Cyber Monday Beats Black Friday: Hedge Funds Love These Online Retailers

New data shows that Cyber Monday, the younger virtual cousin of Black Friday, has won out as the biggest online shopping day in history.

Online sales rose 22 percent to $1.25 billion on Cyber Monday, when retailers ramp up online promotions, according to research firm comScore, that makes it the biggest online shopping day ever, the research firm said. A year ago, Cyber Monday sales topped $1 billion for the first time (via CNBC.com).

According to IBM Benchmark, as of 3 p.m. ET, online sales were up 15% from last year.

Shopping in the new age
Besides causing online retailers to jump for joy, Cyber Monday highlights the number of American consumers who have become more comfortable with using their personal computers, tablets, and smartphones to shop.

This means adaptation for retailers who want to capitalize on the shifting market habits. Heavy promotions, time sensitive discounts, free shipping, and online coupon codes all play a strong role in bringing customers to websites and boosting revenues.

Also significant is the medium consumers use to shop. According to CNN, more than 12% of the people surfing retailer sites were using mobile devices, according to IBM Benchmark, and more than 7% of the purchases made were on mobile. That's up from 3.2% last year. iPhone and iPad were the top mobile devices for retail traffic, with Android devices coming in third.

"When you look at the numbers ... you can really see how fast the mobile experience and the mobile user is impacting online sales," says IBM's John Squire, chief strategy officer for IBM Smarter Commerce.

Investing ideas
Amazon, Best Buy, Macy's, Walmart, and nearly every major (and minor) retailer beyond were advertising their Cyber Monday deals. "Even nontraditional businesses such as airlines and hotels were getting in on the act with Monday travel discounts," reports CNN.

So, which Internet information providers were most expected to benefit from the national online shopping spree, and more importantly, the increased Internet activity?

To find out we looked for the Internet information provider stocks that have recently received bullish sentiment from institutional buyers -- meaning they have net positive purchases in the current quarter.

"Smart Money" seems to think there's an upside to these names, do you agree? (Click here to access free, interactive tools to analyze these ideas.)

1. HomeAway (NAS: AWAY) : Operates an online marketplace for the vacation rental industry. Market cap of $2.06B. Net institutional shares purchased over the current quarter at 13.1M, which is 38.37% of the company's 34.14M share float. The stock is currently stuck in a downtrend, trading -19.81% below its SMA20, -25.29% below its SMA50, and -30.46% below its SMA200. It's been a rough couple of days for the stock, losing 17.03% over the last week.

2. InfoSpace (NAS: INSP) : Develops search tools and technologies that assist consumers with finding content and information on the Internet. Market cap of $371.04M. Net institutional shares purchased over the current quarter at 1.7M, which is 5.29% of the company's 32.15M share float. Might be undervalued at current levels, with a PEG ratio at 0.9, and P/FCF ratio at 12.84. The stock has had a couple of great days, gaining 11.1% over the last week.

3. Pandora Medi, (NYS: P) : Operates as an Internet radio company in the United States. Market cap of $1.59B. Net institutional shares purchased over the current quarter at 4.1M, which is 7.47% of the company's 54.87M share float. The stock is a short squeeze candidate, with a short float at 5.79% (equivalent to 11.7 days of average volume). It's been a rough couple of days for the stock, losing 21.33% over the last week.

4. Bankrate (NAS: RATE) : Bankrate, offers online financial data feed management services. Market cap of $1.83B. Net institutional shares purchased over the current quarter at 23.5M, which is 92.48% of the company's 25.41M share float. The stock is a short squeeze candidate, with a short float at 17.01% (equivalent to 14.08 days of average volume).

5. Sohu.com (NAS: SOHU) : Engages in the brand advertising, online gaming, sponsored search, and wireless businesses in China. Market cap of $1.83B. Net institutional shares purchased over the current quarter at 1.1M, which is 3.69% of the company's 29.82M share float. Might be undervalued at current levels, with a PEG ratio at 0.64, and P/FCF ratio at 8.45. It's been a rough couple of days for the stock, losing 7.24% over the last week.

6. XO Group (NAS: XOXO) : Provides multiplatform media services to the wedding, newlywed, and pregnancy markets in the United States. Market cap of $207.71M. Net institutional shares purchased over the current quarter at 7.3M, which is 28.53% of the company's 25.59M share float. The stock is a short squeeze candidate, with a short float at 6.63% (equivalent to 9.95 days of average volume). The stock has performed poorly over the last month, losing 23.36%.

Interactive Chart: Press Play to compare changes in analyst ratings over the last two years for the stocks mentioned above. Analyst ratings sourced from Zacks Investment Research.


Kapitall's Rebecca Lipman does not own any of the shares mentioned above. Institutional data sourced from Fidelity, all other data from Finviz.

At the time this article was published Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of Sohu.com and HomeAway. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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