This Metric Says You Are Smart to Buy S & T Bancorp Inc (STBA)

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S & T Bancorp Inc (NASDAQ:STBA) has seen an increase in activity from the world’s largest hedge funds lately.

According to most stock holders, hedge funds are viewed as worthless, old investment tools of yesteryear. While there are over 8000 funds trading today, we hone in on the masters of this club, around 450 funds. It is estimated that this group oversees the lion’s share of the hedge fund industry’s total asset base, and by watching their highest performing equity investments, we have spotted a number of investment strategies that have historically outstripped the broader indices. Our small-cap hedge fund strategy beat the S&P 500 index by 18 percentage points a year 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 outclassed the S&P 500 index by 24 percentage points in 7 months (check out a sample of our picks).

S & T Bancorp Inc (NASDAQ:STBA)

Just as integral, bullish insider trading sentiment is another way to break down the financial markets. Obviously, there are lots of stimuli for an insider to cut shares of his or her company, but only one, very clear reason why they would behave bullishly. Various academic studies have demonstrated the market-beating potential of this tactic if investors understand where to look (learn more here).

With all of this in mind, let’s take a glance at the latest action encompassing S & T Bancorp Inc (NASDAQ:STBA).

What does the smart money think about S & T Bancorp Inc (NASDAQ:STBA)?

In preparation for this year, a total of 5 of the hedge funds we track held long positions in this stock, a change of 67% from the previous quarter. With hedge funds’ sentiment swirling, there exists an “upper tier” of key hedge fund managers who were boosting their holdings substantially.

According to our comprehensive database, Ken Gray and Steve Walsh’s Bryn Mawr Capital had the most valuable position in S & T Bancorp Inc (NASDAQ:STBA), worth close to $3.3 million, comprising 0.3% of its total 13F portfolio. The second largest stake is held by Citadel Investment Group, managed by Ken Griffin, which held a $0.6 million position; the fund has less than 0.1%% of its 13F portfolio invested in the stock. Other peers that hold long positions include Israel Englander’s Millennium Management, John Overdeck and David Siegel’s Two Sigma Advisors and Jim Simons’s Renaissance Technologies.

As industrywide interest jumped, key hedge funds have been driving this bullishness. Citadel Investment Group, managed by Ken Griffin, initiated the most outsized position in S & T Bancorp Inc (NASDAQ:STBA). Citadel Investment Group had 0.6 million invested in the company at the end of the quarter. Israel Englander’s Millennium Management also initiated a $0.6 million position during the quarter. The only other fund with a new position in the stock is Jim Simons’s Renaissance Technologies.

What have insiders been doing with S & T Bancorp Inc (NASDAQ:STBA)?

Insider buying is best served when the company in question has experienced transactions within the past 180 days. Over the last half-year time period, S & T Bancorp Inc (NASDAQ:STBA) has seen 1 unique insiders buying, and 6 insider sales (see the details of insider trades here).

Let’s also review hedge fund and insider activity in other stocks similar to S & T Bancorp Inc (NASDAQ:STBA). These stocks are Oritani Financial Corp. (NASDAQ:ORIT), Washington Trust Bancorp (NASDAQ:WASH), Northfield Bancorp Inc (NASDAQ:NFBK), Tompkins Financial Corporation (NYSEAMEX:TMP), and TrustCo Bank Corp NY (NASDAQ:TRST). This group of stocks belong to the regional – northeast banks industry and their market caps are closest to STBA’s market cap.

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