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Is Banner Corporation (BANR) A Good Stock To Buy?

At Insider Monkey, we pore over the filings of more than 700 top investment firms every quarter, a process we have now completed for the latest reporting period. The data we’ve gathered as a result gives us access to a wealth of collective knowledge based on these firms’ portfolio holdings as of September 30. In this article, we will use that wealth of knowledge to determine whether or not Banner Corporation (NASDAQ:BANR) makes for a good investment right now.

Banner Corporation (NASDAQ:BANR) was in 20 hedge funds’ portfolios at the end of the third quarter of 2018. BANR has seen an increase in activity from the world’s largest hedge funds recently. There were 15 hedge funds in our database with BANR positions at the end of the previous quarter. Our calculations also showed that BANR isn’t among the 30 most popular stocks among hedge funds.

Hedge funds’ reputation as shrewd investors has been tarnished in the last decade as their hedged returns couldn’t keep up with the unhedged returns of the market indices. 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 18 percentage points since May 2014 through December 3, 2018 (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 24% through December 3, 2018. That’s why we believe hedge fund sentiment is an extremely useful indicator that investors should pay attention to.

MILLENNIUM MANAGEMENT

Let’s review the new hedge fund action surrounding Banner Corporation (NASDAQ:BANR).

What have hedge funds been doing with Banner Corporation (NASDAQ:BANR)?

At Q3’s end, a total of 20 of the hedge funds tracked by Insider Monkey were long this stock, a change of 33% from the previous quarter. The graph below displays the number of hedge funds with bullish position in BANR over the last 13 quarters. So, let’s see which hedge funds were among the top holders of the stock and which hedge funds were making big moves.

BANR_dec2018

Among these funds, Citadel Investment Group held the most valuable stake in Banner Corporation (NASDAQ:BANR), which was worth $19.5 million at the end of the third quarter. On the second spot was Millennium Management which amassed $17.9 million worth of shares. Moreover, Elizabeth Park Capital Management, Forest Hill Capital, and GLG Partners were also bullish on Banner Corporation (NASDAQ:BANR), allocating a large percentage of their portfolios to this stock.

Consequently, key hedge funds have jumped into Banner Corporation (NASDAQ:BANR) headfirst. Bailard Inc, managed by Thomas Bailard, created the most outsized position in Banner Corporation (NASDAQ:BANR). Bailard Inc had $0.6 million invested in the company at the end of the quarter. Mike Vranos’s Ellington also initiated a $0.2 million position during the quarter. The other funds with new positions in the stock are Jeffrey Talpins’s Element Capital Management and Andrew Feldstein and Stephen Siderow’s Blue Mountain Capital.

Let’s check out hedge fund activity in other stocks – not necessarily in the same industry as Banner Corporation (NASDAQ:BANR) but similarly valued. We will take a look at Pacira Pharmaceuticals Inc (NASDAQ:PCRX), At Home Group Inc. (NYSE:HOME), Azul S.A. (NYSE:AZUL), and Heartland Financial USA Inc (NASDAQ:HTLF). This group of stocks’ market values are similar to BANR’s market value.

Ticker No of HFs with positions Total Value of HF Positions (x1000) Change in HF Position
PCRX 25 689388 4
HOME 22 221719 1
AZUL 11 89027 -10
HTLF 6 23461 -1
Average 16 255899 -1.5

View table here if you experience formatting issues.

As you can see these stocks had an average of 16 hedge funds with bullish positions and the average amount invested in these stocks was $256 million. That figure was $109 million in BANR’s case. Pacira Pharmaceuticals Inc (NASDAQ:PCRX) is the most popular stock in this table. On the other hand Heartland Financial USA Inc (NASDAQ:HTLF) is the least popular one with only 6 bullish hedge fund positions. Banner Corporation (NASDAQ:BANR) is not the most popular stock in this group but hedge fund interest is still above average. This is a slightly positive signal but we’d rather spend our time researching stocks that hedge funds are piling on. In this regard PCRX might be a better candidate to consider a long position.

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

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