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Should You Consider Investing in Unilever PLC (UL)?

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Fiduciary Management, an investment management firm, published its "International Equity Fund" second quarter 2021 investor letter – a copy of which can be downloaded here. The FMI International portfolios gained approximately 4.7% (currency hedged) and 4.8% (currency unhedged) in the period, respectively, which compares with an MSCI EAFE Index gain of 4.79% in local currency (LOC) and 5.17% in U.S. Dollars (USD). You can view the fund’s top 5 holdings to have an idea about their top bets for 2021.

In the Q2 2021 investor letter of Fiduciary Management, the fund mentioned Unilever PLC (NYSE: UL), and discussed its stance on the firm. Unilever PLC is a London, United Kingdom-based consumer goods company, that currently has a $149.8 billion market capitalization. UL delivered a -5.28% return since the beginning of the year, while its 12-month returns are down by -5.37%. The stock closed at $56.89 per share on August 04, 2021.

Here is what Fiduciary Management has to say about Unilever PLC in its Q2 2021 investor letter:

"New opportunities… when, where, and why? As disciplined investors, we find ourselves leaning into the wind time and again, and 2021 has been no different. Given the weakness in emerging markets, companies with significant revenue in emerging markets provided a handful of interesting opportunities. For example, we added to our position in Unilever PLC, a blue‐chip consumer staple. The company’s large emerging market exposure (over 50% of revenue), which, historically, had been viewed positively by the market due to better long‐term growth prospects, has weighed on the stock more recently. Growth is expected to rebound as these geographies recover, and the stock trades at a meaningful discount to its peers."

brand, name, cosmetic, soap, bath, beauty, fresh, clean, company, brand, care, skincare, shower,
brand, name, cosmetic, soap, bath, beauty, fresh, clean, company, brand, care, skincare, shower,

Emilio100 / Shutterstock.com

Based on our calculations, Unilever PLC (NYSE: UL) was not able to clinch a spot in our list of the 30 Most Popular Stocks Among Hedge Funds. UL was in 20 hedge fund portfolios at the end of the first quarter of 2021, compared to 25 funds in the fourth quarter of 2020. Unilever PLC (NYSE: UL) delivered a -4.24% return in the past 3 months.

Hedge funds’ reputation as shrewd investors has been tarnished in the last decade as their hedged returns couldn’t keep up with the unhedged returns of the market indices. 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 115 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.

At Insider Monkey, we scour multiple sources to uncover the next great investment idea. For example, pet market is growing at a 7% annual rate and is expected to reach $110 billion in 2021. So, we are checking out the 5 best stocks for animal lovers. We go through lists like the 10 best battery 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.

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