Where Do Hedge Funds Stand On VSE Corporation (VSEC)?

In this article we will take a look at whether hedge funds think VSE Corporation (NASDAQ:VSEC) is a good investment right now. We check hedge fund and billionaire investor sentiment before delving into hours of research. Hedge funds spend millions of dollars on Ivy League graduates, unconventional data sources, expert networks, and get tips from investment bankers and industry insiders. Sure they sometimes fail miserably, but their consensus stock picks historically outperformed the market after adjusting for known risk factors.

Is VSE Corporation (NASDAQ:VSEC) a buy, sell, or hold? Investors who are in the know were in an optimistic mood. The number of bullish hedge fund positions moved up by 1 recently. VSE Corporation (NASDAQ:VSEC) was in 3 hedge funds’ portfolios at the end of the third quarter of 2020. The all time high for this statistics is 7. Our calculations also showed that VSEC isn’t among the 30 most popular stocks among hedge funds (click for Q3 rankings and see the video for a quick look at the top 5 stocks). There were 2 hedge funds in our database with VSEC holdings at the end of June.

Video: Watch our video about the top 5 most popular hedge fund stocks.

So, why do we pay attention to hedge fund sentiment before making any investment decisions? Our research has shown that hedge funds’ small-cap stock picks managed to beat the market by double digits annually between 1999 and 2016, but the margin of outperformance has been declining in recent years. Nevertheless, we were still able to identify in advance a select group of hedge fund holdings that outperformed the S&P 500 ETFs by more than 66 percentage points since March 2017 (see the details here). We were also able to identify in advance a select group of hedge fund holdings that underperformed the market by 10 percentage points annually between 2006 and 2017. Interestingly the margin of underperformance of these stocks has been increasing in recent years. Investors who are long the market and short these stocks would have returned more than 27% annually between 2015 and 2017. We have been tracking and sharing the list of these stocks since February 2017 in our quarterly newsletter. Even if you aren’t comfortable with shorting stocks, you should at least avoid initiating long positions in stocks that are in our short portfolio.

Peter Rathjens Arrowstreet Capital 394

Peter Rathjens of Arrowstreet Capital

At Insider Monkey we scour multiple sources to uncover the next great investment idea. For example, Federal Reserve has been creating trillions of dollars electronically to keep the interest rates near zero. We believe this will lead to inflation and boost real estate prices. So, we recommended this real estate stock to our monthly premium newsletter subscribers. We go through lists like the 10 most profitable companies in the world to pick the best large-cap stocks to buy. 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 website. Keeping this in mind we’re going to take a look at the latest hedge fund action surrounding VSE Corporation (NASDAQ:VSEC).

How have hedgies been trading VSE Corporation (NASDAQ:VSEC)?

At the end of the third quarter, a total of 3 of the hedge funds tracked by Insider Monkey were bullish on this stock, a change of 50% from the previous quarter. The graph below displays the number of hedge funds with bullish position in VSEC over the last 21 quarters. So, let’s examine which hedge funds were among the top holders of the stock and which hedge funds were making big moves.

Among these funds, Arrowstreet Capital held the most valuable stake in VSE Corporation (NASDAQ:VSEC), which was worth $1 million at the end of the third quarter. On the second spot was Harbert Management which amassed $0.7 million worth of shares. Citadel Investment Group was 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 Harbert Management allocated the biggest weight to VSE Corporation (NASDAQ:VSEC), around 0.86% of its 13F portfolio. Arrowstreet Capital is also relatively very bullish on the stock, dishing out 0.0015 percent of its 13F equity portfolio to VSEC.

As aggregate interest increased, specific money managers have been driving this bullishness. Harbert Management, managed by Raymond J. Harbert, assembled the largest position in VSE Corporation (NASDAQ:VSEC). Harbert Management had $0.7 million invested in the company at the end of the quarter.

Let’s go over hedge fund activity in other stocks – not necessarily in the same industry as VSE Corporation (NASDAQ:VSEC) but similarly valued. These stocks are Pandion Therapeutics Inc. (NASDAQ:PAND), Urstadt Biddle Properties Inc. (NYSE:UBP), Viemed Healthcare, Inc. (NASDAQ:VMD), Caesarstone Ltd (NASDAQ:CSTE), Revlon Inc (NYSE:REV), LendingClub Corp (NYSE:LC), and The Hackett Group, Inc. (NASDAQ:HCKT). All of these stocks’ market caps are similar to VSEC’s market cap.

Ticker No of HFs with positions Total Value of HF Positions (x1000) Change in HF Position
PAND 14 68560 14
UBP 3 700 2
VMD 14 22879 8
CSTE 6 12320 -1
REV 32 253557 -2
LC 13 13470 1
HCKT 15 85266 -2
Average 13.9 65250 2.9

View table here if you experience formatting issues.

As you can see these stocks had an average of 13.9 hedge funds with bullish positions and the average amount invested in these stocks was $65 million. That figure was $2 million in VSEC’s case. Revlon Inc (NYSE:REV) is the most popular stock in this table. On the other hand Urstadt Biddle Properties Inc. (NYSE:UBP) is the least popular one with only 3 bullish hedge fund positions. Compared to these stocks VSE Corporation (NASDAQ:VSEC) is even less popular than UBP. Our overall hedge fund sentiment score for VSEC is 18.9. 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. Hedge funds clearly dropped the ball on VSEC as the stock delivered strong returns, though hedge funds’ consensus picks still generated respectable returns. Our calculations showed that top 20 most popular stocks among hedge funds returned 41.3% in 2019 and outperformed the S&P 500 ETF (SPY) by 10 percentage points. These stocks gained 28.1% in 2020 through November 23rd and still beat the market by 15.4 percentage points. A small number of hedge funds were also right about betting on VSEC as the stock returned 15% since Q3 (through November 23rd) and outperformed the market by an even larger margin.

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