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Should You Buy Banco Santander, S.A. (ADR) (SAN)?

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Banco Santander, S.A. (ADR) (NYSE:SAN) was in 17 hedge funds’ portfolio at the end of the first quarter of 2013. SAN investors should be aware of an increase in enthusiasm from smart money in recent months. There were 13 hedge funds in our database with SAN positions at the end of the previous quarter.

Banco Santander, S.A. (ADR) (NYSE:SAN)

In the financial world, there are plenty of gauges shareholders can use to analyze publicly traded companies. A couple of the most innovative are hedge fund and insider trading interest. At Insider Monkey, our studies have shown that, historically, those who follow the top picks of the elite money managers can outclass their index-focused peers by a solid margin (see just how much).

Equally as key, optimistic insider trading activity is another way to break down the financial markets. There are a number of motivations for an executive to cut shares of his or her company, but just one, very simple reason why they would buy. Various academic studies have demonstrated the impressive potential of this strategy if shareholders understand what to do (learn more here).

With all of this in mind, it’s important to take a peek at the key action regarding Banco Santander, S.A. (ADR) (NYSE:SAN).

How are hedge funds trading Banco Santander, S.A. (ADR) (NYSE:SAN)?

At the end of the first quarter, a total of 17 of the hedge funds we track held long positions in this stock, a change of 31% from one quarter earlier. With hedge funds’ positions undergoing their usual ebb and flow, there exists an “upper tier” of key hedge fund managers who were boosting their holdings considerably.

When looking at the hedgies we track, D E Shaw, managed by D. E. Shaw, holds the biggest position in Banco Santander, S.A. (ADR) (NYSE:SAN). D E Shaw has a $23 million position in the stock, comprising 0.1% of its 13F portfolio. Coming in second is Fisher Asset Management, managed by Ken Fisher, which held a $21.2 million position; 0.1% of its 13F portfolio is allocated to the company. Remaining hedge funds that hold long positions include Jim Simons’s Renaissance Technologies, Jim Simons’s Renaissance Technologies and Cliff Asness’s AQR Capital Management.

Now, some big names have jumped into Banco Santander, S.A. (ADR) (NYSE:SAN) headfirst. Courage Capital, managed by Richard C. Patton, assembled the biggest call position in Banco Santander, S.A. (ADR) (NYSE:SAN). Courage Capital had 2 million invested in the company at the end of the quarter. Mike Vranos’s Ellington also initiated a $0.5 million position during the quarter. The other funds with new positions in the stock are Matthew Tewksbury’s Stevens Capital Management, Bill Miller’s Legg Mason Capital Management, and Matthew Tewksbury’s Stevens Capital Management.

How are insiders trading Banco Santander, S.A. (ADR) (NYSE:SAN)?

Insider trading activity, especially when it’s bullish, is particularly usable when the company in question has seen transactions within the past six months. Over the latest six-month time frame, Banco Santander, S.A. (ADR) (NYSE:SAN) has seen 1 unique insiders buying, and zero insider sales (see the details of insider trades here).

Let’s also review hedge fund and insider activity in other stocks similar to Banco Santander, S.A. (ADR) (NYSE:SAN). These stocks are Westpac Banking Corporation (ADR) (NYSE:WBK), Lloyds Banking Group PLC (ADR) (NYSE:LYG), Barclays PLC (ADR) (NYSE:BCS), UBS AG (USA) (NYSE:UBS), and Itau Unibanco Holding SA (ADR) (NYSE:ITUB). All of these stocks are in the foreign money center banks industry and their market caps match SAN’s market cap.

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