Is Wintrust Financial Corporation (WTFC) A Good Stock To Buy?

A whopping number of 13F filings filed with U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission has been processed by Insider Monkey so that individual investors can look at the overall hedge fund sentiment towards the stocks included in their watchlists. These freshly-submitted public filings disclose money managers’ equity positions as of the end of the three-month period that ended March 31, so let’s proceed with the discussion of the hedge fund sentiment on Wintrust Financial Corporation (NASDAQ:WTFC).

Is Wintrust Financial Corporation (NASDAQ:WTFC) the right investment to pursue these days? The smart money is in a bearish mood. The number of bullish hedge fund bets retreated by 1 lately. Our calculations also showed that wtfc isn’t among the 30 most popular stocks among hedge funds.

To most stock holders, hedge funds are viewed as underperforming, outdated investment tools of yesteryear. While there are more than 8000 funds in operation at the moment, Our experts hone in on the bigwigs of this group, approximately 750 funds. It is estimated that this group of investors preside over most of the smart money’s total capital, and by keeping track of their finest investments, Insider Monkey has revealed a number of investment strategies that have historically outperformed the broader indices. Insider Monkey’s flagship hedge fund strategy exceeded the S&P 500 index by around 5 percentage points per annum since its inception in May 2014 through the end of May. We were able to generate large returns even by identifying short candidates. Our portfolio of short stocks lost 30.9% since February 2017 (through May 30th) even though the market was up nearly 24% during the same period. We just shared a list of 5 short targets in our latest quarterly update and they are already down an average of 11.9% in less than a couple of weeks whereas our long picks outperformed the market by 2 percentage points in this volatile 2 week period.

D. E. Shaw

We’re going to go over the recent hedge fund action encompassing Wintrust Financial Corporation (NASDAQ:WTFC).

What does the smart money think about Wintrust Financial Corporation (NASDAQ:WTFC)?

At Q1’s end, a total of 23 of the hedge funds tracked by Insider Monkey held long positions in this stock, a change of -4% from one quarter earlier. Below, you can check out the change in hedge fund sentiment towards WTFC over the last 15 quarters. With hedge funds’ positions undergoing their usual ebb and flow, there exists an “upper tier” of noteworthy hedge fund managers who were upping their stakes significantly (or already accumulated large positions).

No of Hedge Funds with WTFC Positions

More specifically, Millennium Management was the largest shareholder of Wintrust Financial Corporation (NASDAQ:WTFC), with a stake worth $97.6 million reported as of the end of March. Trailing Millennium Management was Citadel Investment Group, which amassed a stake valued at $80.3 million. Fisher Asset Management, D E Shaw, and AQR Capital Management were also very fond of the stock, giving the stock large weights in their portfolios.

Since Wintrust Financial Corporation (NASDAQ:WTFC) has witnessed falling interest from the entirety of the hedge funds we track, it’s safe to say that there is a sect of hedge funds that slashed their entire stakes by the end of the third quarter. Interestingly, Clint Carlson’s Carlson Capital dumped the biggest investment of all the hedgies tracked by Insider Monkey, comprising about $8.9 million in stock. George Soros’s fund, Soros Fund Management, also dumped its stock, about $2.8 million worth. These transactions are intriguing to say the least, as aggregate hedge fund interest fell by 1 funds by the end of the third quarter.

Let’s also examine hedge fund activity in other stocks similar to Wintrust Financial Corporation (NASDAQ:WTFC). We will take a look at Stifel Financial Corp. (NYSE:SF), Tech Data Corp (NASDAQ:TECD), Weingarten Realty Investors (NYSE:WRI), and BJ’s Wholesale Club Holdings, Inc. (NYSE:BJ). This group of stocks’ market values match WTFC’s market value.

Ticker No of HFs with positions Total Value of HF Positions (x1000) Change in HF Position
SF 16 171601 4
TECD 19 307621 -4
WRI 13 58932 1
BJ 22 256004 6
Average 17.5 198540 1.75

View table here if you experience formatting issues.

As you can see these stocks had an average of 17.5 hedge funds with bullish positions and the average amount invested in these stocks was $199 million. That figure was $381 million in WTFC’s case. BJ’s Wholesale Club Holdings, Inc. (NYSE:BJ) is the most popular stock in this table. On the other hand Weingarten Realty Investors (NYSE:WRI) is the least popular one with only 13 bullish hedge fund positions. Compared to these stocks Wintrust Financial Corporation (NASDAQ:WTFC) is more popular among hedge funds. Our calculations showed that top 20 most popular stocks among hedge funds returned 1.9% in Q2 through May 30th and outperformed the S&P 500 ETF (SPY) by more than 3 percentage points. Hedge funds were also right about betting on WTFC as the stock returned 3.5% during the same period and outperformed the market by an even larger margin. Hedge funds were clearly right about piling into this stock relative to other stocks with similar market capitalizations.

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