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Do Hedge Funds Love The Community Financial Corporation (TCFC)?

·6 min read

After several tireless days we have finished crunching the numbers from nearly 900 13F filings issued by the elite hedge funds and other investment firms that we track at Insider Monkey, which disclosed those firms' equity portfolios as of March 31st. The results of that effort will be put on display in this article, as we share valuable insight into the smart money sentiment towards The Community Financial Corporation (NASDAQ:TCFC).

The Community Financial Corporation (NASDAQ:TCFC) shares haven't seen a lot of action during the second quarter. Overall, hedge fund sentiment was unchanged. The stock was in 3 hedge funds' portfolios at the end of the first quarter of 2021. Our calculations also showed that TCFC isn't among the 30 most popular stocks among hedge funds (click for Q1 rankings). 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 BayCom Corp (NASDAQ:BCML), Sequans Communications SA (NYSE:SQNS), and SharpSpring, Inc. (NASDAQ:SHSP) to gather more data points.

Hedge funds' reputation as shrewd investors has been tarnished in the last decade as their hedged returns couldn't keep up with the unhedged returns of the market indices. Our research has shown that hedge funds' small-cap stock picks managed to beat the market by double digits annually between 1999 and 2016, but the margin of outperformance has been declining in recent years. Nevertheless, we were still able to identify in advance a select group of hedge fund holdings that outperformed the S&P 500 ETFs by 115 percentage points since March 2017 (see the details here). We were also able to identify in advance a select group of hedge fund holdings that underperformed the market by 10 percentage points annually between 2006 and 2017. Interestingly the margin of underperformance of these stocks has been increasing in recent years. Investors who are long the market and short these stocks would have returned more than 27% annually between 2015 and 2017. We have been tracking and sharing the list of these stocks since February 2017 in our quarterly newsletter.

Phil Stone of Fourthstone LLC
Phil Stone of Fourthstone LLC

Phil Stone of Fourthstone LLC

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. Keeping this in mind we're going to review the fresh hedge fund action surrounding The Community Financial Corporation (NASDAQ:TCFC).

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

At Q1's end, a total of 3 of the hedge funds tracked by Insider Monkey were bullish on this stock, a change of 0% from one quarter earlier. By comparison, 3 hedge funds held shares or bullish call options in TCFC a year ago. With the smart money's capital changing hands, there exists a few noteworthy hedge fund managers who were boosting their stakes substantially (or already accumulated large positions).

The largest stake in The Community Financial Corporation (NASDAQ:TCFC) was held by Fourthstone LLC, which reported holding $20 million worth of stock at the end of December. It was followed by Renaissance Technologies with a $3 million position. The only other hedge fund that is bullish on the company was Private Capital Management.

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 also examine hedge fund activity in other stocks - not necessarily in the same industry as The Community Financial Corporation (NASDAQ:TCFC) but similarly valued. We will take a look at BayCom Corp (NASDAQ:BCML), Sequans Communications SA (NYSE:SQNS), SharpSpring, Inc. (NASDAQ:SHSP), Opthea Limited (NASDAQ:OPT), Mastech Digital, Inc. (NYSE:MHH), Points International Ltd (NASDAQ:PCOM), and Aptinyx Inc. (NASDAQ:APTX). All of these stocks' market caps resemble TCFC's market cap.

[table] Ticker, No of HFs with positions, Total Value of HF Positions (x1000), Change in HF Position BCML,4,20863,1 SQNS,9,29833,1 SHSP,10,36090,-2 OPT,3,33900,-2 MHH,3,4262,-2 PCOM,6,29606,-1 APTX,8,35957,-3 Average,6.1,27216,-1.1 [/table]

View table here if you experience formatting issues.

As you can see these stocks had an average of 6.1 hedge funds with bullish positions and the average amount invested in these stocks was $27 million. That figure was $24 million in TCFC's case. SharpSpring, Inc. (NASDAQ:SHSP) is the most popular stock in this table. On the other hand Opthea Limited (NASDAQ:OPT) is the least popular one with only 3 bullish hedge fund positions. Compared to these stocks The Community Financial Corporation (NASDAQ:TCFC) is even less popular than OPT. Our overall hedge fund sentiment score for TCFC is 23. 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. 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 but managed to beat the market by 3.3 percentage points. A small number of hedge funds were also right about betting on TCFC, though not to the same extent, as the stock returned 8.2% since the end of March (through June 11th) and outperformed the market as well.

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

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