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First Bancorp (FBP): Hedge Funds Are Bearish and Insiders Are Bullish, What Should You Do?

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Is First Bancorp (NYSE:FBP) a healthy stock for your portfolio? Prominent investors are getting less optimistic. The number of bullish hedge fund bets dropped by 1 recently.

To the average investor, there are a multitude of gauges investors can use to track publicly traded companies. A duo of the most innovative are hedge fund and insider trading interest. At Insider Monkey, our studies have shown that, historically, those who follow the best picks of the elite fund managers can beat the market by a solid margin (see just how much).

First Bancorp (NYSE:FBP)

Just as important, optimistic insider trading activity is another way to parse down the financial markets. Just as you’d expect, there are a number of incentives for an upper level exec to drop shares of his or her company, but only one, very simple reason why they would behave bullishly. Many academic studies have demonstrated the useful potential of this tactic if investors know where to look (learn more here).

Keeping this in mind, it’s important to take a look at the recent action surrounding First Bancorp (NYSE:FBP).

How have hedgies been trading First Bancorp (NYSE:FBP)?

At year’s end, a total of 8 of the hedge funds we track were long in this stock, a change of -11% from one quarter earlier. With the smart money’s positions undergoing their usual ebb and flow, there exists a select group of key hedge fund managers who were upping their stakes meaningfully.

According to our comprehensive database, Oaktree Capital Management, managed by Howard Marks, holds the biggest position in First Bancorp (NYSE:FBP). Oaktree Capital Management has a $232.1 million position in the stock, comprising 4.3% of its 13F portfolio. The second largest stake is held by Jim Simons of Renaissance Technologies, with a $1.5 million position; the fund has less than 0.1%% of its 13F portfolio invested in the stock. Remaining hedge funds that hold long positions include D. E. Shaw’s D E Shaw, Israel Englander’s Millennium Management and Ken Griffin’s Citadel Investment Group.

Judging by the fact that First Bancorp (NYSE:FBP) has faced declining sentiment from hedge fund managers, it’s safe to say that there lies a certain “tier” of hedge funds who were dropping their entire stakes in Q4. At the top of the heap, Matthew Lindenbaum’s Basswood Capital cut the biggest investment of all the hedgies we key on, comprising close to $2.3 million in stock.. Steven Cohen’s fund, SAC Capital Advisors, also dropped its stock, about $0.2 million worth. These transactions are interesting, as aggregate hedge fund interest was cut by 1 funds in Q4.

How have insiders been trading First Bancorp (NYSE:FBP)?

Insider buying is at its handiest when the company in question has experienced transactions within the past 180 days. Over the last six-month time period, First Bancorp (NYSE:FBP) has experienced 1 unique insiders purchasing, and zero insider sales (see the details of insider trades here).

Let’s go over hedge fund and insider activity in other stocks similar to First Bancorp (NYSE:FBP). These stocks are Grupo Financero Sntdr Mxco SAB de CV ADR (NYSE:BSMX), Grupo Financiero Galicia S.A. (ADR) (NASDAQ:GGAL), Popular Inc (NASDAQ:BPOP), BBVA Banco Frances S.A. (ADR) (NYSE:BFR), and Banco Macro SA (ADR) (NYSE:BMA). All of these stocks are in the foreign regional banks industry and their market caps are similar to FBP’s market cap.

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