Were Hedge Funds Right About Wells Fargo & Company (WFC)?

After several tireless days we have finished crunching the numbers from nearly 900 13F filings issued by the elite hedge funds and other investment firms that we track at Insider Monkey, which disclosed those firms’ equity portfolios as of March 31st. The results of that effort will be put on display in this article, as we share valuable insight into the smart money sentiment towards Wells Fargo & Company (NYSE:WFC).

Is Wells Fargo & Company (NYSE:WFC) a bargain? The best stock pickers were taking a bearish view. The number of bullish hedge fund bets fell by 3 lately. Wells Fargo & Company (NYSE:WFC) was in 96 hedge funds’ portfolios at the end of the first quarter of 2021. The all time high for this statistic is 104. Our calculations also showed that WFC ranked #25 among the 30 most popular stocks among hedge funds (click for Q1 rankings).

If you’d ask most investors, hedge funds are assumed to be unimportant, outdated financial tools of the past. While there are over 8000 funds trading at the moment, Our experts look at the elite of this club, around 850 funds. These hedge fund managers orchestrate the lion’s share of all hedge funds’ total capital, and by keeping track of their unrivaled equity investments, Insider Monkey has figured out a number of investment strategies that have historically outpaced Mr. Market. Insider Monkey’s flagship short hedge fund strategy exceeded the S&P 500 short ETFs by around 20 percentage points per year since its inception in March 2017. Also, our monthly newsletter’s portfolio of long stock picks returned 206.8% since March 2017 (through May 2021) and beat the S&P 500 Index by more than 115 percentage points. You can download a sample issue of this newsletter on our website.

Dmitry Balyasny of Balyasny Asset Managemnet

Dmitry Balyasny of Balyasny Asset Management

At Insider Monkey, we scour multiple sources to uncover the next great investment idea. For example, lithium mining is one of the fastest growing industries right now, so we are checking out stock pitches like this emerging lithium stock. We go through lists like the 10 best EV stocks to pick the next Tesla that will deliver a 10x return. Even though we recommend positions in only a tiny fraction of the companies we analyze, we check out as many stocks as we can. We read hedge fund investor letters and listen to stock pitches at hedge fund conferences. You can subscribe to our free daily newsletter on our homepage. With all of this in mind let’s check out the new hedge fund action surrounding Wells Fargo & Company (NYSE:WFC).

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

At the end of March, a total of 96 of the hedge funds tracked by Insider Monkey held long positions in this stock, a change of -3% from the previous quarter. By comparison, 76 hedge funds held shares or bullish call options in WFC a year ago. With the smart money’s capital changing hands, there exists a few noteworthy hedge fund managers who were upping their stakes considerably (or already accumulated large positions).

Is WFC A Good Stock To Buy?

Among these funds, Eagle Capital Management held the most valuable stake in Wells Fargo & Company (NYSE:WFC), which was worth $1680 million at the end of the fourth quarter. On the second spot was Pzena Investment Management which amassed $788.3 million worth of shares. Theleme Partners, D E Shaw, 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 Theleme Partners allocated the biggest weight to Wells Fargo & Company (NYSE:WFC), around 25.66% of its 13F portfolio. Magnolia Capital Fund is also relatively very bullish on the stock, setting aside 20.64 percent of its 13F equity portfolio to WFC.

Judging by the fact that Wells Fargo & Company (NYSE:WFC) has faced a decline in interest from the entirety of the hedge funds we track, it’s easy to see that there was a specific group of fund managers that elected to cut their positions entirely last quarter. At the top of the heap, Snehal Amin’s Windacre Partnership dumped the biggest stake of the 750 funds monitored by Insider Monkey, comprising close to $369.5 million in stock, and John Overdeck and David Siegel’s Two Sigma Advisors was right behind this move, as the fund sold off about $278.7 million worth. These transactions are intriguing to say the least, as aggregate hedge fund interest fell by 3 funds last quarter.

Let’s now review hedge fund activity in other stocks – not necessarily in the same industry as Wells Fargo & Company (NYSE:WFC) but similarly valued. These stocks are Danaher Corporation (NYSE:DHR), Medtronic plc (NYSE:MDT), Novo Nordisk A/S (NYSE:NVO), Costco Wholesale Corporation (NASDAQ:COST), T-Mobile US, Inc. (NYSE:TMUS), Citigroup Inc. (NYSE:C), and Royal Dutch Shell plc (NYSE:RDS). This group of stocks’ market values resemble WFC’s market value.

Ticker No of HFs with positions Total Value of HF Positions (x1000) Change in HF Position
DHR 81 5796963 0
MDT 65 3627546 6
NVO 23 2929727 0
COST 56 4014769 -5
TMUS 98 9055738 -5
C 90 6938143 -5
RDS 36 2190186 2
Average 64.1 4936153 -1

View table here if you experience formatting issues.

As you can see these stocks had an average of 64.1 hedge funds with bullish positions and the average amount invested in these stocks was $4936 million. That figure was $7455 million in WFC’s case. T-Mobile US, Inc. (NYSE:TMUS) is the most popular stock in this table. On the other hand Novo Nordisk A/S (NYSE:NVO) is the least popular one with only 23 bullish hedge fund positions. Wells Fargo & Company (NYSE:WFC) is not the most popular stock in this group but hedge fund interest is still above average. Our overall hedge fund sentiment score for WFC is 78.4. 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 5 most popular stocks among hedge funds returned 95.8% in 2019 and 2020, and outperformed the S&P 500 ETF (SPY) by 40 percentage points. These stocks gained 25.8% in 2021 through August 6th and still beat the market by 6.7 percentage points. Hedge funds were also right about betting on WFC as the stock returned 25.6% since the end of Q1 (through 8/6) and outperformed the market. Hedge funds were rewarded for their relative bullishness.

Follow Wells Fargo & Company (NYSE:WFC)

Suggested Articles:

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