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Is Griffin Industrial Realty, Inc. (GRIF) A Good Stock To Buy?

Asma UL Husna

The latest 13F reporting period has come and gone, and Insider Monkey is again at the forefront when it comes to making use of this gold mine of data. We at Insider Monkey have plowed through 821 13F filings that hedge funds and well-known value investors are required to file by the SEC. The 13F filings show the funds' and investors' portfolio positions as of March 31st, a week after the market trough. In this article we look at what those investors think of Griffin Industrial Realty, Inc. (NASDAQ:GRIF).

Is Griffin Industrial Realty, Inc. (NASDAQ:GRIF) a buy here? The best stock pickers are becoming hopeful. The number of long hedge fund positions moved up by 1 recently. Our calculations also showed that GRIF isn't among the 30 most popular stocks among hedge funds (click for Q1 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.

So, why do we pay attention to hedge fund sentiment before making any investment decisions? 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 more than 44 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. Even if you aren't comfortable with shorting stocks, you should at least avoid initiating long positions in stocks that are in our short portfolio.

[caption id="attachment_341290" align="aligncenter" width="399"] Phillip Goldstein of Bulldog Investors[/caption]

At Insider Monkey we leave no stone unturned when looking for the next great investment idea. For example, legendary investor Bill Miller told investors to sell 7 extremely popular recession stocks last month. So, we went through his list and recommended another stock with 100% upside potential instead. We interview hedge fund managers and ask them about their best ideas. If you want to find out the best healthcare stock to buy right now, you can watch our latest hedge fund manager interview here. We read hedge fund investor letters and listen to stock pitches at hedge fund conferences. Our best call in 2020 was shorting the market when S&P 500 was trading at 3150 after realizing the coronavirus pandemic’s significance before most investors. Keeping this in mind we're going to check out the latest hedge fund action regarding Griffin Industrial Realty, Inc. (NASDAQ:GRIF).

How have hedgies been trading Griffin Industrial Realty, Inc. (NASDAQ:GRIF)?

At Q1's end, a total of 4 of the hedge funds tracked by Insider Monkey held long positions in this stock, a change of 33% from one quarter earlier. The graph below displays the number of hedge funds with bullish position in GRIF over the last 18 quarters. With hedgies' capital changing hands, there exists an "upper tier" of noteworthy hedge fund managers who were boosting their holdings substantially (or already accumulated large positions).

According to publicly available hedge fund and institutional investor holdings data compiled by Insider Monkey, GAMCO Investors, managed by Mario Gabelli, holds the number one position in Griffin Industrial Realty, Inc. (NASDAQ:GRIF). GAMCO Investors has a $22.1 million position in the stock, comprising 0.3% of its 13F portfolio. The second largest stake is held by Renaissance Technologies, which holds a $1.8 million position; less than 0.1%% of its 13F portfolio is allocated to the company. Remaining hedge funds and institutional investors that are bullish contain Phillip Goldstein, Andrew Dakos and Steven Samuels's Bulldog Investors, Frederick DiSanto's Ancora Advisors and . In terms of the portfolio weights assigned to each position Bulldog Investors allocated the biggest weight to Griffin Industrial Realty, Inc. (NASDAQ:GRIF), around 0.6% of its 13F portfolio. GAMCO Investors is also relatively very bullish on the stock, earmarking 0.26 percent of its 13F equity portfolio to GRIF.

As one would reasonably expect, key hedge funds were leading the bulls' herd. Bulldog Investors, managed by Phillip Goldstein, Andrew Dakos and Steven Samuels, established the most outsized position in Griffin Industrial Realty, Inc. (NASDAQ:GRIF). Bulldog Investors had $1.1 million invested in the company at the end of the quarter. Frederick DiSanto's Ancora Advisors also initiated a $0 million position during the quarter.

Let's now review hedge fund activity in other stocks similar to Griffin Industrial Realty, Inc. (NASDAQ:GRIF). These stocks are Spero Therapeutics, Inc. (NASDAQ:SPRO), U.S. Xpress Enterprises, Inc. (NYSE:USX), Gaia, Inc. (NASDAQ:GAIA), and Nymox Pharmaceutical Corporation (NASDAQ:NYMX). This group of stocks' market caps are closest to GRIF's market cap.

[table] Ticker, No of HFs with positions, Total Value of HF Positions (x1000), Change in HF Position SPRO,7,27260,0 USX,7,1063,1 GAIA,11,30002,2 NYMX,5,1340,0 Average,7.5,14916,0.75 [/table]

View table here if you experience formatting issues.

As you can see these stocks had an average of 7.5 hedge funds with bullish positions and the average amount invested in these stocks was $15 million. That figure was $25 million in GRIF's case. Gaia, Inc. (NASDAQ:GAIA) is the most popular stock in this table. On the other hand Nymox Pharmaceutical Corporation (NASDAQ:NYMX) is the least popular one with only 5 bullish hedge fund positions. Compared to these stocks Griffin Industrial Realty, Inc. (NASDAQ:GRIF) is even less popular than NYMX. Hedge funds clearly dropped the ball on GRIF as the stock delivered strong returns, though hedge funds' consensus picks still generated respectable returns. Our calculations showed that top 10 most popular stocks among hedge funds returned 41.4% in 2019 and outperformed the S&P 500 ETF (SPY) by 10.1 percentage points. These stocks gained 8.3% in 2020 through the end of May and still beat the market by 13.2 percentage points. A small number of hedge funds were also right about betting on GRIF as the stock returned 23.5% so far in the second quarter and outperformed the market by an even larger margin.

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

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