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Hedge Funds Are Buying Autolus Therapeutics plc (AUTL)

Abigail Fisher

Insider Monkey has processed numerous 13F filings of hedge funds and successful value investors to create an extensive database of hedge fund holdings. The 13F filings show the hedge funds' and successful investors' positions as of the end of the first quarter. You can find articles about an individual hedge fund's trades on numerous financial news websites. However, in this article we will take a look at their collective moves over the last 4.5 years and analyze what the smart money thinks of Autolus Therapeutics plc (NASDAQ:AUTL) based on that data and determine whether they were really smart about the stock.

Is Autolus Therapeutics plc (NASDAQ:AUTL) a buy, sell, or hold? The smart money was taking an optimistic view. The number of bullish hedge fund bets moved up by 2 in recent months. Our calculations also showed that AUTL 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). AUTL was in 13 hedge funds' portfolios at the end of the first quarter of 2020. There were 11 hedge funds in our database with AUTL holdings at the end of the previous quarter. Video: Watch our video about the top 5 most popular hedge fund stocks.

If you'd ask most traders, hedge funds are perceived as worthless, old investment vehicles of yesteryear. While there are more than 8000 funds in operation at present, Our experts look at the bigwigs of this group, approximately 850 funds. These investment experts manage the majority of the hedge fund industry's total capital, and by observing their top picks, Insider Monkey has uncovered various investment strategies that have historically surpassed the market. Insider Monkey's flagship short hedge fund strategy outperformed the S&P 500 short ETFs by around 20 percentage points per year since its inception in March 2017. Our portfolio of short stocks lost 36% since February 2017 (through May 18th) even though the market was up 30% during the same period. We just shared a list of 8 short targets in our latest quarterly update .

[caption id="attachment_688214" align="aligncenter" width="398"] Kamran Moghtaderi of Eversept Partners[/caption]

At Insider Monkey we scour multiple sources to uncover the next great investment idea. There is a lot of volatility in the markets and this presents amazing investment opportunities from time to time. For example, this trader claims to deliver juiced up returns with one trade a week, so we are checking out his highest conviction idea. A second trader claims to score lucrative profits by utilizing a "weekend trading strategy", so we look into his strategy's picks. We read hedge fund investor letters and listen to stock pitches at hedge fund conferences. We recently recommended several stocks partly inspired by legendary Bill Miller's investor letter. Our best call in 2020 was shorting the market when the S&P 500 was trading at 3150 in February after realizing the coronavirus pandemic’s significance before most investors. Now let's view the recent hedge fund action regarding Autolus Therapeutics plc (NASDAQ:AUTL).

How have hedgies been trading Autolus Therapeutics plc (NASDAQ:AUTL)?

Heading into the second quarter of 2020, a total of 13 of the hedge funds tracked by Insider Monkey were long this stock, a change of 18% from one quarter earlier. By comparison, 6 hedge funds held shares or bullish call options in AUTL a year ago. So, let's find out which hedge funds were among the top holders of the stock and which hedge funds were making big moves.

More specifically, Millennium Management was the largest shareholder of Autolus Therapeutics plc (NASDAQ:AUTL), with a stake worth $4.7 million reported as of the end of September. Trailing Millennium Management was Citadel Investment Group, which amassed a stake valued at $3.5 million. Marshall Wace LLP, Cormorant Asset Management, and Alyeska Investment Group were also very fond of the stock, becoming one of the largest hedge fund holders of the company. In terms of the portfolio weights assigned to each position DAFNA Capital Management allocated the biggest weight to Autolus Therapeutics plc (NASDAQ:AUTL), around 0.55% of its 13F portfolio. Eversept Partners is also relatively very bullish on the stock, designating 0.32 percent of its 13F equity portfolio to AUTL.

Now, some big names were breaking ground themselves. Eversept Partners, managed by Kamran Moghtaderi, created the biggest position in Autolus Therapeutics plc (NASDAQ:AUTL). Eversept Partners had $1.3 million invested in the company at the end of the quarter. Benjamin A. Smith's Laurion Capital Management also made a $0.7 million investment in the stock during the quarter. The only other fund with a brand new AUTL position is Paul Tudor Jones's Tudor Investment Corp.

Let's also examine hedge fund activity in other stocks - not necessarily in the same industry as Autolus Therapeutics plc (NASDAQ:AUTL) but similarly valued. These stocks are Cellular Biomedicine Group, Inc. (NASDAQ:CBMG), The Rubicon Project Inc (NASDAQ:RUBI), The Chefs Warehouse, Inc (NASDAQ:CHEF), and Purple Innovation, Inc. (NASDAQ:PRPL). All of these stocks' market caps are similar to AUTL's market cap.

[table] Ticker, No of HFs with positions, Total Value of HF Positions (x1000), Change in HF Position CBMG,3,14664,1 RUBI,22,49986,-2 CHEF,11,35478,4 PRPL,14,71224,1 Average,12.5,42838,1 [/table]

View table here if you experience formatting issues.

As you can see these stocks had an average of 12.5 hedge funds with bullish positions and the average amount invested in these stocks was $43 million. That figure was $22 million in AUTL's case. The Rubicon Project Inc (NASDAQ:RUBI) is the most popular stock in this table. On the other hand Cellular Biomedicine Group, Inc. (NASDAQ:CBMG) is the least popular one with only 3 bullish hedge fund positions. Autolus Therapeutics plc (NASDAQ:AUTL) is not the most popular stock in this group but hedge fund interest is still above average. 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 13.3% in 2020 through June 25th but still beat the market by 16.8 percentage points. Hedge funds were also right about betting on AUTL as the stock returned 169.4% in Q2 (through June 25th) and outperformed the market. Hedge funds were rewarded for their relative bullishness.

[company-follow-email id=1730463][/company-follow-email]

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

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