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How Hedge Funds Traded Ballantyne Strong Inc (BTN) During The Crash

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At the end of February we announced the arrival of the first US recession since 2009 and we predicted that the market will decline by at least 20% in (Recession is Imminent: We Need A Travel Ban NOW). In these volatile markets we scrutinize hedge fund filings to get a reading on which direction each stock might be going. In this article, we will take a closer look at hedge fund sentiment towards Ballantyne Strong Inc (NYSE:BTN).

Ballantyne Strong Inc (NYSE:BTN) shares haven't seen a lot of action during the first quarter. Overall, hedge fund sentiment was unchanged. The stock was in 3 hedge funds' portfolios at the end of the first quarter of 2020. 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 Navios Maritime Containers L.P. (NASDAQ:NMCI), Arcadia Biosciences, Inc. (NASDAQ:RKDA), and Nine Energy Service, Inc. (NYSE:NINE) to gather more data points. Our calculations also showed that BTN 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.

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 was able to identify in advance a select group of hedge fund holdings that outperformed the S&P 500 ETFs by more than 44 percentage points since March 2017 (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 36% through May 18th. That's why we believe hedge fund sentiment is an extremely useful indicator that investors should pay attention to.

[caption id="attachment_27209" align="aligncenter" width="400"]

RENAISSANCE TECHNOLOGIES
RENAISSANCE TECHNOLOGIES

Jim Simons of Renaissance Technologies[/caption]

At Insider Monkey we leave no stone unturned when looking for the next great investment idea. For example, legendary investor Bill Miller told investors to sell 7 extremely popular recession stocks last month. So, we went through his list and recommended another stock with 100% upside potential instead. We interview hedge fund managers and ask them about their best ideas. You can watch our latest hedge fund manager interview here and find out the name of the large-cap healthcare stock that Sio Capital's Michael Castor expects to double. 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 S&P 500 was trading at 3150 after realizing the coronavirus pandemic’s significance before most investors. With all of this in mind let's take a gander at the fresh hedge fund action surrounding Ballantyne Strong Inc (NYSE:BTN).

What does smart money think about Ballantyne Strong Inc (NYSE:BTN)?

At the end of the first quarter, a total of 3 of the hedge funds tracked by Insider Monkey held long positions in this stock, a change of 0% from the fourth quarter of 2019. By comparison, 3 hedge funds held shares or bullish call options in BTN a year ago. With the smart money's positions undergoing their usual ebb and flow, there exists an "upper tier" of notable hedge fund managers who were boosting their holdings considerably (or already accumulated large positions).

Is BTN A Good Stock To Buy?
Is BTN A Good Stock To Buy?

Among these funds, Ariel Investments held the most valuable stake in Ballantyne Strong Inc (NYSE:BTN), which was worth $5.9 million at the end of the third quarter. On the second spot was Renaissance Technologies which amassed $1.1 million worth of shares. SG Capital Management was also very fond of the stock, becoming one of the largest hedge fund holders of the company. In terms of the portfolio weights assigned to each position Ariel Investments allocated the biggest weight to Ballantyne Strong Inc (NYSE:BTN), around 0.1% of its 13F portfolio. SG Capital Management is also relatively very bullish on the stock, earmarking 0.06 percent of its 13F equity portfolio to BTN.

Earlier we told you that the aggregate hedge fund interest in the stock was unchanged and we view this as a negative development. Even though there weren't any hedge funds dumping their holdings during the third quarter, there weren't any hedge funds initiating brand new positions. This indicates that hedge funds, at the very best, perceive this stock as dead money and they haven't identified any viable catalysts that can attract investor attention.

Let's go over hedge fund activity in other stocks - not necessarily in the same industry as Ballantyne Strong Inc (NYSE:BTN) but similarly valued. These stocks are Navios Maritime Containers L.P. (NASDAQ:NMCI), Arcadia Biosciences, Inc. (NASDAQ:RKDA), Nine Energy Service, Inc. (NYSE:NINE), and Biocept, Inc. (NASDAQ:BIOC). All of these stocks' market caps match BTN's market cap.

[table] Ticker, No of HFs with positions, Total Value of HF Positions (x1000), Change in HF Position NMCI,2,3936,-2 RKDA,2,159,0 NINE,5,2178,-1 BIOC,2,495,1 Average,2.75,1692,-0.5 [/table]

View table here if you experience formatting issues.

As you can see these stocks had an average of 2.75 hedge funds with bullish positions and the average amount invested in these stocks was $2 million. That figure was $7 million in BTN's case. Nine Energy Service, Inc. (NYSE:NINE) is the most popular stock in this table. On the other hand Navios Maritime Containers L.P. (NASDAQ:NMCI) is the least popular one with only 2 bullish hedge fund positions. Ballantyne Strong Inc (NYSE:BTN) is not the most popular stock in this group but hedge fund interest is still above average. This is a slightly positive signal but we'd rather spend our time researching stocks that hedge funds are piling on. 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 7.9% in 2020 through May 22nd but beat the market by 15.6 percentage points. Unfortunately BTN wasn't nearly as popular as these 10 stocks and hedge funds that were betting on BTN were disappointed as the stock returned -14% 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 10 most popular stocks among hedge funds as many of these stocks already outperformed the market so far this year.

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

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