This Metric Says You Are Smart to Buy iStar Financial Inc. (SFI)

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Is iStar Financial Inc. (NYSE:SFI) a good investment today? Hedge funds are getting more bullish. The number of long hedge fund positions advanced by 4 in recent months.

In the financial world, there are tons of metrics market participants can use to track the equity markets. Two of the most under-the-radar are hedge fund and insider trading movement. At Insider Monkey, our studies have shown that, historically, those who follow the top picks of the top fund managers can trounce the market by a significant amount (see just how much).

YORK CAPITAL MANAGEMENTEqually as key, bullish insider trading activity is another way to parse down the world of equities. Obviously, there are plenty of motivations for a bullish insider to downsize shares of his or her company, but just one, very obvious reason why they would behave bullishly. Several academic studies have demonstrated the impressive potential of this method if “monkeys” know what to do (learn more here).

Keeping this in mind, let’s take a gander at the recent action encompassing iStar Financial Inc. (NYSE:SFI).

Hedge fund activity in iStar Financial Inc. (NYSE:SFI)

At Q1’s end, a total of 26 of the hedge funds we track were bullish in this stock, a change of 18% from the previous quarter. With hedge funds’ capital changing hands, there exists an “upper tier” of noteworthy hedge fund managers who were boosting their stakes substantially.

When looking at the hedgies we track, Sean Cullinan’s Point State Capital had the biggest position in iStar Financial Inc. (NYSE:SFI), worth close to $59.8 million, comprising 0.9% of its total 13F portfolio. The second largest stake is held by Valinor Management LLC, managed by David Gallo, which held a $57.5 million position; 2.5% of its 13F portfolio is allocated to the company. Some other hedge funds that hold long positions include Ric Dillon’s Diamond Hill Capital, Mark T. Gallogly’s Centerbridge Partners and James Dinan’s York Capital Management.

With a general bullishness amongst the heavyweights, key money managers have been driving this bullishness. Point State Capital, managed by Sean Cullinan, assembled the largest position in iStar Financial Inc. (NYSE:SFI). Point State Capital had 59.8 million invested in the company at the end of the quarter. James Dinan’s York Capital Management also initiated a $21.8 million position during the quarter. The other funds with brand new SFI positions are Don Morgan’s Brigade Capital, Keith Meister’s Corvex Capital, and George Soros’s Soros Fund Management.

What have insiders been doing with iStar Financial Inc. (NYSE:SFI)?

Bullish insider trading is particularly usable when the company we’re looking at has seen transactions within the past half-year. Over the last 180-day time period, iStar Financial Inc. (NYSE:SFI) has experienced 1 unique insiders purchasing, and 2 insider sales (see the details of insider trades here).

Let’s also examine hedge fund and insider activity in other stocks similar to iStar Financial Inc. (NYSE:SFI). These stocks are Capstead Mortgage Corporation (NYSE:CMO), Investors Real Estate Trust (NYSE:IRET), Cousins Properties Inc (NYSE:CUZ), Anworth Mortgage Asset Corporation (NYSE:ANH), and Crexus Investment Corp (NYSE:CXS). This group of stocks are in the reit – diversified industry and their market caps are closest to SFI’s market cap.

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