Williams Companies, Inc. (NYSE:WMB): Hedge Funds and Insiders Are Bullish, What Should You Do?

Williams Companies, Inc. (NYSE:WMB) was in 41 hedge funds’ portfolio at the end of December. WMB investors should be aware of an increase in support from the world’s most elite money managers lately. There were 35 hedge funds in our database with WMB holdings at the end of the previous quarter.

If you’d ask most shareholders, hedge funds are perceived as slow, outdated investment vehicles of the past. While there are more than 8000 funds trading today, we choose to focus on the bigwigs of this group, around 450 funds. It is estimated that this group controls the lion’s share of all hedge funds’ total asset base, and by paying attention to their highest performing picks, we have deciphered a number of investment strategies that have historically outstripped the S&P 500 index. Our small-cap hedge fund strategy outstripped the S&P 500 index by 18 percentage points a year for a decade in our back tests, and since we’ve started sharing our picks with our subscribers at the end of August 2012, we have trumped the S&P 500 index by 25 percentage points in 6.5 month (see the details here).

Equally as integral, optimistic insider trading activity is another way to parse down the financial markets. As the old adage goes: there are many incentives for an upper level exec to drop shares of his or her company, but just one, very obvious reason why they would buy. Many empirical studies have demonstrated the market-beating potential of this tactic if piggybackers understand where to look (learn more here).

Consequently, let’s take a peek at the recent action surrounding Williams Companies, Inc. (NYSE:WMB).

Hedge fund activity in Williams Companies, Inc. (NYSE:WMB)

Heading into 2013, a total of 41 of the hedge funds we track held long positions in this stock, a change of 17% from the third quarter. With hedge funds’ positions undergoing their usual ebb and flow, there exists a select group of noteworthy hedge fund managers who were boosting their stakes significantly.

When looking at the hedgies we track, Viking Global, managed by Andreas Halvorsen, holds the most valuable position in Williams Companies, Inc. (NYSE:WMB). Viking Global has a $637 million billion position in the stock, comprising 4.4% of its 13F portfolio. Coming in second is Fir Tree, managed by Jeffrey Tannenbaum, which held a $171 million position; 11.2% of its 13F portfolio is allocated to the stock. Some other hedgies that are bullish include Doug Silverman’s Senator Investment Group, Keith Meister’s Corvex Capital and Leon Cooperman’s Omega Advisors.

Consequently, key hedge funds have been driving this bullishness. SAB Capital Management, managed by Brian Jackelow, initiated the most outsized position in Williams Companies, Inc. (NYSE:WMB). SAB Capital Management had 76 million invested in the company at the end of the quarter. John Burbank’s Passport Capital also initiated a $61 million position during the quarter. The following funds were also among the new WMB investors: Bruce Kovner’s Caxton Associates LP, , and Jacob Doft’s Highline Capital Management.

Insider trading activity in Williams Companies, Inc. (NYSE:WMB)

Bullish insider trading is most useful when the company in question has seen transactions within the past 180 days. Over the last half-year time frame, Williams Companies, Inc. (NYSE:WMB) has seen 1 unique insiders buying, and 5 insider sales (see the details of insider trades here).

With the returns demonstrated by Insider Monkey’s strategies, retail investors should always pay attention to hedge fund and insider trading sentiment, and Williams Companies, Inc. (NYSE:WMB) shareholders fit into this picture quite nicely.

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Insider Monkey’s small-cap strategy returned 29.2% between September 2012 and February 2013 versus 8.7% for the S&P 500 index. Try it now by clicking the link above.