Was The Smart Money Right About Brookline Bancorp, Inc. (BRKL)?

Coronavirus is probably the #1 concern in investors’ minds right now. It should be. On February 27th we published an article with the title Recession is Imminent: We Need A Travel Ban NOW. We predicted that a US recession is imminent and US stocks will go down by at least 20% in the next 3-6 months. We also told you to short the market ETFs and buy long-term bonds. Investors who agreed with us and replicated these trades are up double digits whereas the market is down double digits. Our article also called for a total international travel ban to prevent the spread of the coronavirus especially from Europe. We were one step ahead of the markets and the president (see why hell is coming).

In these volatile markets we scrutinize hedge fund filings to get a reading on which direction each stock might be going. 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 835 world-class investment firms that we track and now have access to the collective wisdom contained in these filings, which are based on their December 31 holdings, data that is available nowhere else. Should you consider Brookline Bancorp, Inc. (NASDAQ:BRKL) for your portfolio? We’ll look to this invaluable collective wisdom for the answer.

Hedge fund interest in Brookline Bancorp, Inc. (NASDAQ:BRKL) shares was flat at the end of last quarter. This is usually a negative indicator. The level and the change in hedge fund popularity aren’t the only variables you need to analyze to decipher hedge funds’ perspectives. A stock may witness a boost in popularity but it may still be less popular than similarly priced stocks. That’s why at the end of this article we will examine companies such as Canadian Solar Inc. (NASDAQ:CSIQ), Geopark Ltd (NYSE:GPRK), and Southwestern Energy Company (NYSE:SWN) to gather more data points. Our calculations also showed that BRKL isn’t among the 30 most popular stocks among hedge funds (click for Q4 rankings and see the video at the end of this article for Q3 rankings).

Noam Gottesman GLG Partners

Noam Gottesman of GLG Partners

We leave no stone unturned when looking for the next great investment idea. For example, COVID-19 pandemic is still the main driver of stock prices. So we are checking out this trader’s corona catalyst trades. We read hedge fund investor letters and listen to stock pitches at hedge fund conferences. Our best call in 2020 was shorting the market when S&P 500 was trading at 3150 after realizing the coronavirus pandemic’s significance before most investors. Now we’re going to take a look at the fresh hedge fund action regarding Brookline Bancorp, Inc. (NASDAQ:BRKL).

What have hedge funds been doing with Brookline Bancorp, Inc. (NASDAQ:BRKL)?

At Q4’s end, a total of 11 of the hedge funds tracked by Insider Monkey were bullish on this stock, a change of 0% from the previous quarter. On the other hand, there were a total of 10 hedge funds with a bullish position in BRKL a year ago. So, let’s check out which hedge funds were among the top holders of the stock and which hedge funds were making big moves.

Is BRKL A Good Stock To Buy?

According to publicly available hedge fund and institutional investor holdings data compiled by Insider Monkey, Renaissance Technologies, holds the most valuable position in Brookline Bancorp, Inc. (NASDAQ:BRKL). Renaissance Technologies has a $32.3 million position in the stock, comprising less than 0.1%% of its 13F portfolio. On Renaissance Technologies’s heels is Bernard Horn of Polaris Capital Management, with a $19.5 million position; 0.8% of its 13F portfolio is allocated to the stock. Remaining members of the smart money that hold long positions encompass John D. Gillespie’s Prospector Partners, Israel Englander’s Millennium Management and Ken Griffin’s Citadel Investment Group. In terms of the portfolio weights assigned to each position Prospector Partners allocated the biggest weight to Brookline Bancorp, Inc. (NASDAQ:BRKL), around 1.01% of its 13F portfolio. Polaris Capital Management is also relatively very bullish on the stock, earmarking 0.8 percent of its 13F equity portfolio to BRKL.

Since Brookline Bancorp, Inc. (NASDAQ:BRKL) has experienced a decline in interest from the smart money, it’s easy to see that there were a few hedge funds who sold off their positions entirely heading into Q4. At the top of the heap, John D. Gillespie’s Prospector Partners dropped the biggest investment of the “upper crust” of funds monitored by Insider Monkey, comprising about $2 million in stock, and David Harding’s Winton Capital Management was right behind this move, as the fund dropped about $0.4 million worth. These transactions are intriguing to say the least, as aggregate hedge fund interest stayed the same (this is a bearish signal in our experience).

Let’s now take a look at hedge fund activity in other stocks similar to Brookline Bancorp, Inc. (NASDAQ:BRKL). We will take a look at Canadian Solar Inc. (NASDAQ:CSIQ), Geopark Ltd (NYSE:GPRK), Southwestern Energy Company (NYSE:SWN), and PC Connection, Inc. (NASDAQ:CNXN). All of these stocks’ market caps are closest to BRKL’s market cap.

Ticker No of HFs with positions Total Value of HF Positions (x1000) Change in HF Position
CSIQ 14 148220 -4
GPRK 11 144211 3
SWN 15 149446 1
CNXN 15 75446 4
Average 13.75 129331 1

View table here if you experience formatting issues.

As you can see these stocks had an average of 13.75 hedge funds with bullish positions and the average amount invested in these stocks was $129 million. That figure was $66 million in BRKL’s case. Southwestern Energy Company (NYSE:SWN) is the most popular stock in this table. On the other hand Geopark Ltd (NYSE:GPRK) is the least popular one with only 11 bullish hedge fund positions. Compared to these stocks Brookline Bancorp, Inc. (NASDAQ:BRKL) is even less popular than GPRK. Hedge funds dodged a bullet by taking a bearish stance towards BRKL. Our calculations showed that the top 10 most popular hedge fund stocks returned 41.4% in 2019 and outperformed the S&P 500 ETF (SPY) by 10.1 percentage points. These stocks gained 1.0% in 2020 through May 1st but managed to beat the market by 12.9 percentage points. Unfortunately BRKL wasn’t nearly as popular as these 10 stocks (hedge fund sentiment was very bearish); BRKL investors were disappointed as the stock returned -42.5% during the same time period and underperformed the market. If you are interested in investing in large cap stocks with huge upside potential, you should check out the top 10 most popular stocks among hedge funds as most of these stocks already outperformed the market so far in 2020.
5 Most Popular Stocks Among Hedge Funds
Video: Click the image to watch our video about the top 5 most popular hedge fund stocks.

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