Hedge Funds Have Never Been This Bullish On Hartford Financial Services Group Inc (HIG)

·6 min read

Is The Hartford Financial Services Group Inc (NYSE:HIG) a good place to invest some of your money right now? We can gain invaluable insight to help us answer that question by studying the investment trends of top investors, who employ world-class Ivy League graduates, who are given immense resources and industry contacts to put their financial expertise to work. The top picks of these firms have historically outperformed the market when we account for known risk factors, making them very valuable investment ideas.

The Hartford Financial Services Group Inc (NYSE:HIG) investors should pay attention to an increase in activity from the world's largest hedge funds recently. The Hartford Financial Services Group Inc (NYSE:HIG) was in 57 hedge funds' portfolios at the end of the first quarter of 2021. The all time high for this statistic was previously 51. This means the bullish number of hedge fund positions in this stock currently sits at its all time high. Our calculations also showed that HIG isn't among the 30 most popular stocks among hedge funds (click for Q1 rankings).

In today’s marketplace there are a multitude of tools shareholders employ to value stocks. Two of the less utilized tools are hedge fund and insider trading moves. Our researchers have shown that, historically, those who follow the top picks of the elite investment managers can outperform the broader indices by a solid margin (see the details here). Also, our monthly newsletter's portfolio of long stock picks returned 206.8% since March 2017 (through May 2021) and beat the S&P 500 Index by more than 115 percentage points. You can download a sample issue of this newsletter on our website .

Ric Dillon Diamond Hill Capital
Ric Dillon Diamond Hill Capital

Ric Dillon of Diamond Hill Capital

At Insider Monkey we leave no stone unturned when looking for the next great investment idea. For example, advertising technology one of the fastest growing industries right now, so we are checking out stock pitches like this under-the-radar adtech stock that can deliver 10x gains. We go through lists like the 10 best hydrogen fuel cell 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. 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. Keeping this in mind let's take a peek at the latest hedge fund action surrounding The Hartford Financial Services Group Inc (NYSE:HIG).

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

At Q1's end, a total of 57 of the hedge funds tracked by Insider Monkey were long this stock, a change of 58% from the fourth quarter of 2020. The graph below displays the number of hedge funds with bullish position in HIG over the last 23 quarters. With the smart money's capital changing hands, there exists a select group of noteworthy hedge fund managers who were upping their stakes meaningfully (or already accumulated large positions).

When looking at the institutional investors followed by Insider Monkey, Ric Dillon's Diamond Hill Capital has the most valuable position in The Hartford Financial Services Group Inc (NYSE:HIG), worth close to $467.9 million, corresponding to 1.9% of its total 13F portfolio. The second largest stake is held by D. E. Shaw of D E Shaw, with a $234.7 million position; 0.2% of its 13F portfolio is allocated to the company. Other peers that hold long positions comprise Andreas Halvorsen's Viking Global, Ken Griffin's Citadel Investment Group and Ryan Tolkin (CIO)'s Schonfeld Strategic Advisors. In terms of the portfolio weights assigned to each position Litespeed Management allocated the biggest weight to The Hartford Financial Services Group Inc (NYSE:HIG), around 3.81% of its 13F portfolio. Prana Capital Management is also relatively very bullish on the stock, designating 3.28 percent of its 13F equity portfolio to HIG.

Now, key money managers were leading the bulls' herd. Schonfeld Strategic Advisors, managed by Ryan Tolkin (CIO), assembled the most valuable call position in The Hartford Financial Services Group Inc (NYSE:HIG). Schonfeld Strategic Advisors had $99.1 million invested in the company at the end of the quarter. Dmitry Balyasny's Balyasny Asset Management also made a $92 million investment in the stock during the quarter. The other funds with brand new HIG positions are Matthew Halbower's Pentwater Capital Management, Frank Brosens's Taconic Capital, and Joseph Samuels's Islet Management.

Let's now take a look at hedge fund activity in other stocks - not necessarily in the same industry as The Hartford Financial Services Group Inc (NYSE:HIG) but similarly valued. These stocks are Itau Unibanco Holding SA (NYSE:ITUB), Trip.com Group Limited (NASDAQ:TCOM), United Rentals, Inc. (NYSE:URI), Canon Inc. (NYSE:CAJ), Synchrony Financial (NYSE:SYF), Coca-Cola Europacific Partners PLC (NYSE:CCEP), and Realty Income Corporation (NYSE:O). This group of stocks' market values are closest to HIG's market value.

[table] Ticker, No of HFs with positions, Total Value of HF Positions (x1000), Change in HF Position ITUB,12,180456,-7 TCOM,35,2144297,1 URI,41,1021749,-5 CAJ,9,59274,2 SYF,49,1861601,-1 CCEP,25,1110385,-3 O,18,183624,-6 Average,27,937341,-2.7 [/table]

View table here if you experience formatting issues.

As you can see these stocks had an average of 27 hedge funds with bullish positions and the average amount invested in these stocks was $937 million. That figure was $1861 million in HIG's case. Synchrony Financial (NYSE:SYF) is the most popular stock in this table. On the other hand Canon Inc. (NYSE:CAJ) is the least popular one with only 9 bullish hedge fund positions. Compared to these stocks The Hartford Financial Services Group Inc (NYSE:HIG) is more popular among hedge funds. Our overall hedge fund sentiment score for HIG is 90. 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. 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 17.2% in 2021 through June 11th and still beat the market by 3.3 percentage points. Unfortunately HIG wasn't nearly as popular as these 5 stocks and hedge funds that were betting on HIG were disappointed as the stock returned -2% since the end of the first quarter (through 6/11) 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 most 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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