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Is Express, Inc. (EXPR) A Good Stock To Buy?

Nina Todic

The 700+ hedge funds and famous money managers tracked by Insider Monkey have already compiled and submitted their 13F filings for the first quarter, which unveil their equity positions as of March 31. We went through these filings, fixed typos and other more significant errors and identified the changes in hedge fund portfolios. Our extensive review of these public filings is finally over, so this article is set to reveal the smart money sentiment towards Express, Inc. (NYSE:EXPR).

Is Express, Inc. (NYSE:EXPR) a buy, sell, or hold? Money managers are taking a pessimistic view. The number of bullish hedge fund positions retreated by 3 in recent months. Our calculations also showed that expr isn't among the 30 most popular stocks among hedge funds. EXPR was in 14 hedge funds' portfolios at the end of the first quarter of 2019. There were 17 hedge funds in our database with EXPR holdings at the end of the previous quarter.

In the financial world there are a large number of tools investors have at their disposal to grade stocks. A pair of the most under-the-radar tools are hedge fund and insider trading indicators. We have shown that, historically, those who follow the top picks of the best fund managers can outperform the broader indices by a solid amount. Insider Monkey's flagship best performing hedge funds strategy returned 25.8% year to date (through May 30th) and outperformed the market even though it draws its stock picks among small-cap stocks. This strategy also outperformed the market by 40 percentage points since its inception (see the details here). That's why we believe hedge fund sentiment is a useful indicator that investors should pay attention to.

[caption id="attachment_30621" align="aligncenter" width="487"] Cliff Asness of AQR Capital Management[/caption]

AQR CAPITAL MANAGEMENT

Let's analyze the new hedge fund action surrounding Express, Inc. (NYSE:EXPR).

How are hedge funds trading Express, Inc. (NYSE:EXPR)?

At Q1's end, a total of 14 of the hedge funds tracked by Insider Monkey were bullish on this stock, a change of -18% from the fourth quarter of 2018. Below, you can check out the change in hedge fund sentiment towards EXPR over the last 15 quarters. So, let's see which hedge funds were among the top holders of the stock and which hedge funds were making big moves.

No of Hedge Funds with EXPR Positions

More specifically, Arrowstreet Capital was the largest shareholder of Express, Inc. (NYSE:EXPR), with a stake worth $11 million reported as of the end of March. Trailing Arrowstreet Capital was Renaissance Technologies, which amassed a stake valued at $6.1 million. AQR Capital Management, D E Shaw, and Divisar Capital were also very fond of the stock, giving the stock large weights in their portfolios.

Seeing as Express, Inc. (NYSE:EXPR) has faced bearish sentiment from the aggregate hedge fund industry, it's easy to see that there lies a certain "tier" of money managers that decided to sell off their entire stakes by the end of the third quarter. Intriguingly, Joseph A. Jolson's Harvest Capital Strategies cut the largest stake of the "upper crust" of funds tracked by Insider Monkey, comprising about $14.6 million in stock, and Brian C. Freckmann's Lyon Street Capital was right behind this move, as the fund sold off about $1.5 million worth. These transactions are important to note, as aggregate hedge fund interest was cut by 3 funds by the end of the third quarter.

Let's go over hedge fund activity in other stocks - not necessarily in the same industry as Express, Inc. (NYSE:EXPR) but similarly valued. These stocks are Gamida Cell Ltd. (NASDAQ:GMDA), Concert Pharmaceuticals Inc (NASDAQ:CNCE), IMCD N.V. (OTC:IMDZ), and Intelligent Systems Corporation (NYSE:INS). This group of stocks' market caps are similar to EXPR's market cap.

[table] Ticker, No of HFs with positions, Total Value of HF Positions (x1000), Change in HF Position GMDA,1,218,0 CNCE,12,70032,0 IMDZ,11,48190,3 INS,5,75980,3 Average,7.25,48605,1.5 [/table]

View table here if you experience formatting issues.

As you can see these stocks had an average of 7.25 hedge funds with bullish positions and the average amount invested in these stocks was $49 million. That figure was $37 million in EXPR's case. Concert Pharmaceuticals Inc (NASDAQ:CNCE) is the most popular stock in this table. On the other hand Gamida Cell Ltd. (NASDAQ:GMDA) is the least popular one with only 1 bullish hedge fund positions. Compared to these stocks Express, Inc. (NYSE:EXPR) is more popular among hedge funds. Our calculations showed that top 20 most popular stocks among hedge funds returned 6.2% in Q2 through June 19th and outperformed the S&P 500 ETF (SPY) by nearly 3 percentage points. Unfortunately EXPR wasn't nearly as popular as these 20 stocks and hedge funds that were betting on EXPR were disappointed as the stock returned -37.4% during the same period and underperformed the market. If you are interested in investing in large cap stocks with huge upside potential, you should check out the top 20 most popular stocks among hedge funds as 13 of these stocks already outperformed the market in Q2.

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

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