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Is YPF Sociedad Anonima (YPF) A Good Stock To Buy?

Nina Todic

With the first-quarter round of 13F filings behind us it is time to take a look at the stocks in which some of the best money managers in the world preferred to invest or sell heading into the first quarter. One of these stocks was YPF Sociedad Anonima (NYSE:YPF).

YPF Sociedad Anonima (NYSE:YPF) was in 21 hedge funds' portfolios at the end of the first quarter of 2019. YPF has seen an increase in support from the world's most elite money managers of late. There were 15 hedge funds in our database with YPF positions at the end of the previous quarter. Our calculations also showed that ypf 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.

[caption id="attachment_324853" align="aligncenter" width="450"] Joshua Friedman of Canyon Capital[/caption]

Josh Friedman Canyon Capital

Let's take a gander at the recent hedge fund action surrounding YPF Sociedad Anonima (NYSE:YPF).

How are hedge funds trading YPF Sociedad Anonima (NYSE:YPF)?

At Q1's end, a total of 21 of the hedge funds tracked by Insider Monkey were bullish on this stock, a change of 40% from the fourth quarter of 2018. By comparison, 17 hedge funds held shares or bullish call options in YPF a year ago. With the smart money's capital changing hands, there exists an "upper tier" of key hedge fund managers who were boosting their holdings considerably (or already accumulated large positions).

No of Hedge Funds with YPF Positions

Among these funds, Millennium Management held the most valuable stake in YPF Sociedad Anonima (NYSE:YPF), which was worth $25.2 million at the end of the first quarter. On the second spot was Knighthead Capital which amassed $19.2 million worth of shares. Moreover, Redwood Capital Management, Canyon Capital Advisors, and Arrowstreet Capital were also bullish on YPF Sociedad Anonima (NYSE:YPF), allocating a large percentage of their portfolios to this stock.

Consequently, specific money managers have been driving this bullishness. Arrowstreet Capital, managed by Peter Rathjens, Bruce Clarke and John Campbell, initiated the biggest position in YPF Sociedad Anonima (NYSE:YPF). Arrowstreet Capital had $7.4 million invested in the company at the end of the quarter. Boaz Weinstein's Saba Capital also initiated a $4.9 million position during the quarter. The other funds with brand new YPF positions are Michael Platt and William Reeves's BlueCrest Capital Mgmt., Jonathan Soros's JS Capital, and Benjamin A. Smith's Laurion Capital Management.

Let's check out hedge fund activity in other stocks - not necessarily in the same industry as YPF Sociedad Anonima (NYSE:YPF) but similarly valued. These stocks are Arris International plc (NASDAQ:ARRS), Versum Materials, Inc. (NYSE:VSM), Brixmor Property Group Inc (NYSE:BRX), and Pivotal Software, Inc. (NYSE:PVTL). This group of stocks' market values resemble YPF's market value.

[table] Ticker, No of HFs with positions, Total Value of HF Positions (x1000), Change in HF Position ARRS,32,1197682,-7 VSM,43,1090671,14 BRX,12,194951,-5 PVTL,25,471743,-7 Average,28,738762,-1.25 [/table]

View table here if you experience formatting issues.

As you can see these stocks had an average of 28 hedge funds with bullish positions and the average amount invested in these stocks was $739 million. That figure was $113 million in YPF's case. Versum Materials, Inc. (NYSE:VSM) is the most popular stock in this table. On the other hand Brixmor Property Group Inc (NYSE:BRX) is the least popular one with only 12 bullish hedge fund positions. YPF Sociedad Anonima (NYSE:YPF) is not the least popular stock in this group but hedge fund interest is still below average. Our calculations showed that top 20 most popular stocks among hedge funds returned 1.9% in Q2 through May 30th and outperformed the S&P 500 ETF (SPY) by more than 3 percentage points. A small number of hedge funds were also right about betting on YPF as the stock returned 6.1% during the same time frame and outperformed the market by an even larger margin.

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

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