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Hedge Funds Have Never Been More Bullish On S & T Bancorp Inc (STBA)

The latest 13F reporting period has come and gone, and Insider Monkey is again at the forefront when it comes to making use of this gold mine of data. We have processed the filings of the more than 700 world-class investment firms that we track and now have access to the collective wisdom contained in these filings, which are based on their December 31 holdings, data that is available nowhere else. Should you consider S & T Bancorp Inc (NASDAQ:STBA) for your portfolio? We’ll look to this invaluable collective wisdom for the answer.

S & T Bancorp Inc (NASDAQ:STBA) investors should be aware of an increase in hedge fund interest lately. STBA was in 8 hedge funds’ portfolios at the end of December. There were 6 hedge funds in our database with STBA positions at the end of the previous quarter. Our calculations also showed that STBA isn’t among the 30 most popular stocks among hedge funds.

Why do we pay any attention at all to hedge fund sentiment? Our research has shown that hedge funds’ large-cap stock picks indeed failed to beat the market between 1999 and 2016. However, we were able to identify in advance a select group of hedge fund holdings that outperformed the market by 32 percentage points since May 2014 through March 12, 2019 (see the details here). We were also able to identify in advance a select group of hedge fund holdings that’ll significantly underperform the market. We have been tracking and sharing the list of these stocks since February 2017 and they lost 27.5% through March 12, 2019. That’s why we believe hedge fund sentiment is an extremely useful indicator that investors should pay attention to.

AQR CAPITAL MANAGEMENT

Cliff Asness of AQR Capital Management

We’re going to review the latest hedge fund action surrounding S & T Bancorp Inc (NASDAQ:STBA).

What does the smart money think about S & T Bancorp Inc (NASDAQ:STBA)?

At the end of the fourth quarter, a total of 8 of the hedge funds tracked by Insider Monkey were bullish on this stock, a change of 33% from the second quarter of 2018. Below, you can check out the change in hedge fund sentiment towards STBA over the last 14 quarters. So, let’s find out which hedge funds were among the top holders of the stock and which hedge funds were making big moves.

STBA_apr2019

Among these funds, Renaissance Technologies held the most valuable stake in S & T Bancorp Inc (NASDAQ:STBA), which was worth $1.7 million at the end of the fourth quarter. On the second spot was Citadel Investment Group which amassed $0.9 million worth of shares. Moreover, AQR Capital Management, D E Shaw, and Holocene Advisors were also bullish on S & T Bancorp Inc (NASDAQ:STBA), allocating a large percentage of their portfolios to this stock.

As aggregate interest increased, specific money managers were leading the bulls’ herd. D E Shaw, managed by D. E. Shaw, created the most valuable position in S & T Bancorp Inc (NASDAQ:STBA). D E Shaw had $0.4 million invested in the company at the end of the quarter. Benjamin A. Smith’s Laurion Capital Management also initiated a $0.2 million position during the quarter.

Let’s now take a look at hedge fund activity in other stocks similar to S & T Bancorp Inc (NASDAQ:STBA). We will take a look at Gazit Globe Ltd. (NYSE:GZT), Alexander & Baldwin Inc (NYSE:ALEX), Abercrombie & Fitch Co. (NYSE:ANF), and TTEC Holdings, Inc. (NASDAQ:TTEC). All of these stocks’ market caps are similar to STBA’s market cap.

Ticker No of HFs with positions Total Value of HF Positions (x1000) Change in HF Position
GZT 4 13411 0
ALEX 10 25598 2
ANF 22 127847 2
TTEC 15 19967 1
Average 12.75 46706 1.25

View table here if you experience formatting issues.

As you can see these stocks had an average of 12.75 hedge funds with bullish positions and the average amount invested in these stocks was $47 million. That figure was $5 million in STBA’s case. Abercrombie & Fitch Co. (NYSE:ANF) is the most popular stock in this table. On the other hand Gazit Globe Ltd. (NYSE:GZT) is the least popular one with only 4 bullish hedge fund positions. S & T Bancorp Inc (NASDAQ:STBA) is not the least popular stock in this group but hedge fund interest is still below average. This is a slightly negative signal and we’d rather spend our time researching stocks that hedge funds are piling on. Our calculations showed that top 15 most popular stocks) among hedge funds returned 24.2% through April 22nd and outperformed the S&P 500 ETF (SPY) by more than 7 percentage points. Unfortunately STBA wasn’t nearly as popular as these 15 stock (hedge fund sentiment was quite bearish); STBA investors were disappointed as the stock returned 2.1% and underperformed the market. If you are interested in investing in large cap stocks with huge upside potential, you should check out the top 15 most popular stocks) among hedge funds as 13 of these stocks already outperformed the market this year.

Disclosure: None. This article was originally published at Insider Monkey.

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