Is HBT Financial, Inc. (HBT) A Good Stock To Buy?

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 at Insider Monkey have plowed through 821 13F filings that hedge funds and well-known value investors are required to file by the SEC. The 13F filings show the funds’ and investors’ portfolio positions as of March 31st, a week after the market trough. In this article we look at what those investors think of HBT Financial, Inc. (NASDAQ:HBT).

HBT Financial, Inc. (NASDAQ:HBT) has experienced a decrease in activity from the world’s largest hedge funds lately. Our calculations also showed that HBT isn’t among the 30 most popular stocks among hedge funds (click for Q1 rankings and see the video for a quick look at the top 5 stocks).

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

To most shareholders, hedge funds are seen as worthless, old financial vehicles of years past. While there are greater than 8000 funds in operation at present, Our experts look at the masters of this group, about 850 funds. Most estimates calculate that this group of people oversee the lion’s share of the smart money’s total asset base, and by watching their highest performing equity investments, Insider Monkey has discovered several investment strategies that have historically surpassed the broader indices. Insider Monkey’s flagship short hedge fund strategy surpassed the S&P 500 short ETFs by around 20 percentage points a year since its inception in March 2017. Our portfolio of short stocks lost 36% since February 2017 (through May 18th) even though the market was up 30% during the same period. We just shared a list of 8 short targets in our latest quarterly update .

Phill Gross of Adage Capital Management

At Insider Monkey we leave no stone unturned when looking for the next great investment idea. For example, 2020’s unprecedented market conditions provide us with the highest number of trading opportunities in a decade. So we are checking out stocks recommended/scorned by legendary Bill Miller. We interview hedge fund managers and ask them about their best ideas. If you want to find out the best healthcare stock to buy right now, you can watch our latest hedge fund manager interview here. We read hedge fund investor letters and listen to stock pitches at hedge fund conferences. Our best call in 2020 was shorting the market when the S&P 500 was trading at 3150 after realizing the coronavirus pandemic’s significance before most investors. Now let’s review the new hedge fund action surrounding HBT Financial, Inc. (NASDAQ:HBT).

How are hedge funds trading HBT Financial, Inc. (NASDAQ:HBT)?

At the end of the first quarter, a total of 7 of the hedge funds tracked by Insider Monkey were long this stock, a change of -30% from the previous quarter. On the other hand, there were a total of 0 hedge funds with a bullish position in HBT a year ago. With hedgies’ capital changing hands, there exists an “upper tier” of noteworthy hedge fund managers who were upping their holdings meaningfully (or already accumulated large positions).

More specifically, Adage Capital Management was the largest shareholder of HBT Financial, Inc. (NASDAQ:HBT), with a stake worth $4.7 million reported as of the end of September. Trailing Adage Capital Management was Castine Capital Management, which amassed a stake valued at $2 million. Two Sigma Advisors, Citadel Investment Group, 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 Castine Capital Management allocated the biggest weight to HBT Financial, Inc. (NASDAQ:HBT), around 1.09% of its 13F portfolio. Adage Capital Management is also relatively very bullish on the stock, earmarking 0.01 percent of its 13F equity portfolio to HBT.

Seeing as HBT Financial, Inc. (NASDAQ:HBT) has experienced a decline in interest from the smart money, logic holds that there exists a select few money managers that slashed their positions entirely last quarter. At the top of the heap, Matthew Halbower’s Pentwater Capital Management said goodbye to the biggest position of the “upper crust” of funds watched by Insider Monkey, valued at about $0.6 million in stock. Paul Marshall and Ian Wace’s fund, Marshall Wace LLP, also dropped its stock, about $0.4 million worth. These bearish behaviors are intriguing to say the least, as total hedge fund interest dropped by 3 funds last quarter.

Let’s also examine hedge fund activity in other stocks similar to HBT Financial, Inc. (NASDAQ:HBT). We will take a look at TherapeuticsMD Inc (NASDAQ:TXMD), Pivotal Investment Corporation II (NYSE:PIC), Oportun Financial Corporation (NASDAQ:OPRT), and Calithera Biosciences Inc (NASDAQ:CALA). This group of stocks’ market valuations match HBT’s market valuation.

Ticker No of HFs with positions Total Value of HF Positions (x1000) Change in HF Position
TXMD 9 19669 -9
PIC 12 56180 -3
OPRT 8 3142 4
CALA 12 71096 -2
Average 10.25 37522 -2.5

View table here if you experience formatting issues.

As you can see these stocks had an average of 10.25 hedge funds with bullish positions and the average amount invested in these stocks was $38 million. That figure was $8 million in HBT’s case. Pivotal Investment Corporation II (NYSE:PIC) is the most popular stock in this table. On the other hand Oportun Financial Corporation (NASDAQ:OPRT) is the least popular one with only 8 bullish hedge fund positions. Compared to these stocks HBT Financial, Inc. (NASDAQ:HBT) is even less popular than OPRT. Hedge funds clearly dropped the ball on HBT as the stock delivered strong returns, though hedge funds’ consensus picks still generated respectable returns. Our calculations showed that top 10 most popular stocks among hedge funds returned 41.4% in 2019 and outperformed the S&P 500 ETF (SPY) by 10.1 percentage points. These stocks gained 13.9% in 2020 through June 10th and still beat the market by 14.2 percentage points. A small number of hedge funds were also right about betting on HBT as the stock returned 35.5% so far in the second quarter and outperformed the market by an even larger margin.

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