Do Hedge Funds and Insiders Love Fifth Third Bancorp (NASDAQ:FITB)?

Fifth Third Bancorp (NASDAQ:FITB) was in 29 hedge funds’ portfolio at the end of the fourth quarter of 2012. FITB investors should pay attention to a decrease in activity from the world’s largest hedge funds in recent months. There were 38 hedge funds in our database with FITB positions at the end of the previous quarter.

Fifth Third Bancorp (NASDAQ:FITB)

In today’s marketplace, there are many gauges shareholders can use to watch stocks. Some of the best are hedge fund and insider trading activity. At Insider Monkey, our studies have shown that, historically, those who follow the best picks of the top money managers can outclass the market by a superb margin (see just how much).

Equally as important, positive insider trading sentiment is another way to break down the investments you’re interested in. Just as you’d expect, there are a number of motivations for an insider to downsize shares of his or her company, but just one, very clear reason why they would buy. Many empirical studies have demonstrated the useful potential of this strategy if shareholders know where to look (learn more here).

Keeping this in mind, let’s take a gander at the latest action encompassing Fifth Third Bancorp (NASDAQ:FITB).

What does the smart money think about Fifth Third Bancorp (NASDAQ:FITB)?

Heading into 2013, a total of 29 of the hedge funds we track were long in this stock, a change of -24% from the previous quarter. With hedgies’ positions undergoing their usual ebb and flow, there exists a few notable hedge fund managers who were boosting their stakes considerably.

When looking at the hedgies we track, Citadel Investment Group, managed by Ken Griffin, holds the biggest position in Fifth Third Bancorp (NASDAQ:FITB). Citadel Investment Group has a $140 million position in the stock, comprising 0.2% of its 13F portfolio. The second largest stake is held by Legg Mason Capital Management, managed by Bill Miller, which held a $106 million position; the fund has 1.9% of its 13F portfolio invested in the stock. Some other hedge funds that are bullish include Cliff Asness’s AQR Capital Management, Richard S. Pzena’s Pzena Investment Management and Chuck Royce’s Royce & Associates.

Because Fifth Third Bancorp (NASDAQ:FITB) has faced falling interest from hedge fund managers, we can see that there is a sect of hedge funds that decided to sell off their full holdings last quarter. Intriguingly, Donald Chiboucis’s Columbus Circle Investors sold off the largest position of the “upper crust” of funds we key on, comprising an estimated $33 million in stock.. Anand Parekh’s fund, Alyeska Investment Group, also sold off its stock, about $32 million worth. These moves are interesting, as aggregate hedge fund interest fell by 9 funds last quarter.

Insider trading activity in Fifth Third Bancorp (NASDAQ:FITB)

Insider trading activity, especially when it’s bullish, is particularly usable when the company in focus has experienced transactions within the past half-year. Over the last half-year time frame, Fifth Third Bancorp (NASDAQ:FITB) has experienced zero unique insiders buying, and 1 insider sales (see the details of insider trades here).

With the returns shown by the aforementioned time-tested strategies, everyday investors should always pay attention to hedge fund and insider trading sentiment, and Fifth Third Bancorp (NASDAQ:FITB) is no exception.

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