First Financial Holdings, Inc. (FFCH): Are Hedge Funds Right About This Stock?

First Financial Holdings, Inc. (NASDAQ:FFCH) was in 11 hedge funds’ portfolio at the end of March. FFCH has experienced an increase in activity from the world’s largest hedge funds of late. There were 10 hedge funds in our database with FFCH positions at the end of the previous quarter.

In the financial world, there are dozens of metrics shareholders can use to monitor their holdings. A couple of the most underrated are hedge fund and insider trading interest. At Insider Monkey, our studies have shown that, historically, those who follow the best picks of the top investment managers can outpace the S&P 500 by a significant amount (see just how much).

Equally as important, positive insider trading sentiment is another way to break down the world of equities. Obviously, there are a variety of reasons for an upper level exec to get rid of shares of his or her company, but just one, very clear reason why they would behave bullishly. Many empirical studies have demonstrated the impressive potential of this tactic if piggybackers know where to look (learn more here).

Consequently, let’s take a peek at the latest action encompassing First Financial Holdings, Inc. (NASDAQ:FFCH).

What does the smart money think about First Financial Holdings, Inc. (NASDAQ:FFCH)?

At Q1’s end, a total of 11 of the hedge funds we track were bullish in this stock, a change of 10% from one quarter earlier. With hedgies’ positions undergoing their usual ebb and flow, there exists a few noteworthy hedge fund managers who were increasing their stakes meaningfully.

First Financial Bancorp (NASDAQ:FFBC)When looking at the hedgies we track, Jane Mendillo’s Harvard Management Co had the biggest position in First Financial Holdings, Inc. (NASDAQ:FFCH), worth close to $5 million, comprising 0.4% of its total 13F portfolio. Coming in second is Chuck Royce of Royce & Associates, with a $4.3 million position; the fund has less than 0.1%% of its 13F portfolio invested in the stock. Other peers that hold long positions include Jean-Marie Eveillard’s First Eagle Investment Management, Jim Simons’s Renaissance Technologies and Gregg J. Powers’s Private Capital Management.

As aggregate interest increased, specific money managers have jumped into First Financial Holdings, Inc. (NASDAQ:FFCH) headfirst. Harvard Management Co, managed by Jane Mendillo, assembled the most outsized position in First Financial Holdings, Inc. (NASDAQ:FFCH). Harvard Management Co had 5 million invested in the company at the end of the quarter. Jean-Marie Eveillard’s First Eagle Investment Management also made a $4.2 million investment in the stock during the quarter. The other funds with brand new FFCH positions are D. E. Shaw’s D E Shaw and Cliff Asness’s AQR Capital Management.

What do corporate executives and insiders think about First Financial Holdings, Inc. (NASDAQ:FFCH)?

Bullish insider trading is at its handiest when the company in question has seen transactions within the past six months. Over the latest half-year time period, First Financial Holdings, Inc. (NASDAQ:FFCH) has experienced 1 unique insiders buying, and zero insider sales (see the details of insider trades here).

Let’s also examine hedge fund and insider activity in other stocks similar to First Financial Holdings, Inc. (NASDAQ:FFCH). These stocks are Provident New York Bancorp (NYSE:PBNY), United Financial Bancorp, Inc. (NASDAQ:UBNK), HomeStreet Inc (NASDAQ:HMST), Clifton Savings Bancorp, Inc. (NASDAQ:CSBK), and Rockville Financial Inc (NASDAQ:RCKB). This group of stocks belong to the savings & loans industry and their market caps match FFCH’s market cap.