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Hanmi Financial Corp (HAFC): Hedge Funds Are Snapping Up

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 Hanmi Financial Corp (NASDAQ:HAFC), so let’s take a closer look at the sentiment that surrounds it in the current quarter.

Hanmi Financial Corp (NASDAQ:HAFC) is a small-cap regional bank holding company, whose stock is trading at around 16 times earnings, below the S&P 500 average. The stock registered an increase in popularity among the funds we track and it was in 13 hedge funds’ portfolios at the end of September, versus 10 funds a quarter earlier. The level and the change in hedge fund popularity aren’t the only variables you need to analyze to decipher hedge funds’ perspectives. A stock may witness a boost in popularity, but it may still be less popular than similarly priced stocks. That’s why at the end of this article we will examine companies such as LHC Group, Inc. (NASDAQ:LHCG), WSFS Financial Corporation (NASDAQ:WSFS), and Amplify Snack Brands Inc (NYSE:BETR) to gather more data points.

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At the moment there are many methods shareholders can use to size up stocks. Some of the best methods are hedge fund and insider trading sentiment. We have shown that, historically, those who follow the best picks of the elite investment managers can outperform their index-focused peers by a significant amount (see the details here).

Now, we’re going to take a glance at the key action surrounding Hanmi Financial Corp (NASDAQ:HAFC).

Hedge fund activity in Hanmi Financial Corp (NASDAQ:HAFC)

At the Q3’s end, a total of 13 of the hedge funds tracked by Insider Monkey were long this stock, a change of 30% from the previous quarter. With the smart money’s positions undergoing their usual ebb and flow, there exists a select group of noteworthy hedge fund managers who were upping their stakes substantially (or already accumulated large positions).

According to Insider Monkey’s hedge fund database, Jim Simons’ Renaissance Technologies has the largest position in Hanmi Financial Corp (NASDAQ:HAFC), worth close to $30.5 million, corresponding to 0.1% of its total 13F portfolio. The second most bullish fund is Fred Cummings’ Elizabeth Park Capital Management, with a $13.3 million position; 4.4% of its 13F portfolio is allocated to the company. Some other professional money managers that are bullish contain Israel Englander’s Millennium Management, Paul Hondros’ AlphaOne Capital Partners and Porter Collins, Daniel Moses, and Vincent Daniel’s Seawolf Capital.

With a general bullishness amongst the heavyweights, key hedge funds have been driving this bullishness. AlphaOne Capital Partners initiated the largest position in Hanmi Financial Corp (NASDAQ:HAFC). AlphaOne Capital Partners had $3.6 million invested in the company at the end of the quarter. Ken Fisher’s Fisher Asset Management also initiated an $2.9 million position during the quarter. The following funds were also among the new HAFC investors: Neil Chriss’ Hutchin Hill Capital, Peter Muller’s PDT Partners, and Matthew Hulsizer’s PEAK6 Capital Management.

Let’s also examine hedge fund activity in other stocks similar to Hanmi Financial Corp (NASDAQ:HAFC). We will take a look at LHC Group, Inc. (NASDAQ:LHCG), WSFS Financial Corporation (NASDAQ:WSFS), Amplify Snack Brands Inc (NYSE:BETR), and Pampa Energia S.A. (ADR) (NYSE:PAM). All of these stocks’ market caps are similar to HAFC’s market cap.

Ticker No of HFs with positions Total Value of HF Positions (x1000) Change in HF Position
LHCG 20 107498 3
WSFS 9 51895 -1
BETR 13 78005 13
PAM 10 91727 1

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 $82 million. That figure was $72 million in HAFC’s case. LHC Group, Inc. (NASDAQ:LHCG) is the most popular stock in this table. On the other hand WSFS Financial Corporation (NASDAQ:WSFS) is the least popular one with only 9 bullish hedge fund positions. Hanmi Financial Corp (NASDAQ:HAFC) is not the least popular stock in this group, with the number of funds with long positions equal to the average for the four aforementioned stocks. This is a slightly negative signal and we’d rather spend our time researching stocks that hedge funds are piling on. In this regard LHCG might be a better candidate to consider a long position.

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