quarterly 13F filings. One of the most fertile grounds for large abnormal returns is hedge funds’ most popular small-cap picks, which are not so widely followed and often trade at a discount to their intrinsic value. In this article we will check out hedge fund activity in another small-cap stock: Weingarten Realty Investors (NYSE:WRI).

Weingarten Realty Investors has experienced an increase in activity from the world’s largest hedge funds lately. WRI was in 13 hedge funds’ portfolios at the end of September. There were 11 hedge funds in our database with WRI holdings at the end of the previous quarter. The level and the change in hedge fund popularity aren’t the only variables you need to analyze to decipher hedge funds’ perspectives. A stock may witness a boost in popularity but it may still be less popular than similarly priced stocks. That’s why at the end of this article we will examine companies such as Visteon Corp (NYSE:VC), Old Republic International Corporation (NYSE:ORI), and Juno Therapeutics Inc (NASDAQ:JUNO) to gather more data points.

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Now, let’s review the key action regarding Weingarten Realty Investors (NYSE:WRI).

How are hedge funds trading Weingarten Realty Investors (NYSE:WRI)?

Heading into Q4, a total of 13 of the hedge funds tracked by Insider Monkey held long positions in this stock, a change of 18% from the previous quarter. With hedge funds’ positions undergoing their usual ebb and flow, there exists an “upper tier” of noteworthy hedge fund managers who were increasing their holdings considerably (or already accumulated large positions).

Of the funds tracked by Insider Monkey, Echo Street Capital Management, managed by Greg Poole, holds the most valuable position in Weingarten Realty Investors (NYSE:WRI). Echo Street Capital Management has a $27.4 million position in the stock, comprising 1% of its 13F portfolio. The second largest stake is held by Millennium Management, managed by Israel Englander, which holds a $8.9 million position; the fund has less than 0.1% of its 13F portfolio invested in the stock. Other members of the smart money with similar optimism contain Ken Griffin’s Citadel Investment Group, Cliff Asness’ AQR Capital Management and Ken Fisher’s Fisher Asset Management.

With a general bullishness amongst the heavyweights, specific money managers have jumped into Weingarten Realty Investors (NYSE:WRI) headfirst. Nine Chapters Capital Management, managed by Chao Ku, assembled the largest position in Weingarten Realty Investors (NYSE:WRI). Nine Chapters Capital Management had $2 million invested in the company at the end of the quarter. George Hall’s Clinton Group also made a $0.4 million investment in the stock during the quarter. The other funds with brand new WRI positions are Peter Rathjens, Bruce Clarke and John Campbell’s Arrowstreet Capital and Matthew Hulsizer’s PEAK6 Capital Management.

Let’s also examine hedge fund activity in other stocks – not necessarily in the same industry as Weingarten Realty Investors (NYSE:WRI) but similarly valued. We will take a look at Visteon Corp (NYSE:VC), Old Republic International Corporation (NYSE:ORI), Juno Therapeutics Inc (NASDAQ:JUNO), and United Microelectronics Corp (ADR) (NYSE:UMC). This group of stocks’ market values match WRI’s market value.

Ticker No of HFs with positions Total Value of HF Positions (x1000) Change in HF Position
VC 56 1559212 -1
ORI 21 172743 5
JUNO 14 27613 -13
UMC 9 19404 -2

As you can see these stocks had an average of 25 hedge funds with bullish positions and the average amount invested in these stocks was $445 million. That figure was $58 million in WRI’s case. Visteon Corp (NYSE:VC) is the most popular stock in this table. On the other hand United Microelectronics Corp (ADR) (NYSE:UMC) is the least popular one with only 9 bullish hedge fund positions. Weingarten Realty Investors (NYSE:WRI) is not the least popular stock in this group but hedge fund interest is still below average. This is a slightly negative signal and we’d rather spend our time researching stocks that hedge funds are piling on. In this regard VC might be a better candidate to consider a long position.