State Bank Financial Corp (STBZ): Are Hedge Funds Right About This Stock?

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State Bank Financial Corp (NASDAQ:STBZ) was in 7 hedge funds’ portfolio at the end of the fourth quarter of 2012. STBZ investors should pay attention to a decrease in enthusiasm from smart money recently. There were 8 hedge funds in our database with STBZ holdings at the end of the previous quarter.

State Bank Financial Corp (NASDAQ:STBZ)

According to most investors, hedge funds are seen as underperforming, outdated financial vehicles of the past. While there are more than 8000 funds in operation at present, we choose to focus on the moguls of this club, around 450 funds. It is estimated that this group has its hands on most of the smart money’s total capital, and by monitoring their top picks, we have unsheathed a number of investment strategies that have historically beaten Mr. Market. Our small-cap hedge fund strategy outstripped the S&P 500 index by 18 percentage points annually for a decade in our back tests, and since we’ve started sharing our picks with our subscribers at the end of August 2012, we have trumped the S&P 500 index by 24 percentage points in 7 months (explore the details and some picks here).

Equally as key, bullish insider trading activity is a second way to break down the financial markets. Obviously, there are lots of motivations for an executive to cut shares of his or her company, but just one, very clear reason why they would behave bullishly. Several empirical studies have demonstrated the impressive potential of this tactic if you understand where to look (learn more here).

Keeping this in mind, we’re going to take a gander at the recent action surrounding State Bank Financial Corp (NASDAQ:STBZ).

What does the smart money think about State Bank Financial Corp (NASDAQ:STBZ)?

At the end of the fourth quarter, a total of 7 of the hedge funds we track were bullish in this stock, a change of -13% from the third quarter. With hedge funds’ capital changing hands, there exists a few noteworthy hedge fund managers who were upping their stakes substantially.

According to our comprehensive database, Greenlight Capital, managed by David Einhorn, holds the biggest position in State Bank Financial Corp (NASDAQ:STBZ). Greenlight Capital has a $33.3 million position in the stock, comprising 0.5% of its 13F portfolio. Sitting at the No. 2 spot is John Paulson of Paulson & Co, with a $20 million position; 0.1% of its 13F portfolio is allocated to the stock. Remaining peers that hold long positions include Robert Pohly’s Samlyn Capital, Chuck Royce’s Royce & Associates and D. E. Shaw’s D E Shaw.

Judging by the fact that State Bank Financial Corp (NASDAQ:STBZ) has witnessed a declination in interest from the entirety of the hedge funds we track, we can see that there is a sect of fund managers that decided to sell off their entire stakes heading into 2013. Intriguingly, Mike Vranos’s Ellington dumped the largest investment of the 450+ funds we watch, comprising about $0.2 million in stock. These bearish behaviors are interesting, as total hedge fund interest fell by 1 funds heading into 2013.

What have insiders been doing with State Bank Financial Corp (NASDAQ:STBZ)?

Insider purchases made by high-level executives is at its handiest when the company in focus has experienced transactions within the past 180 days. Over the last half-year time period, State Bank Financial Corp (NASDAQ:STBZ) has seen 1 unique insiders buying, and zero insider sales (see the details of insider trades here).

Let’s check out hedge fund and insider activity in other stocks similar to State Bank Financial Corp (NASDAQ:STBZ). These stocks are BSB Bancorp Inc (NASDAQ:BLMT), National Bank of Greece (ADR) (NYSE:NBG), Home Bancshares Inc (NASDAQ:HOMB), First Connecticut Bancorp Inc (NASDAQ:FBNK), and Oriental Financial Group Inc. (NYSE:OFG). All of these stocks are in the money center banks industry and their market caps are similar to STBZ’s market cap.

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