This Metric Says You Are Smart to Buy Westfield Financial, Inc. (WFD)

Is Westfield Financial, Inc. (NASDAQ:WFD) a buy right now? The best stock pickers are in an optimistic mood. The number of bullish hedge fund bets increased by 1 in recent months.

In the eyes of most stock holders, hedge funds are assumed to be slow, outdated financial tools of yesteryear. While there are over 8000 funds in operation at present, we hone in on the moguls of this club, close to 450 funds. It is widely believed that this group has its hands on most of all hedge funds’ total asset base, and by tracking their best investments, we have revealed a few investment strategies that have historically outstripped the market. Our small-cap hedge fund strategy outpaced the S&P 500 index by 18 percentage points a year for a decade in our back tests, and since we’ve began to sharing our picks with our subscribers at the end of August 2012, we have outpaced the S&P 500 index by 24 percentage points in 7 months (explore the details and some picks here).

Westfield Financial, Inc. (NASDAQ:WFD)

Just as important, bullish insider trading activity is a second way to break down the investments you’re interested in. Just as you’d expect, there are lots of stimuli for an executive to sell shares of his or her company, but only one, very obvious reason why they would behave bullishly. Several academic studies have demonstrated the market-beating potential of this tactic if piggybackers understand where to look (learn more here).

With these “truths” under our belt, let’s take a glance at the key action encompassing Westfield Financial, Inc. (NASDAQ:WFD).

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

At year’s end, a total of 6 of the hedge funds we track held long positions in this stock, a change of 20% from the previous quarter. With the smart money’s positions undergoing their usual ebb and flow, there exists a select group of noteworthy hedge fund managers who were upping their holdings substantially.

According to our comprehensive database, Renaissance Technologies, managed by Jim Simons, holds the most valuable position in Westfield Financial, Inc. (NASDAQ:WFD). Renaissance Technologies has a $4.9 million position in the stock, comprising less than 0.1%% of its 13F portfolio. On Renaissance Technologies’s heels is Howard Guberman of Gruss Asset Management, with a $2 million position; 0.2% of its 13F portfolio is allocated to the company. Remaining hedgies with similar optimism include J. Carlo Cannell’s Cannell Capital, John Overdeck and David Siegel’s Two Sigma Advisors and Eric D. Hovde’s Hovde Capital.

Now, key money managers have been driving this bullishness. Cannell Capital, managed by J. Carlo Cannell, established the most valuable position in Westfield Financial, Inc. (NASDAQ:WFD). Cannell Capital had 0.4 million invested in the company at the end of the quarter. Eric D. Hovde’s Hovde Capital also initiated a $0.2 million position during the quarter.

Insider trading activity in Westfield Financial, Inc. (NASDAQ:WFD)

Insider buying is particularly usable when the company in question has experienced transactions within the past 180 days. Over the last 180-day time period, Westfield Financial, Inc. (NASDAQ:WFD) has experienced 1 unique insiders buying, and 6 insider sales (see the details of insider trades here).

Let’s also take a look at hedge fund and insider activity in other stocks similar to Westfield Financial, Inc. (NASDAQ:WFD). These stocks are Merchants Bancshares,Inc. (NASDAQ:MBVT), Suffolk Bancorp (NASDAQ:SUBK), The First Bancorp, Inc. (NASDAQ:FNLC), and Horizon Bancorp (NASDAQ:HBNC). All of these stocks are in the regional – northeast banks industry and their market caps are similar to WFD’s market cap.