After several tireless days we have finished crunching the numbers from nearly 750 13F filings issued by the elite hedge funds and other investment firms that we track at Insider Monkey, which disclosed those firms' equity portfolios as of March 31. The results of that effort will be put on display in this article, as we share valuable insight into the smart money sentiment towards AC Immune SA (NASDAQ:ACIU).
AC Immune SA (NASDAQ:ACIU) has experienced an increase in support from the world's most elite money managers recently. ACIU was in 9 hedge funds' portfolios at the end of the first quarter of 2019. There were 8 hedge funds in our database with ACIU holdings at the end of the previous quarter. Our calculations also showed that aciu 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' small-cap stock picks managed to beat the market by double digits annually between 1999 and 2016, but the margin of outperformance has been declining in recent years. Nevertheless, we were still 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 underperformed the market by 10 percentage points annually between 2006 and 2017. Interestingly the margin of underperformance of these stocks has been increasing in recent years. Investors who are long the market and short these stocks would have returned more than 27% annually between 2015 and 2017. We have been tracking and sharing the list of these stocks since February 2017 in our quarterly newsletter.
Let's take a look at the new hedge fund action encompassing AC Immune SA (NASDAQ:ACIU).
Hedge fund activity in AC Immune SA (NASDAQ:ACIU)
At Q1's end, a total of 9 of the hedge funds tracked by Insider Monkey were bullish on this stock, a change of 13% from the previous quarter. By comparison, 4 hedge funds held shares or bullish call options in ACIU a year ago. So, let's check out which hedge funds were among the top holders of the stock and which hedge funds were making big moves.
The largest stake in AC Immune SA (NASDAQ:ACIU) was held by Biotechnology Value Fund / BVF Inc, which reported holding $37.7 million worth of stock at the end of March. It was followed by Duquesne Capital with a $6.7 million position. Other investors bullish on the company included Prosight Capital, Renaissance Technologies, and Millennium Management.
As aggregate interest increased, some big names have been driving this bullishness. Prosight Capital, managed by Lawrence Hawkins, established the most valuable position in AC Immune SA (NASDAQ:ACIU). Prosight Capital had $3.6 million invested in the company at the end of the quarter. Israel Englander's Millennium Management also initiated a $0.9 million position during the quarter. The following funds were also among the new ACIU investors: Michael S. Weiss and Lindsay A. Rosenwald's Opus Point Partners Management and Jeffrey Talpins's Element Capital Management.
Let's now take a look at hedge fund activity in other stocks - not necessarily in the same industry as AC Immune SA (NASDAQ:ACIU) but similarly valued. We will take a look at Hooker Furniture Corporation (NASDAQ:HOFT), Eagle Bulk Shipping Inc. (NASDAQ:EGLE), Farmer Bros. Co. (NASDAQ:FARM), and Summit Financial Group, Inc. (NASDAQ:SMMF). This group of stocks' market values resemble ACIU's market value.
[table] Ticker, No of HFs with positions, Total Value of HF Positions (x1000), Change in HF Position HOFT,11,67078,2 EGLE,10,205207,0 FARM,7,56386,-2 SMMF,2,9075,0 Average,7.5,84437,0 [/table]
View table here if you experience formatting issues.
As you can see these stocks had an average of 7.5 hedge funds with bullish positions and the average amount invested in these stocks was $84 million. That figure was $51 million in ACIU's case. Hooker Furniture Corporation (NASDAQ:HOFT) is the most popular stock in this table. On the other hand Summit Financial Group, Inc. (NASDAQ:SMMF) is the least popular one with only 2 bullish hedge fund positions. AC Immune SA (NASDAQ:ACIU) is not the most popular stock in this group but hedge fund interest is still above average. 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. Hedge funds were also right about betting on ACIU as the stock returned 14.7% during the same period and outperformed the market by an even larger margin. Hedge funds were rewarded for their relative bullishness.
Disclosure: None. This article was originally published at Insider Monkey.