U.S. Markets closed

Hedge Funds Have Never Been More Bullish On National Research Corporation (NRC)

Debasis Saha

The 700+ hedge funds and famous money managers tracked by Insider Monkey have already compiled and submitted their 13F filings for the third quarter, which unveil their equity positions as of September 30. 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 National Research Corporation (NASDAQ:NRC).

Hedge fund interest in National Research Corporation (NASDAQ:NRC) shares was flat at the end of last quarter. This is usually a negative indicator. The level and the change in hedge fund popularity aren't the only variables you need to analyze to decipher hedge funds' perspectives. A stock may witness a boost in popularity but it may still be less popular than similarly priced stocks. That's why at the end of this article we will examine companies such as Supernus Pharmaceuticals Inc (NASDAQ:SUPN), Instructure, Inc. (NYSE:INST), and Akcea Therapeutics, Inc. (NASDAQ:AKCA) to gather more data points. Our calculations also showed that NRC isn't among the 30 most popular stocks among hedge funds (click for Q3 rankings and see the video below for Q2 rankings). Video: Click the image to watch our video about the top 5 most popular hedge fund stocks.

5 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 Russell 2000 ETFs by 40 percentage points since May 2014 (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 27.8% through November 21, 2019. That's why we believe hedge fund sentiment is an extremely useful indicator that investors should pay attention to.

[caption id="attachment_26073" align="alignnone" width="600"] Jim Simons of Renaissance Technologies[/caption]

RENAISSANCE TECHNOLOGIES

We leave no stone unturned when looking for the next great investment idea. For example Europe is set to become the world's largest cannabis market, so we check out this European marijuana stock pitch. One of the most bullish analysts in America just put his money where his mouth is. He says, "I'm investing more today than I did back in early 2009." So we check out his pitch. We read hedge fund investor letters and listen to stock pitches at hedge fund conferences. We also rely on the best performing hedge funds' buy/sell signals. Let's take a look at the latest hedge fund action regarding National Research Corporation (NASDAQ:NRC).

How have hedgies been trading National Research Corporation (NASDAQ:NRC)?

Heading into the fourth quarter of 2019, a total of 9 of the hedge funds tracked by Insider Monkey held long positions in this stock, a change of 0% from the previous quarter. On the other hand, there were a total of 6 hedge funds with a bullish position in NRC a year ago. So, let's find out which hedge funds were among the top holders of the stock and which hedge funds were making big moves.

Is NRC A Good Stock To Buy?

According to publicly available hedge fund and institutional investor holdings data compiled by Insider Monkey, Renaissance Technologies has the number one position in National Research Corporation (NASDAQ:NRC), worth close to $31.6 million, comprising less than 0.1%% of its total 13F portfolio. Sitting at the No. 2 spot is Royce & Associates, managed by Chuck Royce, which holds a $12.5 million position; the fund has 0.1% of its 13F portfolio invested in the stock. Some other members of the smart money that are bullish encompass Julian Allen's Spitfire Capital, Cliff Asness's AQR Capital Management and Ken Griffin's Citadel Investment Group. In terms of the portfolio weights assigned to each position Spitfire Capital allocated the biggest weight to National Research Corporation (NASDAQ:NRC), around 2.98% of its 13F portfolio. Zebra Capital Management is also relatively very bullish on the stock, dishing out 0.37 percent of its 13F equity portfolio to NRC.

Judging by the fact that National Research Corporation (NASDAQ:NRC) has experienced a decline in interest from the aggregate hedge fund industry, it's safe to say that there exists a select few money managers who were dropping their positions entirely by the end of the third quarter. It's worth mentioning that Michael Gelband's ExodusPoint Capital dumped the biggest position of all the hedgies tracked by Insider Monkey, comprising about $0.3 million in stock. Paul Tudor Jones's fund, Tudor Investment Corp, also dropped its stock, about $0.3 million worth. These bearish behaviors are intriguing to say the least, as aggregate hedge fund interest stayed the same (this is a bearish signal in our experience).

Let's now take a look at hedge fund activity in other stocks similar to National Research Corporation (NASDAQ:NRC). We will take a look at Supernus Pharmaceuticals Inc (NASDAQ:SUPN), Instructure, Inc. (NYSE:INST), Akcea Therapeutics, Inc. (NASDAQ:AKCA), and Kronos Worldwide, Inc. (NYSE:KRO). This group of stocks' market caps are similar to NRC's market cap.

[table] Ticker, No of HFs with positions, Total Value of HF Positions (x1000), Change in HF Position SUPN,16,88106,0 INST,17,522274,-4 AKCA,4,4811,-4 KRO,9,32162,-3 Average,11.5,161838,-2.75 [/table]

View table here if you experience formatting issues.

As you can see these stocks had an average of 11.5 hedge funds with bullish positions and the average amount invested in these stocks was $162 million. That figure was $50 million in NRC's case. Instructure, Inc. (NYSE:INST) is the most popular stock in this table. On the other hand Akcea Therapeutics, Inc. (NASDAQ:AKCA) is the least popular one with only 4 bullish hedge fund positions. National Research Corporation (NASDAQ:NRC) is not the least popular stock in this group but hedge fund interest is still below average. Our calculations showed that top 20 most popular stocks among hedge funds returned 37.4% in 2019 through the end of November and outperformed the S&P 500 ETF (SPY) by 9.9 percentage points. A small number of hedge funds were also right about betting on NRC as the stock returned 11.7% during the first two months of Q4 and outperformed the market by an even larger margin.

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

Related Content