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Is Itron, Inc. (ITRI) A Good Stock To Buy ?

Nina Todic

Insider Monkey has processed numerous 13F filings of hedge funds and famous investors to create an extensive database of hedge fund holdings. The 13F filings show the hedge funds' and investors' positions as of the end of the fourth quarter. You can find write-ups 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 and analyze what the smart money thinks of Itron, Inc. (NASDAQ:ITRI) based on that data.

Is Itron, Inc. (NASDAQ:ITRI) going to take off soon? Investors who are in the know are in a bearish mood. The number of long hedge fund positions retreated by 3 lately. Our calculations also showed that itri isn't among the 30 most popular stocks among hedge funds. ITRI was in 14 hedge funds' portfolios at the end of the fourth quarter of 2018. There were 17 hedge funds in our database with ITRI holdings at the end of the previous quarter.

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 32 percentage points since May 2014 through March 12, 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 27.5% through March 12, 2019. That's why we believe hedge fund sentiment is an extremely useful indicator that investors should pay attention to.

RichardMcGuire_MarcatoCapitalManagement

Let's take a glance at the fresh hedge fund action regarding Itron, Inc. (NASDAQ:ITRI).

What have hedge funds been doing with Itron, Inc. (NASDAQ:ITRI)?

Heading into the first quarter of 2019, a total of 14 of the hedge funds tracked by Insider Monkey held long positions in this stock, a change of -18% from the previous quarter. On the other hand, there were a total of 20 hedge funds with a bullish position in ITRI a year ago. So, let's review which hedge funds were among the top holders of the stock and which hedge funds were making big moves.

No of Hedge Funds with ITRI Positions

The largest stake in Itron, Inc. (NASDAQ:ITRI) was held by Scopia Capital, which reported holding $240.5 million worth of stock at the end of September. It was followed by Impax Asset Management with a $118.9 million position. Other investors bullish on the company included Marcato Capital Management, Cardinal Capital, and Renaissance Technologies.

Judging by the fact that Itron, Inc. (NASDAQ:ITRI) has witnessed declining sentiment from hedge fund managers, it's easy to see that there is a sect of hedgies that decided to sell off their positions entirely in the third quarter. Interestingly, Michael Platt and William Reeves's BlueCrest Capital Mgmt. dropped the largest position of the 700 funds watched by Insider Monkey, valued at about $1.1 million in stock. Dmitry Balyasny's fund, Balyasny Asset Management, also cut its stock, about $0.6 million worth. These moves are intriguing to say the least, as total hedge fund interest dropped by 3 funds in the third quarter.

Let's now review hedge fund activity in other stocks similar to Itron, Inc. (NASDAQ:ITRI). These stocks are Union Bankshares Corporation (NASDAQ:UBSH), Cronos Group Inc. (NASDAQ:CRON), Hamilton Lane Incorporated (NASDAQ:HLNE), and Grupo Aeroportuario del Centro Norte, S. A. B. de C. V. (NASDAQ:OMAB). This group of stocks' market values match ITRI's market value.

[table] Ticker, No of HFs with positions, Total Value of HF Positions (x1000), Change in HF Position UBSH,6,24227,2 CRON,6,10449,-6 HLNE,9,40521,-3 OMAB,5,28844,0 Average,6.5,26010,-1.75 [/table]

View table here if you experience formatting issues.

As you can see these stocks had an average of 6.5 hedge funds with bullish positions and the average amount invested in these stocks was $26 million. That figure was $449 million in ITRI's case. Hamilton Lane Incorporated (NASDAQ:HLNE) is the most popular stock in this table. On the other hand Grupo Aeroportuario del Centro Norte, S. A. B. de C. V. (NASDAQ:OMAB) is the least popular one with only 5 bullish hedge fund positions. Compared to these stocks Itron, Inc. (NASDAQ:ITRI) is more popular among hedge funds. Our calculations showed that top 15 most popular stocks) among hedge funds returned 24.2% through April 22nd and outperformed the S&P 500 ETF (SPY) by more than 7 percentage points. Unfortunately ITRI wasn't nearly as popular as these 15 stock and hedge funds that were betting on ITRI were disappointed as the stock returned 4.9% and underperformed the market. If you are interested in investing in large cap stocks with huge upside potential, you should check out the top 15 most popular stocks) among hedge funds as 13 of these stocks already outperformed the market this year.

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

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