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Hedge Funds Have Never Been This Bullish On American States Water Co (AWR)

Nina Todic

The government requires hedge funds and wealthy investors that crossed the $100 million equity holdings threshold are required to file a report that shows their positions at the end of every quarter. Even though it isn't the intention, these filings level the playing field for ordinary investors. The latest round of 13F filings disclosed the funds' positions on March 31. We at Insider Monkey have made an extensive database of nearly 750 of those elite funds and famous investors' filings. In this article, we analyze how these elite funds and prominent investors traded American States Water Co (NYSE:AWR) based on those filings.

Is American States Water Co (NYSE:AWR) the right investment to pursue these days? Investors who are in the know are getting more bullish. The number of long hedge fund bets went up by 3 in recent months. Our calculations also showed that awr isn't among the 30 most popular stocks among hedge funds.

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.

David Harding

We're going to take a peek at the fresh hedge fund action regarding American States Water Co (NYSE:AWR).

How are hedge funds trading American States Water Co (NYSE:AWR)?

At Q1's end, a total of 15 of the hedge funds tracked by Insider Monkey held long positions in this stock, a change of 25% from one quarter earlier. Below, you can check out the change in hedge fund sentiment towards AWR over the last 15 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.

No of Hedge Funds with AWR Positions

When looking at the institutional investors followed by Insider Monkey, Jim Simons's Renaissance Technologies has the number one position in American States Water Co (NYSE:AWR), worth close to $28.2 million, comprising less than 0.1%% of its total 13F portfolio. On Renaissance Technologies's heels is David Harding of Winton Capital Management, with a $17.8 million position; the fund has 0.4% of its 13F portfolio invested in the stock. Other professional money managers with similar optimism comprise Noam Gottesman's GLG Partners, Israel Englander's Millennium Management and Cliff Asness's AQR Capital Management.

As industrywide interest jumped, key hedge funds were leading the bulls' herd. Balyasny Asset Management, managed by Dmitry Balyasny, initiated the most valuable position in American States Water Co (NYSE:AWR). Balyasny Asset Management had $0.8 million invested in the company at the end of the quarter. Paul Tudor Jones's Tudor Investment Corp also initiated a $0.5 million position during the quarter. The other funds with brand new AWR positions are Michael Gelband's ExodusPoint Capital and Andrew Weiss's Weiss Asset Management.

Let's also examine hedge fund activity in other stocks similar to American States Water Co (NYSE:AWR). These stocks are Brookfield Business Partners L.P. (NYSE:BBU), Piedmont Office Realty Trust, Inc. (NYSE:PDM), Nextera Energy Partners LP (NYSE:NEP), and Terreno Realty Corporation (NYSE:TRNO). This group of stocks' market valuations are closest to AWR's market valuation.

[table] Ticker, No of HFs with positions, Total Value of HF Positions (x1000), Change in HF Position BBU,5,14305,1 PDM,13,147126,-1 NEP,9,15427,-3 TRNO,13,63355,3 Average,10,60053,0 [/table]

View table here if you experience formatting issues.

As you can see these stocks had an average of 10 hedge funds with bullish positions and the average amount invested in these stocks was $60 million. That figure was $70 million in AWR's case. Piedmont Office Realty Trust, Inc. (NYSE:PDM) is the most popular stock in this table. On the other hand Brookfield Business Partners L.P. (NYSE:BBU) is the least popular one with only 5 bullish hedge fund positions. Compared to these stocks American States Water Co (NYSE:AWR) 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. Hedge funds were also right about betting on AWR, though not to the same extent, as the stock returned 4.2% during the same period and outperformed the market as well.

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

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