What Do Hedge Funds Think of Ashland Inc. (ASH)?

The Insider Monkey team has completed processing the quarterly 13F filings for the September quarter submitted by the hedge funds and other money managers included in our extensive database. Most hedge fund investors endured a torrid quarter, which certainly propelled them to adjust their equity holdings so as to maintain the desired risk profile. As a result, the relevancy of these public filings and their content is indisputable, as they may reveal numerous high-potential stocks. The following article will discuss the smart money sentiment towards Ashland Inc. (NYSE:ASH).

Ashland Inc. (NYSE:ASH) was in 36 hedge funds’ portfolios at the end of September. ASH has experienced a decrease in enthusiasm from smart money of late. There were 37 hedge funds in our database with ASH positions 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 Alnylam Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NASDAQ:ALNY), LG Display Co Ltd. (ADR) (NYSE:LPL), and Apollo Global Management LLC (NYSE:APO) to gather more data points.

Follow Ashland Inc. (NYSE:ASH)

According to most traders, hedge funds are perceived as slow, old investment vehicles of yesteryear. While there are more than an 8000 funds with their doors open at present, Our experts choose to focus on the crème de la crème of this group, approximately 700 funds. These hedge fund managers oversee bulk of all hedge funds’ total asset base, and by keeping track of their inimitable stock picks, Insider Monkey has come up with many investment strategies that have historically beaten the market. Insider Monkey’s small-cap hedge fund strategy outpaced the S&P 500 index by 12 percentage points a year for a decade in their back tests.

With all of this in mind, let’s take a peek at the key action encompassing Ashland Inc. (NYSE:ASH).

How have hedgies been trading Ashland Inc. (NYSE:ASH)?

Heading into Q4, a total of 36 of the hedge funds tracked by Insider Monkey were long this stock, a change of -3% from the second quarter. With hedge funds’ capital changing hands, there exists an “upper tier” of key hedge fund managers who were increasing their holdings significantly (or already accumulated large positions).

When looking at the institutional investors followed by Insider Monkey, Omega Advisors, managed by Leon Cooperman, holds the number one position in Ashland Inc. (NYSE:ASH). Omega Advisors has a $162.2 million position in the stock, comprising 3.3% of its 13F portfolio. The second largest stake is held by Steve Cohen of Point72 Asset Management, with a $54 million position; the fund has 0.4% of its 13F portfolio invested in the stock. Some other peers that hold long positions contain Cliff Asness’ AQR Capital Management, Israel Englander’s Millennium Management and Dmitry Balyasny’s Balyasny Asset Management.

Because Ashland Inc. (NYSE:ASH) has experienced falling interest from the entirety of the hedge funds we track, it’s easy to see that there is a sect of hedge funds who sold off their positions entirely by the end of the third quarter. At the top of the heap, Barry Rosenstein’s JANA Partners said goodbye to the biggest investment of the 700 funds watched by Insider Monkey, worth about $24.4 million in stock. Malcolm Fairbairn’s fund, Ascend Capital, also dumped its stock, about $14.3 million worth. These transactions are important to note, as total hedge fund interest fell by 1 funds by the end of the third quarter.

Let’s check out hedge fund activity in other stocks similar to Ashland Inc. (NYSE:ASH). These stocks are Alnylam Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NASDAQ:ALNY), LG Display Co Ltd. (ADR) (NYSE:LPL), Apollo Global Management LLC (NYSE:APO), and SS and C Technologies Holdings Inc (NASDAQ:SSNC). All of these stocks’ market caps resemble ASH’s market cap.

Ticker No of HFs with positions Total Value of HF Positions (x1000) Change in HF Position
ALNY 27 396840 -6
LPL 13 21812 0
APO 18 242364 -2
SSNC 38 992399 1

As you can see these stocks had an average of 24 hedge funds with bullish positions and the average amount invested in these stocks was $413 million. That figure was $686 million in ASH’s case. SS and C Technologies Holdings Inc (NASDAQ:SSNC) is the most popular stock in this table. On the other hand LG Display Co Ltd. (ADR) (NYSE:LPL) is the least popular one with only 13 bullish hedge fund positions. Ashland Inc. (NYSE:ASH) is not the most popular stock in this group but hedge fund interest is still above average. This is a slightly positive signal but we’d rather spend our time researching stocks that hedge funds are piling on. In this regard SSNC might be a better candidate to consider a long position.