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Hedge Funds Have Never Been This Bullish On Marker Therapeutics, Inc. (MRKR)

Nina Todic

Does Marker Therapeutics, Inc. (NASDAQ:MRKR) represent a good buying opportunity at the moment? Let’s quickly check the hedge fund interest towards the company. Hedge fund firms constantly search out bright intellectuals and highly-experienced employees and throw away millions of dollars on satellite photos and other research activities, so it is no wonder why they tend to generate millions in profits each year. It is also true that some hedge fund players fail inconceivably on some occasions, but net net their stock picks have been generating superior risk-adjusted returns on average over the years.

Is Marker Therapeutics, Inc. (NASDAQ:MRKR) undervalued? Prominent investors are in a bullish mood. The number of bullish hedge fund positions increased by 2 in recent months. Our calculations also showed that mrkr isn't among the 30 most popular stocks among hedge funds.

Hedge funds' reputation as shrewd investors has been tarnished in the last decade as their hedged returns couldn't keep up with the unhedged returns of the market indices. 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.

Felix Baker - Baker Bros.

We're going to check out the key hedge fund action surrounding Marker Therapeutics, Inc. (NASDAQ:MRKR).

Hedge fund activity in Marker Therapeutics, Inc. (NASDAQ:MRKR)

Heading into the second quarter of 2019, a total of 10 of the hedge funds tracked by Insider Monkey were long this stock, a change of 25% from the fourth quarter of 2018. Below, you can check out the change in hedge fund sentiment towards MRKR over the last 15 quarters. With the smart money's capital changing hands, there exists an "upper tier" of notable hedge fund managers who were increasing their stakes significantly (or already accumulated large positions).

No of Hedge Funds with MRKR Positions

The largest stake in Marker Therapeutics, Inc. (NASDAQ:MRKR) was held by Perceptive Advisors, which reported holding $13.2 million worth of stock at the end of March. It was followed by Baker Bros. Advisors with a $9.9 million position. Other investors bullish on the company included 683 Capital Partners, Laurion Capital Management, and Millennium Management.

Consequently, specific money managers were leading the bulls' herd. Millennium Management, managed by Israel Englander, initiated the biggest position in Marker Therapeutics, Inc. (NASDAQ:MRKR). Millennium Management had $1.2 million invested in the company at the end of the quarter. Michael Platt and William Reeves's BlueCrest Capital Mgmt. also initiated a $0.4 million position during the quarter. The following funds were also among the new MRKR investors: Peter Rathjens, Bruce Clarke and John Campbell's Arrowstreet Capital and David Harding's Winton Capital Management.

Let's go over hedge fund activity in other stocks - not necessarily in the same industry as Marker Therapeutics, Inc. (NASDAQ:MRKR) but similarly valued. These stocks are Tile Shop Holdings, Inc. (NASDAQ:TTS), Graf Industrial Corp. (NYSE:GRAF), Syros Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NASDAQ:SYRS), and Noodles & Co (NASDAQ:NDLS). This group of stocks' market caps are closest to MRKR's market cap.

[table] Ticker, No of HFs with positions, Total Value of HF Positions (x1000), Change in HF Position TTS,8,19047,-2 GRAF,12,52624,0 SYRS,8,45634,-2 NDLS,17,84492,-3 Average,11.25,50449,-1.75 [/table]

View table here if you experience formatting issues.

As you can see these stocks had an average of 11.25 hedge funds with bullish positions and the average amount invested in these stocks was $50 million. That figure was $37 million in MRKR's case. Noodles & Co (NASDAQ:NDLS) is the most popular stock in this table. On the other hand Tile Shop Holdings, Inc. (NASDAQ:TTS) is the least popular one with only 8 bullish hedge fund positions. Marker Therapeutics, Inc. (NASDAQ:MRKR) 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 MRKR wasn't nearly as popular as these 20 stocks (hedge fund sentiment was quite bearish); MRKR investors were disappointed as the stock returned -2% 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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