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Is Verisk Analytics (VRSK) A Smart Long-Term Buy?

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Baron Funds, an asset management firm, published its “Baron Asset Fund” third quarter 2021 investor letter – a copy of which can be downloaded here. A decline of 0.14% was delivered by the fund’s institutional shares for the third quarter of 2021, while the Russell Midcap Growth Index (the “Index”) declined 0.76%, and the S&P 500 Index gained 0.58%. You can take a look at the fund’s top 5 holdings to have an idea about their best picks for 2021.

Baron Asset Fund, in its Q3 2021 investor letter, mentioned Verisk Analytics, Inc. (NASDAQ: VRSK) and discussed its stance on the firm. Verisk Analytics, Inc. is a Jersey City, New Jersey-based analytics company with a $35.9 billion market capitalization. VRSK delivered a 7.23% return since the beginning of the year, while its 12-month returns are up by 9.17%. The stock closed at $222.60 per share on November 16, 2021.

Here is what Baron Funds has to say about Verisk Analytics, Inc. in its Q3 2021 investor letter:

"Shares of Verisk Analytics, Inc., a leading data and analytics vendor, contributed to performance. The company reported solid second quarter earnings with notable strength in its core Insurance segment and ongoing improvement in its Energy segment. While the Financial Services segment remained weak, this remains a small part of its overall business, and the company will start to overcome the contract transition headwinds for this segment after this quarter. We remain positive about the company’s competitive positioning, long-term growth, margin expansion, and prospects for capital deployment."

Based on our calculations, Verisk Analytics, Inc. (NASDAQ: VRSK) was not able to clinch a spot in our list of the 30 Most Popular Stocks Among Hedge Funds. VRSK was in 36 hedge fund portfolios at the end of the first half of 2021, compared to 34 funds in the previous quarter. Verisk Analytics, Inc. (NASDAQ: VRSK) delivered a 16.69% return in the past 3 months.

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 S&P 500 ETFs by 115 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 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.

At Insider Monkey, we scour multiple sources to uncover the next great investment idea. Recently we came across a high-growth stock that has tons of hidden assets and is trading at an extremely cheap valuation. We go through lists like the 10 best growth stocks to buy to pick the next Tesla that will deliver a 10x return. Even though we recommend positions in only a tiny fraction of the companies we analyze, we check out as many stocks as we can. We read hedge fund investor letters and listen to stock pitches at hedge fund conferences. You can subscribe to our free daily newsletter on our homepage.

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