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Is AmeriServ Financial, Inc. (ASRV) A Good Stock To Buy?

·5 min read

Before we spend countless hours researching a company, we like to analyze what insiders, hedge funds and billionaire investors think of the stock first. This is a necessary first step in our investment process because our research has shown that the elite investors' consensus returns have been exceptional. In the following paragraphs, we find out what the billionaire investors and hedge funds think of AmeriServ Financial, Inc. (NASDAQ:ASRV).

Hedge fund interest in AmeriServ Financial, Inc. (NASDAQ:ASRV) shares was flat at the end of last quarter. This is usually a negative indicator. Our calculations also showed that ASRV isn't among the 30 most popular stocks among hedge funds (click for Q1 rankings). At the end of this article we will also compare ASRV to other stocks including Kiromic BioPharma, Inc. (NASDAQ:KRBP), Air T, Inc. (NASDAQ:AIRT), and Organovo Holdings Inc (NASDAQ:ONVO) to get a better sense of its popularity.

If you'd ask most market participants, hedge funds are assumed to be underperforming, old financial vehicles of years past. While there are greater than 8000 funds with their doors open at present, Our researchers choose to focus on the crème de la crème of this group, around 850 funds. It is estimated that this group of investors shepherd most of all hedge funds' total asset base, and by tailing their matchless investments, Insider Monkey has revealed several investment strategies that have historically beaten the broader indices. Insider Monkey's flagship short hedge fund strategy outperformed the S&P 500 short ETFs by around 20 percentage points per annum since its inception in March 2017. Also, our monthly newsletter's portfolio of long stock picks returned 206.8% since March 2017 (through May 2021) and beat the S&P 500 Index by more than 115 percentage points. You can download a sample issue of this newsletter on our website .

Jeffrey Gendell of Tontine Asset Management

At Insider Monkey, we scour multiple sources to uncover the next great investment idea. For example, an activist hedge fund wants to buy this $26 biotech stock for $50. So, we recommended a long position to our monthly premium newsletter subscribers. We go through lists like the 10 best battery stocks to pick the next Tesla that will deliver a 10x return. Even though we recommend positions in only a tiny fraction of the companies we analyze, we check out as many stocks as we can. We read hedge fund investor letters and listen to stock pitches at hedge fund conferences. You can subscribe to our free daily newsletter on our homepage. Now let's take a look at the new hedge fund action encompassing AmeriServ Financial, Inc. (NASDAQ:ASRV).

Do Hedge Funds Think ASRV Is A Good Stock To Buy Now?

Heading into the second quarter of 2021, a total of 3 of the hedge funds tracked by Insider Monkey were bullish on this stock, a change of 0% from the fourth quarter of 2020. Below, you can check out the change in hedge fund sentiment towards ASRV over the last 23 quarters. So, let's find out which hedge funds were among the top holders of the stock and which hedge funds were making big moves.

The largest stake in AmeriServ Financial, Inc. (NASDAQ:ASRV) was held by Tontine Asset Management, which reported holding $4 million worth of stock at the end of December. It was followed by Renaissance Technologies with a $3.1 million position. The only other hedge fund that is bullish on the company was Minerva Advisors.

Earlier we told you that the aggregate hedge fund interest in the stock was unchanged and we view this as a negative development. Even though there weren't any hedge funds dumping their holdings during the third quarter, there weren't any hedge funds initiating brand new positions. This indicates that hedge funds, at the very best, perceive this stock as dead money and they haven't identified any viable catalysts that can attract investor attention.

Let's now review hedge fund activity in other stocks similar to AmeriServ Financial, Inc. (NASDAQ:ASRV). These stocks are Kiromic BioPharma, Inc. (NASDAQ:KRBP), Air T, Inc. (NASDAQ:AIRT), Organovo Holdings Inc (NASDAQ:ONVO), Greenlane Holdings, Inc. (NASDAQ:GNLN), urban-gro, Inc. (NASDAQ:UGRO), ClearOne Inc (NASDAQ:CLRO), and Catabasis Pharmaceuticals Inc (NASDAQ:CATB). This group of stocks' market values are similar to ASRV's market value.

[table] Ticker, No of HFs with positions, Total Value of HF Positions (x1000), Change in HF Position KRBP,1,203,0 AIRT,2,4214,0 ONVO,3,8161,1 GNLN,9,4734,3 UGRO,1,206,1 CLRO,2,1898,-1 CATB,11,19179,-1 Average,4.1,5514,0.4 [/table]

View table here if you experience formatting issues.

As you can see these stocks had an average of 4.1 hedge funds with bullish positions and the average amount invested in these stocks was $6 million. That figure was $7 million in ASRV's case. Catabasis Pharmaceuticals Inc (NASDAQ:CATB) is the most popular stock in this table. On the other hand Kiromic BioPharma, Inc. (NASDAQ:KRBP) is the least popular one with only 1 bullish hedge fund positions. AmeriServ Financial, Inc. (NASDAQ:ASRV) is not the least popular stock in this group but hedge fund interest is still below average. Our overall hedge fund sentiment score for ASRV is 37.5. Stocks with higher number of hedge fund positions relative to other stocks as well as relative to their historical range receive a higher sentiment score. This is a slightly negative signal and we'd rather spend our time researching stocks that hedge funds are piling on. Our calculations showed that top 5 most popular stocks among hedge funds returned 95.8% in 2019 and 2020, and outperformed the S&P 500 ETF (SPY) by 40 percentage points. These stocks gained 17.2% in 2021 through June 11th and surpassed the market again by 3.3 percentage points. Unfortunately ASRV wasn't nearly as popular as these 5 stocks (hedge fund sentiment was quite bearish); ASRV investors were disappointed as the stock returned 0.3% since the end of March (through 6/11) and underperformed the market. If you are interested in investing in large cap stocks with huge upside potential, you should check out the top 5 most popular stocks among hedge funds as most of these stocks already outperformed the market in 2021.

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

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