Is Sterling Financial Corporation (NASDAQ:STSA) a buy, sell, or hold? Money managers are in a pessimistic mood. The number of bullish hedge fund bets were trimmed by 3 in recent months.
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Equally as beneficial, optimistic insider trading activity is a second way to parse down the stock market universe. Obviously, there are many reasons for a bullish insider to get rid of shares of his or her company, but just one, very simple reason why they would behave bullishly. Plenty of empirical studies have demonstrated the impressive potential of this strategy if investors understand what to do (learn more here).
Consequently, we’re going to take a peek at the recent action encompassing Sterling Financial Corporation (NASDAQ:STSA).
How are hedge funds trading Sterling Financial Corporation (NASDAQ:STSA)?
At year’s end, a total of 8 of the hedge funds we track held long positions in this stock, a change of -27% from one quarter earlier. With the smart money’s positions undergoing their usual ebb and flow, there exists a select group of key hedge fund managers who were increasing their stakes substantially.
Of the funds we track, King Street Capital, managed by Brian J. Higgins, holds the largest position in Sterling Financial Corporation (NASDAQ:STSA). King Street Capital has a $31.1 million position in the stock, comprising 6.9% of its 13F portfolio. On King Street Capital’s heels is Renaissance Technologies, managed by Jim Simons, which held a $4.3 million position; less than 0.1%% of its 13F portfolio is allocated to the company. Other peers that are bullish include D. E. Shaw’s D E Shaw, Bruce Kovner’s Caxton Associates LP and Cliff Asness’s AQR Capital Management.
Due to the fact that Sterling Financial Corporation (NASDAQ:STSA) has witnessed declining sentiment from the smart money, logic holds that there exists a select few money managers that decided to sell off their positions entirely in Q4. Intriguingly, Kevin Michael Ulrich’s Anchorage Advisors sold off the biggest investment of the 450+ funds we monitor, comprising an estimated $1 million in stock.. Douglas W. Case’s fund, Advanced Investment Partners, also sold off its stock, about $0.6 million worth. These transactions are interesting, as aggregate hedge fund interest fell by 3 funds in Q4.
How are insiders trading Sterling Financial Corporation (NASDAQ:STSA)?
Insider buying is most useful when the primary stock in question has experienced transactions within the past half-year. Over the last half-year time frame, Sterling Financial Corporation (NASDAQ:STSA) has seen zero unique insiders buying, and zero insider sales (see the details of insider trades here).
Let’s go over hedge fund and insider activity in other stocks similar to Sterling Financial Corporation (NASDAQ:STSA). These stocks are Provident Financial Services, Inc. (NYSE:PFS), Astoria Financial Corp (NYSE:AF), Washington Federal Inc. (NASDAQ:WAFD), Capitol Federal Financial, Inc. (NASDAQ:CFFN), and Northwest Bancshares, Inc. (NASDAQ:NWBI). This group of stocks are in the savings & loans industry and their market caps are similar to STSA’s market cap.