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Do Hedge Funds Love Vista Oil & Gas, S.A.B. de C.V. (VIST)?

Asma UL Husna
·6 min read

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 Vista Oil & Gas, S.A.B. de C.V. (NYSE:VIST).

Vista Oil & Gas, S.A.B. de C.V. (NYSE:VIST) shares haven't seen a lot of action during the first quarter. Overall, hedge fund sentiment was unchanged. The stock was in 7 hedge funds' portfolios at the end of the first quarter of 2020. The level and the change in hedge fund popularity aren't the only variables you need to analyze to decipher hedge funds' perspectives. A stock may witness a boost in popularity but it may still be less popular than similarly priced stocks. That's why at the end of this article we will examine companies such as Cresud Sociedad Anonima Comercial, Inmobiliaria, Financiera y Agropecuaria (NASDAQ:CRESY), Capital Bancorp, Inc. (NASDAQ:CBNK), and P.A.M. Transportation Services, Inc. (NASDAQ:PTSI) to gather more data points. Our calculations also showed that VIST 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.

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 monthly stock picks returned 101% since March 2017 and outperformed the S&P 500 ETFs by more than 58 percentage points. Our short strategy outperformed the S&P 500 short ETFs by 20 percentage points annually (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_26423" align="aligncenter" width="399"] Seth Klarman of Baupost Group[/caption]

BAUPOST GROUP Seth Klarman
BAUPOST GROUP Seth Klarman

At Insider Monkey we leave no stone unturned when looking for the next great investment idea. For example, 2020’s unprecedented market conditions provide us with the highest number of trading opportunities in a decade. So we are checking out stocks recommended/scorned by legendary Bill Miller. 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 the S&P 500 was trading at 3150 after realizing the coronavirus pandemic’s significance before most investors. Now let's check out the new hedge fund action surrounding Vista Oil & Gas, S.A.B. de C.V. (NYSE:VIST).

How are hedge funds trading Vista Oil & Gas, S.A.B. de C.V. (NYSE:VIST)?

At the end of the first quarter, a total of 7 of the hedge funds tracked by Insider Monkey held long positions in this stock, a change of 0% from the fourth quarter of 2019. Below, you can check out the change in hedge fund sentiment towards VIST over the last 18 quarters. 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, Baupost Group was the largest shareholder of Vista Oil & Gas, S.A.B. de C.V. (NYSE:VIST), with a stake worth $12.4 million reported as of the end of September. Trailing Baupost Group was Oaktree Capital Management, which amassed a stake valued at $6.3 million. Deep Basin Capital, Encompass Capital Advisors, and Mason Capital Management 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 Deep Basin Capital allocated the biggest weight to Vista Oil & Gas, S.A.B. de C.V. (NYSE:VIST), around 0.94% of its 13F portfolio. Mason Capital Management is also relatively very bullish on the stock, dishing out 0.61 percent of its 13F equity portfolio to VIST.

Judging by the fact that Vista Oil & Gas, S.A.B. de C.V. (NYSE:VIST) has witnessed declining sentiment from the aggregate hedge fund industry, we can see that there lies a certain "tier" of hedge funds that elected to cut their entire stakes in the first quarter. At the top of the heap, John M. Angelo and Michael L. Gordon's Angelo Gordon & Co said goodbye to the largest position of all the hedgies tracked by Insider Monkey, worth about $1.9 million in stock, and Israel Englander's Millennium Management was right behind this move, as the fund said goodbye to about $0.3 million worth. These bearish behaviors are interesting, as aggregate hedge fund interest stayed the same (this is a bearish signal in our experience).

Let's now take a look at hedge fund activity in other stocks - not necessarily in the same industry as Vista Oil & Gas, S.A.B. de C.V. (NYSE:VIST) but similarly valued. These stocks are Cresud Sociedad Anonima Comercial, Inmobiliaria, Financiera y Agropecuaria (NASDAQ:CRESY), Capital Bancorp, Inc. (NASDAQ:CBNK), P.A.M. Transportation Services, Inc. (NASDAQ:PTSI), and Ardmore Shipping Corp (NYSE:ASC). This group of stocks' market valuations resemble VIST's market valuation.

[table] Ticker, No of HFs with positions, Total Value of HF Positions (x1000), Change in HF Position CRESY,7,9698,1 CBNK,2,511,0 PTSI,1,11629,0 ASC,14,23341,4 Average,6,11295,1.25 [/table]

View table here if you experience formatting issues.

As you can see these stocks had an average of 6 hedge funds with bullish positions and the average amount invested in these stocks was $11 million. That figure was $27 million in VIST's case. Ardmore Shipping Corp (NYSE:ASC) is the most popular stock in this table. On the other hand P.A.M. Transportation Services, Inc. (NASDAQ:PTSI) is the least popular one with only 1 bullish hedge fund positions. Vista Oil & Gas, S.A.B. de C.V. (NYSE:VIST) 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 13.9% in 2020 through June 10th but still beat the market by 14.2 percentage points. Hedge funds were also right about betting on VIST as the stock returned 89% in Q2 (through June 10th) and outperformed the market. Hedge funds were rewarded for their relative bullishness.

[company-follow-email id=1762506][/company-follow-email]

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

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