Do Hedge Funds Love Banner Corporation (BANR)?

Legendary investors such as Leon Cooperman and Seth Klarman earn enormous amounts of money for themselves and their investors by doing in-depth research on small-cap stocks that big brokerage houses don’t publish. Small cap stocks -especially when they are screened well- can generate substantial outperformance versus a boring index fund. That’s why we analyze the activity of those elite funds in these small-cap stocks. In the following paragraphs, we analyze Banner Corporation (NASDAQ:BANR) from the perspective of those elite funds.

Is Banner Corporation (NASDAQ:BANR) the right pick for your portfolio? Prominent investors are taking an optimistic view. The number of long hedge fund positions increased by 5 lately. At the end of this article we will also compare BANR to other stocks including Cooper-Standard Holdings Inc (NYSE:CPS), Tornier N.V. (NASDAQ:TRNX), and Enerplus Corp (USA) (NYSE:ERF) to get a better sense of its popularity.

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With all of this in mind, we’re going to take a glance at the fresh action surrounding Banner Corporation (NASDAQ:BANR).

How have hedgies been trading Banner Corporation (NASDAQ:BANR)?

At the end of the third quarter, a total of 17 of the hedge funds tracked by Insider Monkey held long positions in this stock, a change of 42% from the previous quarter. With hedgies’ sentiment swirling, there exists a select group of noteworthy hedge fund managers who were increasing their holdings considerably (or already accumulated large positions).

According to Insider Monkey’s hedge fund database, Forest Hill Capital, managed by Mark Lee, holds the most valuable position in Banner Corporation (NASDAQ:BANR). Forest Hill Capital has a $45 million position in the stock, comprising 4.3% of its 13F portfolio. The second largest stake is held by EJF Capital, managed by Emanuel J. Friedman, which holds a $22.7 million position; 1.1% of its 13F portfolio is allocated to the company. Remaining members of the smart money that are bullish encompass Jim Simons’ Renaissance Technologies, Paul Hondros’s AlphaOne Capital Partners and Cliff Asness’ AQR Capital Management.

With a general bullishness amongst the heavyweights, specific money managers were leading the bulls’ herd. AlphaOne Capital Partners, managed by Paul Hondros, assembled the biggest position in Banner Corporation (NASDAQ:BANR). AlphaOne Capital Partners had $4.3 million invested in the company at the end of the quarter. Ken Fisher’s Fisher Asset Management also initiated a $2.9 million position during the quarter. The other funds with new positions in the stock are Matthew Hulsizer’s PEAK6 Capital Management, Mike Vranos’s Ellington, and Chao Ku’s Nine Chapters Capital Management.

Let’s now review hedge fund activity in other stocks similar to Banner Corporation (NASDAQ:BANR). We will take a look at Cooper-Standard Holdings Inc (NYSE:CPS), Tornier N.V. (NASDAQ:TRNX), Enerplus Corp (USA) (NYSE:ERF), and Abaxis Inc (NASDAQ:ABAX). All of these stocks’ market caps are similar to BANR’s market cap.

Ticker No of HFs with positions Total Value of HF Positions (x1000) Change in HF Position
CPS 14 380291 -3
TRNX 14 60840 -6
ERF 12 22239 2
ABAX 12 25841 -6

As you can see these stocks had an average of 13 hedge funds with bullish positions and the average amount invested in these stocks was $122 million. That figure was $100 million in BANR’s case. Cooper-Standard Holdings Inc (NYSE:CPS) is the most popular stock in this table. On the other hand Enerplus Corp (USA) (NYSE:ERF) is the least popular one with only 12 bullish hedge fund positions. Compared to these stocks Banner Corporation (NASDAQ:BANR) is more popular among hedge funds. Considering that hedge funds are fond of this stock in relation to its market cap peers, it may be a good idea to analyze it in detail and potentially include it in your portfolio.