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Should You Buy TriCo Bancshares (TCBK)?

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 September 30 holdings, data that is available nowhere else. Should you consider TriCo Bancshares (NASDAQ:TCBK) for your portfolio? We’ll look to this invaluable collective wisdom for the answer.

TriCo Bancshares investors should be aware of an increase in support from the world’s most elite money managers in recent months. At the end of this article we will also compare TCBK to other stocks, including Regenxbio Inc (NASDAQ:RGNX), U.S. Physical Therapy, Inc. (NYSE:USPH), and Habit Restaurants Inc (NASDAQ:HABT) to get a better sense of its popularity.

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According to most investors, hedge funds are seen as slow, outdated financial tools of the past. While there are greater than 8000 funds in operation today, Our researchers hone in on the masters of this group, approximately 700 funds. These investment experts direct most of the hedge fund industry’s total asset base, and by following their best stock picks, Insider Monkey has come up with many investment strategies that have historically surpassed the market. Insider Monkey’s small-cap hedge fund strategy exceeded the S&P 500 index by 12 percentage points per year for a decade in their back tests.

With all of this in mind, let’s go over the latest action regarding TriCo Bancshares (NASDAQ:TCBK).

What does the smart money think about TriCo Bancshares (NASDAQ:TCBK)?

Heading into Q4, a total of 10 of the hedge funds tracked by Insider Monkey held long positions in this stock, a change of 11% from the previous quarter. With hedge funds’ positions undergoing their usual ebb and flow, there exists a few key hedge fund managers who were increasing their stakes substantially (or already accumulated large positions).

According to Insider Monkey’s hedge fund database, Matthew Lindenbaum’s Basswood Capital has the largest position in TriCo Bancshares (NASDAQ:TCBK), worth close to $20 million, comprising 1% of its total 13F portfolio. On Basswood Capital’s heels is Jim Simons’ Renaissance Technologies, with a $14.6 million position; the fund has less than 0.1%% of its 13F portfolio invested in the stock. Some other members of the smart money that hold long positions consist of Ken Gray and Steve Walsh’s Bryn Mawr Capital, Israel Englander’s Millennium Management, and Ken Griffin’s Citadel Investment Group.

With a general bullishness amongst the heavyweights, key hedge funds were leading the bulls’ herd. Balyasny Asset Management, managed by Dmitry Balyasny, created the biggest position in TriCo Bancshares (NASDAQ:TCBK). Balyasny Asset Management had $0.3 million invested in the company at the end of the quarter. Chao Ku’s Nine Chapters Capital Management also made a $0.3 million investment in the stock during the quarter.

Let’s now take a look at hedge fund activity in other stocks similar to TriCo Bancshares (NASDAQ:TCBK). We will take a look at Regenxbio Inc (NASDAQ:RGNX), U.S. Physical Therapy, Inc. (NYSE:USPH), Habit Restaurants Inc (NASDAQ:HABT), and American Residential Properties Inc (NYSE:ARPI). This group of stocks’ market caps are closest to TCBK’s market cap.

Ticker No of HFs with positions Total Value of HF Positions (x1000) Change in HF Position
RGNX 17 145789 17
USPH 11 89274 1
HABT 9 36045 -2
ARPI 11 145048 -4

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 $104 million. That figure was just $48 million in TCBK’s case. Regenxbio Inc (NASDAQ:RGNX) is the most popular stock in this table. On the other hand Habit Restaurants Inc (NASDAQ:HABT) is the least popular one with only 9 bullish hedge fund positions. TriCo Bancshares (NASDAQ:TCBK) is not the least popular stock in this group, but hedge fund interest is still below average. This is a slightly negative signal and we’d rather spend our time researching stocks that hedge funds are piling on. In this regard RGNX might be a better candidate to consider a long position.

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