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Hedge Funds Have Never Been This Bullish On Wintrust Financial Corporation (WTFC)

The financial regulations require hedge funds and wealthy investors that exceeded the $100 million equity holdings threshold to file a report that shows their positions at the end of every quarter. Even though it isn’t the intention, these filings to a certain extent level the playing field for ordinary investors. The latest round of 13F filings disclosed the funds’ positions on March 31st, about a week after the S&P 500 Index bottomed. We at Insider Monkey have made an extensive database of more than 821 of those established hedge funds and famous value investors’ filings. In this article, we analyze how these elite funds and prominent investors traded Wintrust Financial Corporation (NASDAQ:WTFC) based on those filings.

Wintrust Financial Corporation (NASDAQ:WTFC) was in 27 hedge funds’ portfolios at the end of the first quarter of 2020. WTFC investors should be aware of an increase in hedge fund interest recently. There were 21 hedge funds in our database with WTFC holdings at the end of the previous quarter. Our calculations also showed that WTFC isn’t among the 30 most popular stocks among hedge funds (click for Q1 rankings and see the video for a quick look at the top 5 stocks).

Video: Watch our video about the top 5 most popular hedge fund stocks.

At the moment there are many metrics shareholders put to use to size up stocks. A couple of the most useful metrics are hedge fund and insider trading sentiment. We have shown that, historically, those who follow the best picks of the elite money managers can trounce their index-focused peers by a healthy margin (see the details here).

David E. Shaw of D.E. Shaw

David E. Shaw of D.E. Shaw

At Insider Monkey we leave no stone unturned when looking for the next great investment idea. For example, 2020’s unprecedented market conditions provide us with the highest number of trading opportunities in a decade. So we are checking out stocks recommended/scorned by legendary Bill Miller. We interview hedge fund managers and ask them about their best ideas. If you want to find out the best healthcare stock to buy right now, you can watch our latest hedge fund manager interview here. We read hedge fund investor letters and listen to stock pitches at hedge fund conferences. Our best call in 2020 was shorting the market when the S&P 500 was trading at 3150 after realizing the coronavirus pandemic’s significance before most investors. Now we’re going to take a look at the fresh hedge fund action encompassing Wintrust Financial Corporation (NASDAQ:WTFC).

What have hedge funds been doing with Wintrust Financial Corporation (NASDAQ:WTFC)?

At Q1’s end, a total of 27 of the hedge funds tracked by Insider Monkey held long positions in this stock, a change of 29% from one quarter earlier. On the other hand, there were a total of 23 hedge funds with a bullish position in WTFC a year ago. So, let’s see which hedge funds were among the top holders of the stock and which hedge funds were making big moves.

Is WTFC A Good Stock To Buy?

Of the funds tracked by Insider Monkey, AQR Capital Management, managed by Cliff Asness, holds the largest position in Wintrust Financial Corporation (NASDAQ:WTFC). AQR Capital Management has a $29.1 million position in the stock, comprising less than 0.1%% of its 13F portfolio. The second most bullish fund manager is Citadel Investment Group, led by Ken Griffin, holding a $26.9 million position; less than 0.1%% of its 13F portfolio is allocated to the stock. Remaining hedge funds and institutional investors with similar optimism encompass D. E. Shaw’s D E Shaw, Ken Fisher’s Fisher Asset Management and  Renaissance Technologies. In terms of the portfolio weights assigned to each position Seidman Investment Partnership allocated the biggest weight to Wintrust Financial Corporation (NASDAQ:WTFC), around 1.21% of its 13F portfolio. Gillson Capital is also relatively very bullish on the stock, dishing out 0.98 percent of its 13F equity portfolio to WTFC.

Now, some big names have been driving this bullishness. Marshall Wace LLP, managed by Paul Marshall and Ian Wace, created the largest position in Wintrust Financial Corporation (NASDAQ:WTFC). Marshall Wace LLP had $7.7 million invested in the company at the end of the quarter. Daniel Johnson’s Gillson Capital also initiated a $5.8 million position during the quarter. The other funds with brand new WTFC positions are Greg Eisner’s Engineers Gate Manager, Lawrence Seidman’s Seidman Investment Partnership, and Phil Stone’s Fourthstone LLC.

Let’s now review hedge fund activity in other stocks similar to Wintrust Financial Corporation (NASDAQ:WTFC). We will take a look at Amkor Technology, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMKR), First Interstate Bancsystem Inc (NASDAQ:FIBK), Commercial Metals Company (NYSE:CMC), and National General Holdings Corp (NASDAQ:NGHC). This group of stocks’ market caps match WTFC’s market cap.

Ticker No of HFs with positions Total Value of HF Positions (x1000) Change in HF Position
AMKR 28 86455 -1
FIBK 7 31332 -5
CMC 19 187336 -8
NGHC 18 186028 2
Average 18 122788 -3

View table here if you experience formatting issues.

As you can see these stocks had an average of 18 hedge funds with bullish positions and the average amount invested in these stocks was $123 million. That figure was $153 million in WTFC’s case. Amkor Technology, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMKR) is the most popular stock in this table. On the other hand First Interstate Bancsystem Inc (NASDAQ:FIBK) is the least popular one with only 7 bullish hedge fund positions. Wintrust Financial Corporation (NASDAQ:WTFC) is not the most popular stock in this group but hedge fund interest is still above average. Our calculations showed that top 10 most popular stocks among hedge funds returned 41.4% in 2019 and outperformed the S&P 500 ETF (SPY) by 10.1 percentage points. These stocks gained 8.3% in 2020 through the end of May but still beat the market by 13.2 percentage points. Hedge funds were also right about betting on WTFC as the stock returned 29.9% in Q2 (through the end of May) and outperformed the market. Hedge funds were rewarded for their relative bullishness.

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