Berkshire Hills Bancorp, Inc. (BHLB): Insiders Are Buying, Should You?

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Berkshire Hills Bancorp, Inc. (NYSE:BHLB) was in 6 hedge funds' portfolio at the end of March. BHLB has seen a decrease in support from the world's most elite money managers of late. There were 7 hedge funds in our database with BHLB holdings at the end of the previous quarter.

In the financial world, there are plenty of gauges market participants can use to analyze the equity markets. A couple of the most underrated are hedge fund and insider trading movement. At Insider Monkey, our studies have shown that, historically, those who follow the best picks of the elite money managers can outperform the S&P 500 by a solid amount (see just how much).

Chuck RoyceEqually as key, optimistic insider trading activity is another way to parse down the investments you're interested in. Obviously, there are a number of incentives for an upper level exec to sell shares of his or her company, but only one, very clear reason why they would buy. Plenty of empirical studies have demonstrated the useful potential of this tactic if you know where to look (learn more here).

With these "truths" under our belt, it's important to take a peek at the key action surrounding Berkshire Hills Bancorp, Inc. (NYSE:BHLB).

How have hedgies been trading Berkshire Hills Bancorp, Inc. (NYSE:BHLB)?

At Q1's end, a total of 6 of the hedge funds we track were bullish in this stock, a change of -14% from the first quarter. With the smart money's sentiment swirling, there exists a select group of noteworthy hedge fund managers who were upping their stakes significantly.

When looking at the hedgies we track, Chuck Royce's Royce & Associates had the most valuable position in Berkshire Hills Bancorp, Inc. (NYSE:BHLB), worth close to $25.8 million, comprising 0.1% of its total 13F portfolio. Coming in second is Ken Gray and Steve Walsh of Bryn Mawr Capital, with a $17.2 million position; 1.2% of its 13F portfolio is allocated to the stock. Remaining hedgies that hold long positions include Lisa Rapuano's Lane Five Capital, D. E. Shaw's D E Shaw and Jim Simons's Renaissance Technologies.

Because Berkshire Hills Bancorp, Inc. (NYSE:BHLB) has experienced a declination in interest from the aggregate hedge fund industry, it's easy to see that there were a few fund managers who sold off their full holdings last quarter. At the top of the heap, Matthew Tewksbury's Stevens Capital Management cut the largest investment of the 450+ funds we key on, valued at an estimated $0.7 million in stock. These moves are intriguing to say the least, as total hedge fund interest was cut by 1 funds last quarter.

How are insiders trading Berkshire Hills Bancorp, Inc. (NYSE:BHLB)?

Bullish insider trading is particularly usable when the company in question has experienced transactions within the past 180 days. Over the last 180-day time frame, Berkshire Hills Bancorp, Inc. (NYSE:BHLB) has seen 1 unique insiders purchasing, and 1 insider sales (see the details of insider trades here).

Let's also review hedge fund and insider activity in other stocks similar to Berkshire Hills Bancorp, Inc. (NYSE:BHLB). These stocks are Flushing Financial Corporation (NASDAQ:FFIC), Flagstar Bancorp Inc (NYSE:FBC), Kearny Financial Corp. (NASDAQ:KRNY), Banner Corporation (NASDAQ:BANR), and Brookline Bancorp, Inc. (NASDAQ:BRKL). This group of stocks are the members of the savings & loans industry and their market caps resemble BHLB's market cap.

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