Is BankUnited (NYSE:BKU) a buy right now? Hedge funds are in an optimistic mood. The number of long hedge fund positions inched up by 5 recently.
To the average investor, there are a multitude of methods shareholders can use to track their holdings. Two of the best are hedge fund and insider trading interest. At Insider Monkey, our studies have shown that, historically, those who follow the best picks of the best fund managers can beat the market by a very impressive margin (see just how much).
Equally as integral, optimistic insider trading sentiment is a second way to parse down the world of equities. Obviously, there are a number of motivations for a corporate insider to drop shares of his or her company, but only one, very simple reason why they would initiate a purchase. Several academic studies have demonstrated the useful potential of this strategy if you understand where to look (learn more here).
With these "truths" under our belt, it's important to take a gander at the key action surrounding BankUnited (NYSE:BKU).
In preparation for this quarter, a total of 14 of the hedge funds we track were bullish in this stock, a change of 56% from the previous quarter. With hedge funds' positions undergoing their usual ebb and flow, there exists a select group of key hedge fund managers who were boosting their holdings meaningfully.
According to our comprehensive database, Wilbur Ross's Invesco Private Capital (WL Ross) had the most valuable position in BankUnited (NYSE:BKU), worth close to $209.8 million, comprising 21.1% of its total 13F portfolio. The second largest stake is held by Centerbridge Partners, managed by Mark T. Gallogly, which held a $164.8 million position; 19.1% of its 13F portfolio is allocated to the stock. Remaining hedge funds with similar optimism include John A. Levin's Levin Capital Strategies, Jim Simons's Renaissance Technologies and Chuck Royce's Royce & Associates.
As aggregate interest increased, specific money managers were breaking ground themselves. Levin Capital Strategies, managed by John A. Levin, established the largest position in BankUnited (NYSE:BKU). Levin Capital Strategies had 24.1 million invested in the company at the end of the quarter. Matthew Tewksbury's Stevens Capital Management also made a $1.8 million investment in the stock during the quarter. The other funds with new positions in the stock are Paul Tudor Jones's Tudor Investment Corp, SAC Subsidiary's Sigma Capital Management, and Joel Greenblatt's Gotham Asset Management.
Insider trading activity, especially when it's bullish, is most useful when the company we're looking at has seen transactions within the past six months. Over the last six-month time period, BankUnited (NYSE:BKU) has seen zero unique insiders purchasing, and 11 insider sales (see the details of insider trades here).
Let's also take a look at hedge fund and insider activity in other stocks similar to BankUnited (NYSE:BKU). These stocks are WesBanco, Inc. (NASDAQ:WSBC), SCBT Financial Corporation (NASDAQ:SCBT), United Bankshares, Inc. (NASDAQ:UBSI), First Citizens BancShares Inc. (NASDAQ:FCNCA), and Synovus Financial Corp. (NYSE:SNV). This group of stocks are in the regional - mid-atlantic banks industry and their market caps are closest to BKU's market cap.