Our extensive research has shown that imitating the smart money can generate significant returns for retail investors, which is why we track more than 700 prominent money managers and analyze their quarterly 13F filings. The stocks that are heavily bought by hedge funds historically outperformed the market, though there is no shortage of high profile gigantic failures like hedge funds’ recent losses in Valeant. Let’s take a closer look at what the funds we track think about First Bancorp (NYSE:FBP) in this article.
First Bancorp (NYSE:FBP)’s stock started losing ground at the end of June and has lost 43% since the beginning of July. In this way, prominent investors are taking a pessimistic view. The number of bullish hedge fund positions decreased by 3 lately. However, the level and the change in hedge fund popularity aren’t the only variables you need to analyze to decipher hedge funds’ perspectives. A stock may witness a boost in popularity, but it may still be less popular than similarly priced stocks. That’s why at the end of this article we will examine companies such as Navigant Consulting, Inc. (NYSE:NCI), Resolute Forest Products Inc (NYSE:RFP), and EZchip Semiconductor Ltd. (NASDAQ:EZCH) to gather more data points.
Today there are many gauges stock traders can use to appraise publicly traded companies. Two of the most under-the-radar gauges are hedge fund and insider trading signals. We have shown that, historically, those who follow the best picks of the top fund managers can outpace the market by a healthy amount (see the details here).
With all of this in mind, we’re going to review the key action encompassing First Bancorp (NYSE:FBP).
How are hedge funds trading First Bancorp (NYSE:FBP)?
At the Q3’s end, a total of 14 of the hedge funds tracked by Insider Monkey were long this stock, down by 18% from the previous quarter. With the smart money’s positions undergoing their usual ebb and flow, there exists a select group of noteworthy hedge fund managers who were upping their stakes substantially (or already accumulated large positions).
According to Insider Monkey’s hedge fund database, Howard Marks’ Oaktree Capital Management has the most valuable position in First Bancorp (NYSE:FBP), worth close to $149 million, accounting for 2% of its total 13F portfolio. The second most bullish fund manager is Ken Griffin’s Citadel Investment Group, with a $23.3 million position; the fund has less than 0.1%% of its 13F portfolio invested in the stock. Remaining hedge funds and institutional investors that hold long positions comprise Emanuel J. Friedman’s EJF Capital, Peter Rathjens, Bruce Clarke and John Campbell’s Arrowstreet Capital, and Steve Cohen’s Point72 Asset Management.
Since First Bancorp (NYSE:FBP) has witnessed falling interest from the entirety of the hedge funds we track, logic holds that there was a specific group of hedgies that decided to sell off their full holdings last quarter. At the top of the heap, Ryan Heslop and Ariel Warszawski’s Firefly Value Partners dumped the largest stake of the “upper crust” of funds watched by Insider Monkey, totaling close to $4.4 million in stock. Lee Munder’s fund, Lee Munder Capital Group, also said goodbye to its stock, about $0.4 million worth.
Let’s check out hedge fund activity in other stocks similar to First Bancorp (NYSE:FBP). We will take a look at Navigant Consulting, Inc. (NYSE:NCI), Resolute Forest Products Inc (NYSE:RFP), EZchip Semiconductor Ltd. (NASDAQ:EZCH), and Crossamerica Partners LP (NYSE:CAPL). This group of stocks’ market values resemble FBP’s market value.
|Ticker||No of HFs with positions||Total Value of HF Positions (x1000)||Change in HF Position|
As you can see these stocks had an average of 12 hedge funds with bullish positions and the average amount invested in these stocks was $131 million, which is lower than the $209 million in FBP’s case. Resolute Forest Products Inc (NYSE:RFP) is the most popular stock in this table. On the other hand, Crossamerica Partners LP (NYSE:CAPL) is the least popular one with only 4 bullish hedge fund positions. First Bancorp (NYSE:FBP) 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 RFP might be a better candidate to consider a long position.