Where Do Hedge Funds Stand On Willis Lease Finance Corporation (WLFC)?

Hedge Funds and other institutional investors have just completed filing their 13Fs with the Securities and Exchange Commission, revealing their equity portfolios as of the end of September. At Insider Monkey, we follow nearly 817 active hedge funds and notable investors and by analyzing their 13F filings, we can determine the stocks that they are collectively bullish on. One of their picks is Willis Lease Finance Corporation (NASDAQ:WLFC), so let’s take a closer look at the sentiment that surrounds it in the current quarter.

Willis Lease Finance Corporation (NASDAQ:WLFC) was in 3 hedge funds’ portfolios at the end of the third quarter of 2020. The all time high for this statistics is 8. WLFC shareholders have witnessed an increase in activity from the world’s largest hedge funds of late. There were 2 hedge funds in our database with WLFC positions at the end of the second quarter. Our calculations also showed that WLFC 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).

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

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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 let’s analyze the latest hedge fund action surrounding Willis Lease Finance Corporation (NASDAQ:WLFC).

How have hedgies been trading Willis Lease Finance Corporation (NASDAQ:WLFC)?

Heading into the fourth quarter of 2020, 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. On the other hand, there were a total of 4 hedge funds with a bullish position in WLFC a year ago. So, let’s check out which hedge funds were among the top holders of the stock and which hedge funds were making big moves.

Is WLFC A Good Stock To Buy?

According to publicly available hedge fund and institutional investor holdings data compiled by Insider Monkey, John Orrico’s Water Island Capital has the number one position in Willis Lease Finance Corporation (NASDAQ:WLFC), worth close to $65.3 million, comprising 5.5% of its total 13F portfolio. The second most bullish fund manager is  Renaissance Technologies, with a $7.3 million position; the fund has less than 0.1%% of its 13F portfolio invested in the stock. In terms of the portfolio weights assigned to each position Water Island Capital allocated the biggest weight to Willis Lease Finance Corporation (NASDAQ:WLFC), around 5.54% of its 13F portfolio. Renaissance Technologies is also relatively very bullish on the stock, setting aside 0.01 percent of its 13F equity portfolio to WLFC.

As aggregate interest increased, some big names were leading the bulls’ herd. Water Island Capital, managed by John Orrico, assembled the largest position in Willis Lease Finance Corporation (NASDAQ:WLFC). Water Island Capital had $65.3 million invested in the company at the end of the quarter.

Let’s now review hedge fund activity in other stocks – not necessarily in the same industry as Willis Lease Finance Corporation (NASDAQ:WLFC) but similarly valued. These stocks are Ambow Education Holding Ltd. (NYSE:AMBO), Aclaris Therapeutics, Inc. (NASDAQ:ACRS), Tonix Pharmaceuticals Holding Corp. (NASDAQ:TNXP), Pro-Dex, Inc. (NASDAQ:PDEX), X4 Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NASDAQ:XFOR), Kura Sushi USA, Inc. (NASDAQ:KRUS), and Cumulus Media Inc (NASDAQ:CMLS). All of these stocks’ market caps are closest to WLFC’s market cap.

Ticker No of HFs with positions Total Value of HF Positions (x1000) Change in HF Position
AMBO 1 384 0
ACRS 16 45519 -2
TNXP 2 135 1
PDEX 3 1841 1
XFOR 8 23452 -2
KRUS 5 17140 1
CMLS 7 24191 -4
Average 6 16095 -0.7

View table here if you experience formatting issues.

As you can see these stocks had an average of 6 hedge funds with bullish positions and the average amount invested in these stocks was $16 million. That figure was $73 million in WLFC’s case. Aclaris Therapeutics, Inc. (NASDAQ:ACRS) is the most popular stock in this table. On the other hand Ambow Education Holding Ltd. (NYSE:AMBO) is the least popular one with only 1 bullish hedge fund positions. Willis Lease Finance Corporation (NASDAQ:WLFC) is not the least popular stock in this group but hedge fund interest is still below average. Our overall hedge fund sentiment score for WLFC is 23.9. 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. 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 WLFC as the stock returned 58.8% since the end of the third quarter (through 11/23) and outperformed the market by an even larger margin.

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