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Is First Bancorp (FBP) Going to Burn These Hedge Funds?

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First Bancorp (NYSE:FBP) investors should be aware of a decrease in support from the world’s most elite money managers lately.

First Bancorp (NYSE:FBP)

If you’d ask most stock holders, hedge funds are viewed as worthless, old investment vehicles of yesteryear. While there are more than 8000 funds trading at the moment, we look at the bigwigs of this group, close to 450 funds. It is estimated that this group controls the majority of the smart money’s total asset base, and by watching their top investments, we have uncovered a few investment strategies that have historically outperformed Mr. Market. Our small-cap hedge fund strategy outperformed the S&P 500 index by 18 percentage points per annum for a decade in our back tests, and since we’ve started sharing our picks with our subscribers at the end of August 2012, we have outpaced the S&P 500 index by 23.3 percentage points in 8 months (see the details here).

Just as beneficial, positive insider trading activity is a second way to break down the marketplace. There are a variety of motivations for an upper level exec to sell shares of his or her company, but just one, very simple reason why they would behave bullishly. Many empirical studies have demonstrated the impressive potential of this strategy if you understand what to do (learn more here).

Now, we’re going to take a glance at the recent action surrounding First Bancorp (NYSE:FBP).

What does the smart money think about First Bancorp (NYSE:FBP)?

At the end of the first quarter, a total of 8 of the hedge funds we track were long in this stock, a change of 0% from the first quarter. With hedge funds’ positions undergoing their usual ebb and flow, there exists a select group of notable hedge fund managers who were upping their holdings significantly.

When looking at the hedgies we track, Oaktree Capital Management, managed by Howard Marks, holds the largest position in First Bancorp (NYSE:FBP). Oaktree Capital Management has a $315.8 million position in the stock, comprising 6.4% of its 13F portfolio. Coming in second is Basswood Capital, managed by Matthew Lindenbaum, which held a $9.1 million position; the fund has 0.7% of its 13F portfolio invested in the stock. Remaining hedge funds with similar optimism include Tom Brown’s Second Curve Capital, Jim Simons’s Renaissance Technologies and Andy Redleaf’s Whitebox Advisors.

Judging by the fact that First Bancorp (NYSE:FBP) has witnessed falling interest from the smart money, it’s easy to see that there were a few hedgies who were dropping their full holdings last quarter. Intriguingly, Israel Englander’s Millennium Management sold off the largest investment of all the hedgies we monitor, worth close to $0.6 million in stock.. Ken Griffin’s fund, Citadel Investment Group, also cut its stock, about $0.4 million worth. These transactions are intriguing to say the least, as aggregate hedge fund interest stayed the same (this is a bearish signal in our experience).

What have insiders been doing with First Bancorp (NYSE:FBP)?

Insider trading activity, especially when it’s bullish, is at its handiest when the company in question has experienced transactions within the past six months. Over the last 180-day time period, First Bancorp (NYSE:FBP) has seen 1 unique insiders buying, and zero insider sales (see the details of insider trades here).

Let’s check out 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 closest to FBP’s market cap.

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