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Were Hedge Funds Right About TOTAL S.A. (TOT) ?

Reymerlyn Martin

The 700+ hedge funds and famous money managers tracked by Insider Monkey have already compiled and submitted their 13F filings for the second quarter, which unveil their equity positions as of June 28. 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 TOTAL S.A. (NYSE:TOT).

TOTAL S.A. (NYSE:TOT) shares haven't seen a lot of action during the second quarter. Overall, hedge fund sentiment was unchanged. The stock was in 13 hedge funds' portfolios at the end of June. 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 BP plc (NYSE:BP), Paypal Holdings Inc (NASDAQ:PYPL), and NIKE, Inc. (NYSE:NKE) to gather more data points. Video: Click the image to watch our video about the top 5 most popular hedge fund stocks.

5 Most Popular Stocks Among Hedge Funds

To the average investor there are tons of methods stock traders put to use to size up stocks. A duo of the most under-the-radar methods are hedge fund and insider trading moves. We have shown that, historically, those who follow the top picks of the elite hedge fund managers can outclass the market by a healthy amount (see the details here).

George Soros

Unlike some fund managers who are betting on Dow reaching 40000 in a year, our long-short investment strategy doesn't rely on bull markets to deliver double digit returns. We only rely on hedge fund buy/sell signals. Let's take a peek at the latest hedge fund action regarding TOTAL S.A. (NYSE:TOT).

How are hedge funds trading TOTAL S.A. (NYSE:TOT)?

At the end of the second quarter, a total of 13 of the hedge funds tracked by Insider Monkey held long positions in this stock, a change of 0% from the first quarter of 2019. On the other hand, there were a total of 13 hedge funds with a bullish position in TOT a year ago. So, let's examine which hedge funds were among the top holders of the stock and which hedge funds were making big moves.

TOT_oct2019

The largest stake in TOTAL S.A. (NYSE:TOT) was held by Fisher Asset Management, which reported holding $789.6 million worth of stock at the end of March. It was followed by Point72 Asset Management with a $21.2 million position. Other investors bullish on the company included Adage Capital Management, Citadel Investment Group, and HBK Investments.

Due to the fact that TOTAL S.A. (NYSE:TOT) has faced declining sentiment from the aggregate hedge fund industry, it's easy to see that there lies a certain "tier" of hedgies who were dropping their entire stakes by the end of the second quarter. It's worth mentioning that Dmitry Balyasny's Balyasny Asset Management dropped the biggest investment of all the hedgies followed by Insider Monkey, worth an estimated $26.1 million in stock. Clint Carlson's fund, Carlson Capital, also cut its stock, about $4 million worth. These transactions are interesting, as total hedge fund interest stayed the same (this is a bearish signal in our experience).

Let's now review hedge fund activity in other stocks similar to TOTAL S.A. (NYSE:TOT). These stocks are BP plc (NYSE:BP), Paypal Holdings Inc (NASDAQ:PYPL), NIKE, Inc. (NYSE:NKE), and Medtronic plc (NYSE:MDT). This group of stocks' market values are similar to TOT's market value.

[table] Ticker, No of HFs with positions, Total Value of HF Positions (x1000), Change in HF Position BP,29,1246141,0 PYPL,95,3857093,2 NKE,51,1918137,-2 MDT,49,2317404,-1 Average,56,2334694,-0.25 [/table]

View table here if you experience formatting issues.

As you can see these stocks had an average of 56 hedge funds with bullish positions and the average amount invested in these stocks was $2335 million. That figure was $844 million in TOT's case. Paypal Holdings Inc (NASDAQ:PYPL) is the most popular stock in this table. On the other hand BP plc (NYSE:BP) is the least popular one with only 29 bullish hedge fund positions. Compared to these stocks TOTAL S.A. (NYSE:TOT) is even less popular than BP. Hedge funds dodged a bullet by taking a bearish stance towards TOT. Our calculations showed that the top 20 most popular hedge fund stocks returned 24.4% in 2019 through September 30th and outperformed the S&P 500 ETF (SPY) by 4 percentage points. Unfortunately TOT wasn't nearly as popular as these 20 stocks (hedge fund sentiment was very bearish); TOT investors were disappointed as the stock returned -5.5% during the third quarter and underperformed the market. If you are interested in investing in large cap stocks with huge upside potential, you should check out the top 20 most popular stocks among hedge funds as many of these stocks already outperformed the market so far in 2019.

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

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