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First Busey Corporation (BUSE): Hedge Fund Sentiment Unchanged

Hedge Funds and other institutional investors have just completed filing their 13Fs with the Securities and Exchange Commission, revealing their equity portfolios as of the end of September. At Insider Monkey, we follow over 700 of the best-performing investors and by analyzing their 13F filings, we can determine the stocks that they are collectively bullish on. One of their picks is First Busey Corporation (NASDAQ:BUSE), so let’s take a closer look at the sentiment that surrounds it in the current quarter.

Hedge fund interest in First Busey Corporation (NASDAQ:BUSE) shares was flat at the end of last quarter. This is usually a negative indicator. At the end of this article we will also compare BUSE to other stocks, including Halozyme Therapeutics, Inc. (NASDAQ:HALO), Sanmina Corp (NASDAQ:SANM), and USANA Health Sciences, Inc. (NYSE:USNA) to get a better sense of its popularity.

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In the 21st century investor’s toolkit there are tons of tools investors use to grade stocks. A pair of the most under-the-radar tools are hedge fund and insider trading interest. Our experts have shown that, historically, those who follow the best picks of the elite hedge fund managers can outperform the S&P 500 by a very impressive margin (see the details here).

Now, let’s analyze the new action encompassing First Busey Corporation (NASDAQ:BUSE).

Hedge fund activity in First Busey Corporation (NASDAQ:BUSE)

At the end of the third quarter, a total of 8 of the hedge funds tracked by Insider Monkey held long positions in this stock, a change of 0% from the previous quarter. With the smart money’s sentiment swirling, there exists an “upper tier” of noteworthy hedge fund managers who were increasing their stakes meaningfully (or already accumulated large positions).

According to Insider Monkey’s hedge fund database, Renaissance Technologies has the number one position in First Busey Corporation (NASDAQ:BUSE), worth close to $4.5 million, comprising less than 0.1%% of its total 13F portfolio. On Renaissance Technologies’ heels is Israel Englander’s Millennium Management, with an $1.3 million position; the fund has less than 0.1%% of its 13F portfolio invested in the stock. Remaining hedge funds and institutional investors that hold long positions contain John Overdeck and David Siegel’s Two Sigma Advisors, Ken Griffin’s Citadel Investment Group and Peter Rathjens, Bruce Clarke and John Campbell’s Arrowstreet Capital.

However, there also were a few funds who sold off their entire stakes heading into Q4. At the top of the heap, Joseph A. Jolson’s Harvest Capital Strategies said goodbye to the largest position of all the hedgies watched by Insider Monkey, totaling an estimated $0.4 million in stock, and Matthew Tewksbury’s Stevens Capital Management was right behind this move, as the fund said goodbye to about $0.1 million worth of stock.

Let’s now review hedge fund activity in other stocks – not necessarily in the same industry as First Busey Corporation (NASDAQ:BUSE) but similarly valued. These stocks are Halozyme Therapeutics, Inc. (NASDAQ:HALO), Sanmina Corp (NASDAQ:SANM), USANA Health Sciences, Inc. (NYSE:USNA), and Shake Shack Inc (NYSE:SHAK). All of these stocks’ market caps are closest to BUSE’s market cap.

Ticker No of HFs with positions Total Value of HF Positions (x1000) Change in HF Position
HALO 24 306779 4
SANM 20 83340 -3
USNA 16 175601 0
SHAK 12 28794 4

As you can see these stocks had an average of 18 hedge funds with bullish positions and the average amount invested in these stocks was $149 million. That figure was just $8 million in BUSE’s case. Halozyme Therapeutics, Inc. (NASDAQ:HALO) is the most popular stock in this table. On the other hand Shake Shack Inc (NYSE:SHAK) is the least popular one with only 12 bullish hedge fund positions. Compared to these stocks First Busey Corporation (NASDAQ:BUSE) is even less popular than SHAK. Considering that hedge funds aren’t fond of this stock in relation to other companies mentioned in this article, it may be a good idea to analyze it in detail and understand why the smart money isn’t behind this stock.

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