Here is What Hedge Funds Think About Sandy Spring Bancorp Inc. (SASR)

The 800+ hedge funds and famous money managers tracked by Insider Monkey have already compiled and submitted their 13F filings for the third quarter, which unveil their equity positions as of September 30. We went through these filings, fixed typos and other more significant errors and identified the changes in hedge fund portfolios. Our extensive review of these public filings is finally over, so this article is set to reveal the smart money sentiment towards Sandy Spring Bancorp Inc. (NASDAQ:SASR).

Is Sandy Spring Bancorp Inc. (NASDAQ:SASR) a healthy stock for your portfolio? Hedge funds were becoming less hopeful. The number of bullish hedge fund positions retreated by 4 lately. Sandy Spring Bancorp Inc. (NASDAQ:SASR) was in 6 hedge funds’ portfolios at the end of September. The all time high for this statistics is 17. Our calculations also showed that SASR isn’t among the 30 most popular stocks among hedge funds (click for Q3 rankings and see the video for a quick look at the top 5 stocks). There were 10 hedge funds in our database with SASR holdings at the end of June.

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

If you’d ask most shareholders, hedge funds are perceived as unimportant, old financial tools of yesteryear. While there are more than 8000 funds with their doors open at the moment, Our researchers look at the elite of this club, around 850 funds. These hedge fund managers watch over the majority of the hedge fund industry’s total capital, and by keeping an eye on their top picks, Insider Monkey has spotted a few investment strategies that have historically defeated the market. Insider Monkey’s flagship short hedge fund strategy surpassed the S&P 500 short ETFs by around 20 percentage points annually since its inception in March 2017. Our portfolio of short stocks lost 13% since February 2017 (through November 17th) even though the market was up 65% during the same period. We just shared a list of 6 short targets in our latest quarterly update .

Peter Rathjens Arrowstreet Capital 394

Peter Rathjens of Arrowstreet Capital

At Insider Monkey we scour multiple sources to uncover the next great investment idea. For example, Federal Reserve has been creating trillions of dollars electronically to keep the interest rates near zero. We believe this will lead to inflation and boost real estate prices. So, we recommended this real estate stock to our monthly premium newsletter subscribers. We go through lists like the 15 best blue chip stocks to pick the best large-cap stocks to buy. Even though we recommend positions in only a tiny fraction of the companies we analyze, we check out as many stocks as we can. We read hedge fund investor letters and listen to stock pitches at hedge fund conferences. You can subscribe to our free daily newsletter on our website. Keeping this in mind we’re going to analyze the new hedge fund action encompassing Sandy Spring Bancorp Inc. (NASDAQ:SASR).

How have hedgies been trading Sandy Spring Bancorp Inc. (NASDAQ:SASR)?

At the end of the third quarter, a total of 6 of the hedge funds tracked by Insider Monkey held long positions in this stock, a change of -40% from the previous quarter. On the other hand, there were a total of 17 hedge funds with a bullish position in SASR a year ago. So, let’s find out which hedge funds were among the top holders of the stock and which hedge funds were making big moves.

Is SASR A Good Stock To Buy?

Among these funds, Forest Hill Capital held the most valuable stake in Sandy Spring Bancorp Inc. (NASDAQ:SASR), which was worth $9.5 million at the end of the third quarter. On the second spot was Renaissance Technologies which amassed $9.1 million worth of shares. GAMCO Investors, Arrowstreet Capital, and Millennium Management were also very fond of the stock, becoming one of the largest hedge fund holders of the company. In terms of the portfolio weights assigned to each position Forest Hill Capital allocated the biggest weight to Sandy Spring Bancorp Inc. (NASDAQ:SASR), around 4.32% of its 13F portfolio. Basswood Capital is also relatively very bullish on the stock, designating 0.04 percent of its 13F equity portfolio to SASR.

Since Sandy Spring Bancorp Inc. (NASDAQ:SASR) has experienced bearish sentiment from the entirety of the hedge funds we track, logic holds that there were a few fund managers that decided to sell off their full holdings heading into Q4. Intriguingly, Cliff Asness’s AQR Capital Management sold off the biggest stake of the “upper crust” of funds watched by Insider Monkey, totaling close to $0.5 million in stock. John Overdeck and David Siegel’s fund, Two Sigma Advisors, also cut its stock, about $0.4 million worth. These moves are intriguing to say the least, as aggregate hedge fund interest dropped by 4 funds heading into Q4.

Let’s now take a look at hedge fund activity in other stocks – not necessarily in the same industry as Sandy Spring Bancorp Inc. (NASDAQ:SASR) but similarly valued. We will take a look at Grupo Simec S.A.B. de C.V. (NYSE:SIM), FARO Technologies, Inc. (NASDAQ:FARO), Adaptimmune Therapeutics plc (NASDAQ:ADAP), Constellium SE (NYSE:CSTM), Marcus & Millichap Inc (NYSE:MMI), Cadence Bancorporation (NYSE:CADE), and The Pennant Group, Inc. (NASDAQ:PNTG). This group of stocks’ market values are similar to SASR’s market value.

Ticker No of HFs with positions Total Value of HF Positions (x1000) Change in HF Position
SIM 1 1804 0
FARO 11 144858 -5
ADAP 17 648155 -2
CSTM 30 180519 -2
MMI 5 67635 -3
CADE 22 110929 1
PNTG 15 30509 5
Average 14.4 169201 -0.9

View table here if you experience formatting issues.

As you can see these stocks had an average of 14.4 hedge funds with bullish positions and the average amount invested in these stocks was $169 million. That figure was $24 million in SASR’s case. Constellium SE (NYSE:CSTM) is the most popular stock in this table. On the other hand Grupo Simec S.A.B. de C.V. (NYSE:SIM) is the least popular one with only 1 bullish hedge fund positions. Sandy Spring Bancorp Inc. (NASDAQ:SASR) is not the least popular stock in this group but hedge fund interest is still below average. Our overall hedge fund sentiment score for SASR is 20.2. Stocks with higher number of hedge fund positions relative to other stocks as well as relative to their historical range receive a higher sentiment score. Our calculations showed that top 20 most popular stocks among hedge funds returned 41.3% in 2019 and outperformed the S&P 500 ETF (SPY) by 10 percentage points. These stocks gained 30.7% in 2020 through November 27th and still beat the market by 16.1 percentage points. A small number of hedge funds were also right about betting on SASR as the stock returned 34.9% since the end of the third quarter (through 11/27) and outperformed the market by an even larger margin.

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