Hedge Funds Are Crazy About BBCN Bancorp, Inc. (BBCN)

BBCN Bancorp, Inc. (NASDAQ:BBCN) was in 13 hedge funds’ portfolio at the end of the first quarter of 2013. BBCN shareholders have witnessed an increase in hedge fund interest of late. There were 11 hedge funds in our database with BBCN holdings at the end of the previous quarter.

In the eyes of most investors, hedge funds are perceived as unimportant, old investment tools of the past. While there are more than 8000 funds trading at the moment, we at Insider Monkey hone in on the masters of this group, around 450 funds. Most estimates calculate that this group oversees most of the smart money’s total capital, and by watching their top investments, we have determined a number of investment strategies that have historically outstripped the broader indices. Our small-cap hedge fund strategy outstripped the S&P 500 index by 18 percentage points per annum for a decade in our back tests, and since we’ve started sharing our picks with our subscribers at the end of August 2012, we have outpaced the S&P 500 index by 23.3 percentage points in 8 months (check out a sample of our picks).

Just as beneficial, bullish insider trading sentiment is a second way to break down the financial markets. Obviously, there are a variety of incentives for an insider to downsize shares of his or her company, but only one, very clear reason why they would initiate a purchase. Many academic studies have demonstrated the impressive potential of this strategy if “monkeys” know where to look (learn more here).

With these “truths” under our belt, we’re going to take a peek at the key action surrounding BBCN Bancorp, Inc. (NASDAQ:BBCN).

How are hedge funds trading BBCN Bancorp, Inc. (NASDAQ:BBCN)?

At Q1’s end, a total of 13 of the hedge funds we track were long in this stock, a change of 18% from the previous quarter. With the smart money’s sentiment swirling, there exists a few noteworthy hedge fund managers who were increasing their stakes considerably.

BBCN Bancorp, Inc. (NASDAQ:BBCN)Of the funds we track, Pzena Investment Management, managed by Richard S. Pzena, holds the most valuable position in BBCN Bancorp, Inc. (NASDAQ:BBCN). Pzena Investment Management has a $32.1 million position in the stock, comprising 0.2% of its 13F portfolio. Sitting at the No. 2 spot is Ken Gray and Steve Walsh of Bryn Mawr Capital, with a $9.7 million position; 0.7% of its 13F portfolio is allocated to the stock. Some other hedgies with similar optimism include Mario Gabelli’s GAMCO Investors, Israel Englander’s Millennium Management and Daniel Lascano’s Lomas Capital Management.

As industrywide interest jumped, specific money managers have been driving this bullishness. Lomas Capital Management, managed by Daniel Lascano, created the largest position in BBCN Bancorp, Inc. (NASDAQ:BBCN). Lomas Capital Management had 2.7 million invested in the company at the end of the quarter. Richard Driehaus’s Driehaus Capital also made a $1 million investment in the stock during the quarter. The other funds with brand new BBCN positions are Mike Vranos’s Ellington and Peter Algert and Kevin Coldiron’s Algert Coldiron Investors.

How have insiders been trading BBCN Bancorp, Inc. (NASDAQ:BBCN)?

Insider buying is most useful when the company we’re looking at has seen transactions within the past half-year. Over the last six-month time frame, BBCN Bancorp, Inc. (NASDAQ:BBCN) has seen zero unique insiders buying, and zero insider sales (see the details of insider trades here).

Let’s check out hedge fund and insider activity in other stocks similar to BBCN Bancorp, Inc. (NASDAQ:BBCN). These stocks are First Interstate Bancsystem Inc (NASDAQ:FIBK), WestAmerica Bancorp. (NASDAQ:WABC), Western Alliance Bancorporation (NYSE:WAL), CVB Financial Corp. (NASDAQ:CVBF), and PacWest Bancorp (NASDAQ:PACW). All of these stocks are in the regional – pacific banks industry and their market caps are closest to BBCN’s market cap.