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Hedge Funds Have Never Been This Bullish On Manchester United PLC (MANU)

Nina Todic

The 700+ hedge funds and famous money managers tracked by Insider Monkey have already compiled and submitted their 13F filings for the first quarter, which unveil their equity positions as of March 31. We went through these filings, fixed typos and other more significant errors and identified the changes in hedge fund portfolios. Our extensive review of these public filings is finally over, so this article is set to reveal the smart money sentiment towards Manchester United PLC (NYSE:MANU).

Manchester United PLC (NYSE:MANU) investors should be aware of an increase in activity from the world's largest hedge funds recently. Our calculations also showed that MANU isn't among the 30 most popular stocks among hedge funds.

Why do we pay any attention at all to hedge fund sentiment? Our research has shown that hedge funds' large-cap stock picks indeed failed to beat the market between 1999 and 2016. However, we were able to identify in advance a select group of hedge fund holdings that outperformed the market by 40 percentage points since May 2014 through May 30, 2019 (see the details here). We were also able to identify in advance a select group of hedge fund holdings that'll significantly underperform the market. We have been tracking and sharing the list of these stocks since February 2017 and they lost 30.9% through May 30, 2019. That's why we believe hedge fund sentiment is an extremely useful indicator that investors should pay attention to.

D. E. Shaw

We're going to go over the fresh hedge fund action regarding Manchester United PLC (NYSE:MANU).

What does smart money think about Manchester United PLC (NYSE:MANU)?

Heading into the second quarter of 2019, a total of 11 of the hedge funds tracked by Insider Monkey held long positions in this stock, a change of 22% from one quarter earlier. The graph below displays the number of hedge funds with bullish position in MANU over the last 15 quarters. So, let's examine which hedge funds were among the top holders of the stock and which hedge funds were making big moves.

No of Hedge Funds with MANU Positions

More specifically, Lansdowne Partners was the largest shareholder of Manchester United PLC (NYSE:MANU), with a stake worth $26.8 million reported as of the end of March. Trailing Lansdowne Partners was Renaissance Technologies, which amassed a stake valued at $11 million. D E Shaw, Alyeska Investment Group, and Citadel Investment Group were also very fond of the stock, giving the stock large weights in their portfolios.

Consequently, key money managers have been driving this bullishness. Millennium Management, managed by Israel Englander, established the biggest call position in Manchester United PLC (NYSE:MANU). Millennium Management had $0.9 million invested in the company at the end of the quarter. Michael Platt and William Reeves's BlueCrest Capital Mgmt. also made a $0.3 million investment in the stock during the quarter. The only other fund with a brand new MANU position is Gavin Saitowitz and Cisco J. del Valle's Springbok Capital.

Let's also examine hedge fund activity in other stocks - not necessarily in the same industry as Manchester United PLC (NYSE:MANU) but similarly valued. These stocks are RBC Bearings Incorporated (NASDAQ:ROLL), Tempur Sealy International Inc. (NYSE:TPX), Envestnet Inc (NYSE:ENV), and UMB Financial Corporation (NASDAQ:UMBF). This group of stocks' market caps are closest to MANU's market cap.

[table] Ticker, No of HFs with positions, Total Value of HF Positions (x1000), Change in HF Position ROLL,11,55043,5 TPX,29,1175502,-2 ENV,17,104260,5 UMBF,9,49060,-2 Average,16.5,345966,1.5 [/table]

View table here if you experience formatting issues.

As you can see these stocks had an average of 16.5 hedge funds with bullish positions and the average amount invested in these stocks was $346 million. That figure was $52 million in MANU's case. Tempur Sealy International Inc. (NYSE:TPX) is the most popular stock in this table. On the other hand UMB Financial Corporation (NASDAQ:UMBF) is the least popular one with only 9 bullish hedge fund positions. Manchester United PLC (NYSE:MANU) is not the least popular stock in this group but hedge fund interest is still below average. This is a slightly negative signal and we'd rather spend our time researching stocks that hedge funds are piling on. 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. Unfortunately MANU wasn't nearly as popular as these 20 stocks (hedge fund sentiment was quite bearish); MANU investors were disappointed as the stock returned -6% during the same time period and underperformed the market. If you are interested in investing in large cap stocks with huge upside potential, you should check out the top 20 most popular stocks among hedge funds as 13 of these stocks already outperformed the market so far in Q2.

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

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