Hedge Funds Aren’t Crazy About ICON Public Limited Company (ICLR) Anymore

·5 min read

The Insider Monkey team has completed processing the quarterly 13F filings for the September quarter submitted by the hedge funds and other money managers included in our extensive database. Most hedge fund investors experienced strong gains on the back of a strong market performance, which certainly propelled them to adjust their equity holdings so as to maintain the desired risk profile. As a result, the relevancy of these public filings and their content is indisputable, as they may reveal numerous high-potential stocks. The following article will discuss the smart money sentiment towards ICON Public Limited Company (NASDAQ:ICLR).

ICON Public Limited Company (NASDAQ:ICLR) was in 35 hedge funds' portfolios at the end of September. The all time high for this statistic is 39. ICLR has seen a decrease in hedge fund sentiment lately. There were 39 hedge funds in our database with ICLR holdings at the end of June. Our calculations also showed that ICLR isn't among the 30 most popular stocks among hedge funds (click for Q3 rankings).

John Overdeck of Two Sigma
John Overdeck of Two Sigma

John Overdeck of Two Sigma Advisors

At Insider Monkey, we scour multiple sources to uncover the next great investment idea. For example, lithium prices have more than doubled over the past year, so we go through lists like the 10 best EV stocks 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. With all of this in mind let's take a look at the recent hedge fund action encompassing ICON Public Limited Company (NASDAQ:ICLR).

Do Hedge Funds Think ICLR Is A Good Stock To Buy Now?

At the end of the third quarter, a total of 35 of the hedge funds tracked by Insider Monkey were bullish on this stock, a change of -10% from one quarter earlier. On the other hand, there were a total of 24 hedge funds with a bullish position in ICLR 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.

Is ICLR A Good Stock To Buy?
Is ICLR A Good Stock To Buy?

Of the funds tracked by Insider Monkey, Renaissance Technologies, holds the number one position in ICON Public Limited Company (NASDAQ:ICLR). Renaissance Technologies has a $407.3 million position in the stock, comprising 0.5% of its 13F portfolio. On Renaissance Technologies's heels is Steadfast Capital Management, managed by Robert Pitts, which holds a $199.7 million position; 1.9% of its 13F portfolio is allocated to the stock. Other members of the smart money that hold long positions encompass John Overdeck and David Siegel's Two Sigma Advisors, Israel Englander's Millennium Management and Peter Rathjens, Bruce Clarke and John Campbell's Arrowstreet Capital. In terms of the portfolio weights assigned to each position Montanaro Asset Management allocated the biggest weight to ICON Public Limited Company (NASDAQ:ICLR), around 6.79% of its 13F portfolio. Iron Triangle Partners is also relatively very bullish on the stock, dishing out 4.89 percent of its 13F equity portfolio to ICLR.

Because ICON Public Limited Company (NASDAQ:ICLR) has faced a decline in interest from the entirety of the hedge funds we track, logic holds that there were a few funds who sold off their entire stakes heading into Q4. Intriguingly, Simon Sadler's Segantii Capital dumped the biggest position of the "upper crust" of funds watched by Insider Monkey, comprising an estimated $31 million in stock. Alec Litowitz and Ross Laser's fund, Magnetar Capital, also sold off its stock, about $29.8 million worth. These moves are important to note, as aggregate hedge fund interest was cut by 4 funds heading into Q4.

Let's check out hedge fund activity in other stocks similar to ICON Public Limited Company (NASDAQ:ICLR). We will take a look at POSCO (NYSE:PKX), CarMax Inc (NYSE:KMX), Cerner Corporation (NASDAQ:CERN), Ameren Corporation (NYSE:AEE), CGI Inc. (NYSE:GIB), Charles River Laboratories International Inc. (NYSE:CRL), and Essex Property Trust Inc (NYSE:ESS). This group of stocks' market caps resemble ICLR's market cap.

[table] Ticker, No of HFs with positions, Total Value of HF Positions (x1000), Change in HF Position PKX,11,140930,-1 KMX,36,1544189,-3 CERN,36,1279936,-2 AEE,14,298780,-9 GIB,18,336354,4 CRL,46,1294531,2 ESS,21,264061,0 Average,26,736969,-1.3 [/table]

View table here if you experience formatting issues.

As you can see these stocks had an average of 26 hedge funds with bullish positions and the average amount invested in these stocks was $737 million. That figure was $1349 million in ICLR's case. Charles River Laboratories International Inc. (NYSE:CRL) is the most popular stock in this table. On the other hand POSCO (NYSE:PKX) is the least popular one with only 11 bullish hedge fund positions. ICON Public Limited Company (NASDAQ:ICLR) is not the most popular stock in this group but hedge fund interest is still above average. Our overall hedge fund sentiment score for ICLR is 62.2. Stocks with higher number of hedge fund positions relative to other stocks as well as relative to their historical range receive a higher sentiment score. 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 5 most popular stocks among hedge funds returned 95.8% in 2019 and 2020, and outperformed the S&P 500 ETF (SPY) by 40 percentage points. These stocks gained 28.6% in 2021 through November 30th and beat the market again by 5.6 percentage points. Unfortunately ICLR wasn't nearly as popular as these 5 stocks and hedge funds that were betting on ICLR were disappointed as the stock returned 3.2% since the end of September (through 11/30) and underperformed the market. If you are interested in investing in large cap stocks with huge upside potential, you should check out the top 5 most popular stocks among hedge funds as many of these stocks already outperformed the market since 2019.

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

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