Hedge Funds Aren’t Crazy About WestAmerica Bancorp. (WABC) Anymore

To many traders, hedge funds are viewed as overrated, old financial tools of a period lost to current times. Although there are more than 8,000 hedge funds trading today, Insider Monkey focuses on the top tier of this club, close to 525 funds. Analysts calculate that this group oversees most of the smart money’s total assets, and by keeping an eye on their highest quality picks, we’ve found a number of investment strategies that have historically outstripped Mr. Market. Our small-cap hedge fund strategy beat the S&P 500 index by 18 percentage points per year for a decade in our back tests, and since we’ve began to sharing our picks with our subscribers at the end of August 2012, we have outperformed the S&P 500 index by 33 percentage points in 11 months (explore the details and some picks here).

Just as useful, positive insider trading activity is another way to look at the investments you’re interested in. Obviously, there are a number of motivations for an upper level exec to sell shares of his or her company, but only one, very simple reason why they would initiate a purchase. Various empirical studies have demonstrated the valuable potential of this strategy if “monkeys” know where to look (learn more here).

What’s more, it’s important to analyze the latest info surrounding WestAmerica Bancorp. (NASDAQ:WABC).

What does the smart money think about WestAmerica Bancorp. (NASDAQ:WABC)?

At the end of the second quarter, a total of 7 of the hedge funds we track held long positions in this stock, a change of -13% from the first quarter. With hedge funds’ capital changing hands, there exists a select group of key hedge fund managers who were increasing their stakes considerably.

WestAmerica Bancorp. (NASDAQ:WABC)When using filings from the hedgies we track, Fisher Asset Management, managed by Ken Fisher, holds the most valuable position in WestAmerica Bancorp. (NASDAQ:WABC). Fisher Asset Management has a $43.4 million position in the stock, comprising 0.1% of its 13F portfolio. On Fisher Asset Management’s heels is Jim Simons of Renaissance Technologies, with a $3.5 million position; the fund has less than 0.1%% of its 13F portfolio invested in the stock. Other peers that are bullish include Ken Griffin’s Citadel Investment Group, Matthew Lindenbaum’s Basswood Capital and Matthew Hulsizer’s PEAK6 Capital Management.

As WestAmerica Bancorp. (NASDAQ:WABC) has experienced bearish sentiment from the entirety of the hedge funds we track, logic holds that there is a sect of hedgies that decided to sell off their full holdings heading into Q2. At the top of the heap, D. E. Shaw’s D E Shaw dumped the largest position of the 450+ funds we monitor, comprising close to $0.4 million in stock, and Israel Englander of Millennium Management was right behind this move, as the fund cut about $0.3 million worth. These transactions are intriguing to say the least, as aggregate hedge fund interest dropped by 1 funds heading into Q2.

How are insiders trading WestAmerica Bancorp. (NASDAQ:WABC)?

Insider buying is most useful when the primary stock in question has seen transactions within the past six months. Over the last half-year time period, WestAmerica Bancorp. (NASDAQ:WABC) has seen zero unique insiders buying, and zero insider sales (see the details of insider trades here).

We’ll go over the relationship between both of these indicators in other stocks similar to WestAmerica Bancorp. (NASDAQ:WABC). These stocks are BBCN Bancorp, Inc. (NASDAQ:BBCN), PacWest Bancorp (NASDAQ:PACW), Glacier Bancorp, Inc. (NASDAQ:GBCI), CVB Financial Corp. (NASDAQ:CVBF), and Western Alliance Bancorporation (NYSE:WAL). This group of stocks belong to the regional – pacific banks industry and their market caps match WABC’s market cap.