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Hedge Funds Never Been Less Bullish On Plantronics, Inc. (PLT)

Debasis Saha

Insider Monkey has processed numerous 13F filings of hedge funds and successful value investors to create an extensive database of hedge fund holdings. The 13F filings show the hedge funds' and successful investors' positions as of the end of the first quarter. You can find articles about an individual hedge fund's trades on numerous financial news websites. However, in this article we will take a look at their collective moves over the last 4.5 years and analyze what the smart money thinks of Plantronics, Inc. (NYSE:PLT) based on that data.

Plantronics, Inc. (NYSE:PLT) investors should pay attention to a decrease in hedge fund sentiment of late. PLT was in 6 hedge funds' portfolios at the end of the first quarter of 2020. There were 11 hedge funds in our database with PLT holdings at the end of the previous quarter. Our calculations also showed that PLT 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_338852" align="aligncenter" width="400"] Richard S. Pzena of Pzena Investment Management[/caption]

Richard Pzena - Pzena Investment Management

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. Keeping this in mind we're going to check out the latest hedge fund action surrounding Plantronics, Inc. (NYSE:PLT).

What does smart money think about Plantronics, Inc. (NYSE:PLT)?

At Q1's end, a total of 6 of the hedge funds tracked by Insider Monkey held long positions in this stock, a change of -45% from the previous quarter. By comparison, 19 hedge funds held shares or bullish call options in PLT a year ago. With hedgies' sentiment swirling, there exists an "upper tier" of notable hedge fund managers who were increasing their holdings significantly (or already accumulated large positions).

Is OLP A Good Stock To Buy?

When looking at the institutional investors followed by Insider Monkey, Pzena Investment Management, managed by Richard S. Pzena, holds the most valuable position in Plantronics, Inc. (NYSE:PLT). Pzena Investment Management has a $13.7 million position in the stock, comprising 0.1% of its 13F portfolio. The second most bullish fund manager is Ken Griffin of Citadel Investment Group, with a $0.5 million call position; the fund has less than 0.1%% of its 13F portfolio invested in the stock. Some other professional money managers that are bullish consist of Ali Motamed's Invenomic Capital Management, Mario Gabelli's GAMCO Investors and Ken Griffin's Citadel Investment Group. In terms of the portfolio weights assigned to each position Invenomic Capital Management allocated the biggest weight to Plantronics, Inc. (NYSE:PLT), around 0.32% of its 13F portfolio. Pzena Investment Management is also relatively very bullish on the stock, earmarking 0.1 percent of its 13F equity portfolio to PLT.

Seeing as Plantronics, Inc. (NYSE:PLT) has faced declining sentiment from the aggregate hedge fund industry, it's easy to see that there is a sect of hedge funds that elected to cut their positions entirely by the end of the first quarter. Intriguingly, Joe Milano's Greenhouse Funds dropped the biggest investment of the 750 funds tracked by Insider Monkey, totaling close to $16.3 million in stock, and Thomas E. Claugus's GMT Capital was right behind this move, as the fund dumped about $7 million worth. These bearish behaviors are interesting, as aggregate hedge fund interest dropped by 5 funds by the end of the first quarter.

Let's go over hedge fund activity in other stocks - not necessarily in the same industry as Plantronics, Inc. (NYSE:PLT) but similarly valued. We will take a look at WideOpenWest, Inc. (NYSE:WOW), U.S. Lime & Minerals Inc. (NASDAQ:USLM), Calix Inc (NYSE:CALX), and International General Insurance Holdings Ltd. (NASDAQ:IGIC). This group of stocks' market values are similar to PLT's market value.

[table] Ticker, No of HFs with positions, Total Value of HF Positions (x1000), Change in HF Position WOW,15,19500,-1 USLM,3,26406,-1 CALX,15,80773,1 IGIC,10,12057,-1 Average,10.75,34684,-0.5 [/table]

View table here if you experience formatting issues.

As you can see these stocks had an average of 10.75 hedge funds with bullish positions and the average amount invested in these stocks was $35 million. That figure was $15 million in PLT's case. WideOpenWest, Inc. (NYSE:WOW) is the most popular stock in this table. On the other hand U.S. Lime & Minerals Inc. (NASDAQ:USLM) is the least popular one with only 3 bullish hedge fund positions. Plantronics, Inc. (NYSE:PLT) is not the least popular stock in this group but hedge fund interest is still below 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 and still beat the market by 14.2 percentage points. A small number of hedge funds were also right about betting on PLT as the stock returned 40.7% during the second quarter and outperformed the market by an even larger margin.

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

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