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Should You Avoid Comerica Incorporated (CMA)?

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Is Comerica Incorporated (NYSE:CMA) a bargain? The best stock pickers are taking a bearish view. The number of long hedge fund positions were trimmed by 4 lately.

If you’d ask most shareholders, hedge funds are viewed as slow, old financial tools of years past. While there are greater than 8000 funds trading today, we look at the crème de la crème of this club, around 450 funds. It is widely believed that this group controls most of the smart money’s total capital, and by watching their highest performing picks, we have revealed a few investment strategies that have historically outpaced Mr. Market. Our small-cap hedge fund strategy outpaced the S&P 500 index by 18 percentage points annually for a decade in our back tests, and since we’ve began to sharing our picks with our subscribers at the end of August 2012, we have topped the S&P 500 index by 23.3 percentage points in 8 months (see the details here).

Comerica Incorporated (NYSE:CMA)

Equally as important, optimistic insider trading sentiment is a second way to break down the investments you’re interested in. Just as you’d expect, there are lots of incentives for an upper level exec to get rid of shares of his or her company, but just one, very obvious reason why they would behave bullishly. Plenty of academic studies have demonstrated the market-beating potential of this method if piggybackers understand where to look (learn more here).

Keeping this in mind, let’s take a glance at the latest action regarding Comerica Incorporated (NYSE:CMA).

How are hedge funds trading Comerica Incorporated (NYSE:CMA)?

At Q1’s end, a total of 20 of the hedge funds we track were bullish in this stock, a change of -17% from the first quarter. With hedge funds’ positions undergoing their usual ebb and flow, there exists a few notable hedge fund managers who were upping their holdings significantly.

When looking at the hedgies we track, Third Avenue Management, managed by Martin Whitman, holds the most valuable position in Comerica Incorporated (NYSE:CMA). Third Avenue Management has a $91.8 million position in the stock, comprising 1.8% of its 13F portfolio. The second largest stake is held by Richard S. Pzena of Pzena Investment Management, with a $69 million position; the fund has 0.5% of its 13F portfolio invested in the stock. Remaining peers with similar optimism include Phill Gross and Robert Atchinson’s Adage Capital Management, John Brennan’s Sirios Capital Management and Cliff Asness’s AQR Capital Management.

Because Comerica Incorporated (NYSE:CMA) has experienced falling interest from the entirety of the hedge funds we track, it’s easy to see that there were a few funds that slashed their entire stakes in Q1. At the top of the heap, Ken Griffin’s Citadel Investment Group sold off the biggest investment of all the hedgies we watch, valued at about $29.3 million in stock.. Steven Cohen’s fund, SAC Capital Advisors, also dropped its stock, about $6.4 million worth. These transactions are intriguing to say the least, as total hedge fund interest fell by 4 funds in Q1.

What do corporate executives and insiders think about Comerica Incorporated (NYSE:CMA)?

Insider buying is at its handiest when the company in question has experienced transactions within the past six months. Over the last 180-day time frame, Comerica Incorporated (NYSE:CMA) has seen zero unique insiders purchasing, and 4 insider sales (see the details of insider trades here).

Let’s check out hedge fund and insider activity in other stocks similar to Comerica Incorporated (NYSE:CMA). These stocks are Firstmerit Corp (NASDAQ:FMER), Associated Banc Corp (NASDAQ:ASBC), Fifth Third Bancorp (NASDAQ:FITB), TFS Financial Corporation (NASDAQ:TFSL), and Huntington Bancshares Incorporated (NASDAQ:HBAN). This group of stocks are the members of the regional – midwest banks industry and their market caps resemble CMA’s market cap.

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