Is Zions Bancorporation (NASDAQ:ZION) a buy right now? Investors who are in the know are getting less optimistic. The number of long hedge fund bets stayed the same which is a slightly negative development in our experience.
At the moment, there are a multitude of gauges investors can use to watch the equity markets. Two of the best are hedge fund and insider trading activity. At Insider Monkey, our research analyses have shown that, historically, those who follow the top picks of the top fund managers can outperform the broader indices by a healthy margin (see just how much).
Equally as beneficial, optimistic insider trading sentiment is a second way to parse down the world of equities. Obviously, there are lots of motivations for a corporate insider to get rid of shares of his or her company, but just one, very simple reason why they would behave bullishly. Several empirical studies have demonstrated the valuable potential of this method if shareholders know where to look (learn more here).
Keeping this in mind, let’s take a look at the key action encompassing Zions Bancorporation (NASDAQ:ZION).
What does the smart money think about Zions Bancorporation (NASDAQ:ZION)?
At the end of the first quarter, a total of 23 of the hedge funds we track were long in this stock, a change of 0% from one quarter earlier.
Judging by the fact that Zions Bancorporation (NASDAQ:ZION) has witnessed stagnant interest from the aggregate hedge fund industry, logic holds that there lies a certain “tier” of money managers who sold off their entire stakes heading into Q2. Intriguingly, Daniel S. Och’s OZ Management sold off the biggest stake of the “upper crust” of funds we monitor, totaling an estimated $10.7 million in call options, and Sean Cullinan of Point State Capital was right behind this move, as the fund sold off about $3.5 million worth. These transactions are interesting, as total hedge fund interest stayed the same (this is a bearish signal in our experience).
Insider trading activity in Zions Bancorporation (NASDAQ:ZION)
Bullish insider trading is most useful when the primary stock in question has experienced transactions within the past 180 days. Over the last half-year time frame, Zions Bancorporation (NASDAQ:ZION) has experienced 3 unique insiders buying, and 5 insider sales (see the details of insider trades here).
Let’s also take a look at hedge fund and insider activity in other stocks similar to Zions Bancorporation (NASDAQ:ZION). These stocks are Cathay General Bancorp (NASDAQ:CATY), Bank of Hawaii Corporation (NYSE:BOH), City National Corp (NYSE:CYN), SVB Financial Group (NASDAQ:SIVB), and East West Bancorp, Inc. (NASDAQ:EWBC). All of these stocks are in the regional – pacific banks industry and their market caps resemble ZION’s market cap.