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Should You Continue to be Optimistic on Your LendingTree (TREE) Shares?

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Bernzott Capital Advisors, an investment management firm, published its “US Small Cap Value Fund” third quarter 2021 investor letter – a copy of which can be downloaded here. The portfolio fell -3.0% (gross) and -3.1% (net) during 3Q, in line with the Russell 2000 Value’s decline of -3.0%, and somewhat more than the Russell 2500 Value’s drop of -2.1%. You can take a look at the fund’s top 5 holdings to have an idea about their best picks for 2021.

Bernzott Capital Advisors, in its Q3 2021 investor letter, mentioned LendingTree, Inc. (NASDAQ: TREE) and discussed its stance on the firm. LendingTree, Inc. is a Charlotte, North Carolina-based online lending company with a $7 billion market capitalization. TREE delivered a -45.03% return since the beginning of the year, while its 12-month returns are down by -50.91%. The stock closed at $150.50 per share on November 9, 2010.

Here is what Bernzott Capital Advisors has to say about LendingTree, Inc. in its Q3 2021 investor letter:

"LendingTree (TREE): The company's continued investment in growth initiatives such as health and insurance have weighed on earnings momentum. As a result, the stock has been weak, and valuation has compressed below five-year averages. The important consumer loan and credit card lead generation businesses appear to have bottomed following a negative COVID-19 impact and look poised for growth which we expect will help drive a recovery in the stock price."

Based on our calculations, LendingTree, Inc. (NASDAQ: TREE) was not able to clinch a spot in our list of the 30 Most Popular Stocks Among Hedge Funds. TREE was in 30 hedge fund portfolios at the end of the first half of 2021, compared to 25 funds in the previous quarter. LendingTree, Inc. (NASDAQ: TREE) delivered a -17.01% 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. Recently we came across a high-growth stock that has tons of hidden assets and is trading at an extremely cheap valuation. We go through lists like the 10 best growth stocks to buy 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.