Hedge Funds Are Dumping Associated Banc Corp (ASBC)

Associated Banc Corp (NASDAQ:ASBC) shareholders have witnessed a decrease in hedge fund sentiment recently.

To most investors, hedge funds are seen as slow, outdated investment vehicles of yesteryear. While there are over 8000 funds in operation at present, we look at the bigwigs of this group, around 450 funds. It is widely believed that this group controls most of all hedge funds’ total asset base, and by paying attention to their highest performing investments, we have deciphered a few investment strategies that have historically beaten Mr. Market. Our small-cap hedge fund strategy outpaced the S&P 500 index by 18 percentage points a year 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 beaten the S&P 500 index by 24 percentage points in 7 months (explore the details and some picks here).

Associated Banc Corp (NASDAQ:ASBC)

Just as beneficial, positive insider trading activity is another way to break down the world of equities. There are lots of incentives for an executive to sell shares of his or her company, but only one, very clear reason why they would buy. Plenty of empirical studies have demonstrated the useful potential of this tactic if piggybackers understand where to look (learn more here).

Keeping this in mind, let’s take a look at the recent action encompassing Associated Banc Corp (NASDAQ:ASBC).

Hedge fund activity in Associated Banc Corp (NASDAQ:ASBC)

At the end of the fourth quarter, a total of 7 of the hedge funds we track held long positions in this stock, a change of -36% from the previous quarter. With the smart money’s positions undergoing their usual ebb and flow, there exists an “upper tier” of notable hedge fund managers who were boosting their holdings significantly.

According to our comprehensive database, David Dreman’s Dreman Value Management had the most valuable position in Associated Banc Corp (NASDAQ:ASBC), worth close to $40.7 million, accounting for 1.2% of its total 13F portfolio. On Dreman Value Management’s heels is Ken Griffin of Citadel Investment Group, with a $25.9 million position; less than 0.1%% of its 13F portfolio is allocated to the company. Some other hedgies that hold long positions include Cliff Asness’s AQR Capital Management, Chuck Royce’s Royce & Associates and Jim Simons’s Renaissance Technologies.

Since Associated Banc Corp (NASDAQ:ASBC) has witnessed bearish sentiment from the entirety of the hedge funds we track, it’s easy to see that there was a specific group of hedge funds that elected to cut their full holdings at the end of the year. Interestingly, Israel Englander’s Millennium Management dropped the biggest position of the 450+ funds we track, comprising about $1.7 million in stock.. Israel Englander’s fund, Catapult Capital Management, also dumped its stock, about $1 million worth. These bearish behaviors are important to note, as total hedge fund interest dropped by 4 funds at the end of the year.

How are insiders trading Associated Banc Corp (NASDAQ:ASBC)?

Insider trading activity, especially when it’s bullish, is particularly usable when the company in focus has experienced transactions within the past half-year. Over the latest 180-day time frame, Associated Banc Corp (NASDAQ:ASBC) has experienced 3 unique insiders purchasing, and 1 insider sales (see the details of insider trades here).

Let’s check out hedge fund and insider activity in other stocks similar to Associated Banc Corp (NASDAQ:ASBC). These stocks are Wintrust Financial Corp (NASDAQ:WTFC), Old National Bancorp (NYSE:ONB), PrivateBancorp Inc (NASDAQ:PVTB), Firstmerit Corp (NASDAQ:FMER), and TFS Financial Corporation (NASDAQ:TFSL). This group of stocks belong to the regional – midwest banks industry and their market caps resemble ASBC’s market cap.