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Here’s What Hedge Funds Think About Berkshire Hills Bancorp, Inc. (BHLB)

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 Berkshire Hills Bancorp, Inc. (NYSE:BHLB) for your portfolio? We’ll look to this invaluable collective wisdom for the answer.

Berkshire Hills Bancorp, Inc. (NYSE:BHLB) was in 11 hedge funds’ portfolios at the end of the fourth quarter of 2018. BHLB has experienced an increase in enthusiasm from smart money of late. There were 8 hedge funds in our database with BHLB positions at the end of the previous quarter. Our calculations also showed that BHLB isn’t among the 30 most popular stocks among hedge funds.

In the financial world there are a large number of tools investors have at their disposal to grade stocks. A pair of the most under-the-radar tools are hedge fund and insider trading indicators. We have shown that, historically, those who follow the top picks of the best fund managers can outperform the broader indices by a solid amount. Insider Monkey’s flagship best performing hedge funds strategy returned 20.7% year to date (through March 12th) and outperformed the market even though it draws its stock picks among small-cap stocks. This strategy also outperformed the market by 32 percentage points since its inception (see the details here). That’s why we believe hedge fund sentiment is a useful indicator that investors should pay attention to.

BlueMountain Capital Management's Returns, AUM and Holdings

Let’s review the fresh hedge fund action encompassing Berkshire Hills Bancorp, Inc. (NYSE:BHLB).

How are hedge funds trading Berkshire Hills Bancorp, Inc. (NYSE:BHLB)?

At the end of the fourth quarter, a total of 11 of the hedge funds tracked by Insider Monkey held long positions in this stock, a change of 38% from the second quarter of 2018. Below, you can check out the change in hedge fund sentiment towards BHLB over the last 14 quarters. So, let’s see which hedge funds were among the top holders of the stock and which hedge funds were making big moves.

BHLB_apr2019

The largest stake in Berkshire Hills Bancorp, Inc. (NYSE:BHLB) was held by Renaissance Technologies, which reported holding $18.8 million worth of stock at the end of December. It was followed by Marshall Wace LLP with a $5.6 million position. Other investors bullish on the company included Citadel Investment Group, D E Shaw, and Millennium Management.

As industrywide interest jumped, specific money managers were breaking ground themselves. Marshall Wace LLP, managed by Paul Marshall and Ian Wace, initiated the largest position in Berkshire Hills Bancorp, Inc. (NYSE:BHLB). Marshall Wace LLP had $5.6 million invested in the company at the end of the quarter. Ken Griffin’s Citadel Investment Group also initiated a $3.8 million position during the quarter. The following funds were also among the new BHLB investors: Israel Englander’s Millennium Management, Andrew Feldstein and Stephen Siderow’s Blue Mountain Capital, and Matthew Hulsizer’s PEAK6 Capital Management.

Let’s also examine hedge fund activity in other stocks similar to Berkshire Hills Bancorp, Inc. (NYSE:BHLB). These stocks are Casella Waste Systems Inc. (NASDAQ:CWST), ICF International Inc (NASDAQ:ICFI), Sunrun Inc (NASDAQ:RUN), and SPX Corporation (NYSE:SPXC). This group of stocks’ market values are closest to BHLB’s market value.

Ticker No of HFs with positions Total Value of HF Positions (x1000) Change in HF Position
CWST 18 149744 2
ICFI 17 35802 1
RUN 18 279156 10
SPXC 15 92681 4
Average 17 139346 4.25

View table here if you experience formatting issues.

As you can see these stocks had an average of 17 hedge funds with bullish positions and the average amount invested in these stocks was $139 million. That figure was $32 million in BHLB’s case. Casella Waste Systems Inc. (NASDAQ:CWST) is the most popular stock in this table. On the other hand SPX Corporation (NYSE:SPXC) is the least popular one with only 15 bullish hedge fund positions. Compared to these stocks Berkshire Hills Bancorp, Inc. (NYSE:BHLB) is even less popular than SPXC. Hedge funds dodged a bullet by taking a bearish stance towards BHLB. Our calculations showed that the top 15 most popular hedge fund stocks returned 24.2% through April 22nd and outperformed the S&P 500 ETF (SPY) by more than 7 percentage points. Unfortunately BHLB wasn’t nearly as popular as these 15 stock (hedge fund sentiment was very bearish); BHLB investors were disappointed as the stock returned 7.7% 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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