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Hedge Funds Have Never Been This Bullish On AXA Equitable Holdings, Inc. (EQH)

Abigail Fisher

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 have processed the filings of the more than 700 world-class investment firms that we track and now have access to the collective wisdom contained in these filings, which are based on their March 31 holdings, data that is available nowhere else. Should you consider AXA Equitable Holdings, Inc. (NYSE:EQH) for your portfolio? We'll look to this invaluable collective wisdom for the answer.

AXA Equitable Holdings, Inc. (NYSE:EQH) has seen an increase in activity from the world's largest hedge funds recently. Our calculations also showed that EQH isn't among the 30 most popular stocks among hedge funds.

At the moment there are dozens of indicators market participants have at their disposal to evaluate their stock investments. Two of the less utilized indicators are hedge fund and insider trading signals. We have shown that, historically, those who follow the best picks of the elite investment managers can outpace their index-focused peers by a significant margin (see the details here).

Andreas Halvorsen

Let's take a glance at the key hedge fund action surrounding AXA Equitable Holdings, Inc. (NYSE:EQH).

What have hedge funds been doing with AXA Equitable Holdings, Inc. (NYSE:EQH)?

At Q1's end, a total of 35 of the hedge funds tracked by Insider Monkey held long positions in this stock, a change of 35% from the previous quarter. By comparison, 0 hedge funds held shares or bullish call options in EQH a year ago. With hedge funds' positions undergoing their usual ebb and flow, there exists a select group of notable hedge fund managers who were adding to their holdings meaningfully (or already accumulated large positions).

EQH_june2019

The largest stake in AXA Equitable Holdings, Inc. (NYSE:EQH) was held by Pzena Investment Management, which reported holding $320.2 million worth of stock at the end of March. It was followed by Citadel Investment Group with a $177 million position. Other investors bullish on the company included Sessa Capital, Alyeska Investment Group, and Point72 Asset Management.

Consequently, key money managers were breaking ground themselves. Empyrean Capital Partners, managed by Michael A. Price and Amos Meron, assembled the largest position in AXA Equitable Holdings, Inc. (NYSE:EQH). Empyrean Capital Partners had $48.1 million invested in the company at the end of the quarter. Bruce Kovner's Caxton Associates LP also made a $20.1 million investment in the stock during the quarter. The other funds with new positions in the stock are Andreas Halvorsen's Viking Global, Sander Gerber's Hudson Bay Capital Management, and David Rodriguez-Fraile's BlueMar Capital Management.

Let's go over hedge fund activity in other stocks similar to AXA Equitable Holdings, Inc. (NYSE:EQH). We will take a look at Vedanta Ltd (NYSE:VEDL), AEGON N.V. (NYSE:AEG), WestRock Company (NYSE:WRK), and PagSeguro Digital Ltd. (NYSE:PAGS). All of these stocks' market caps are similar to EQH's market cap.

[table] Ticker, No of HFs with positions, Total Value of HF Positions (x1000), Change in HF Position VEDL,6,50111,-1 AEG,10,30774,-1 WRK,23,460835,-6 PAGS,30,1280413,6 Average,17.25,455533,-0.5 [/table]

View table here if you experience formatting issues.

As you can see these stocks had an average of 17.25 hedge funds with bullish positions and the average amount invested in these stocks was $456 million. That figure was $1031 million in EQH's case. PagSeguro Digital Ltd. (NYSE:PAGS) is the most popular stock in this table. On the other hand Vedanta Ltd (NYSE:VEDL) is the least popular one with only 6 bullish hedge fund positions. Compared to these stocks AXA Equitable Holdings, Inc. (NYSE:EQH) is more popular among hedge funds. Our calculations showed that top 20 most popular stocks among hedge funds returned 1.9% in Q2 through May 30th and outperformed the S&P 500 ETF (SPY) by more than 3 percentage points. Hedge funds were also right about betting on EQH as the stock returned 6.3% during the same period and outperformed the market by an even larger margin. Hedge funds were clearly right about piling into this stock relative to other stocks with similar market capitalizations.

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

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