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Hedge Funds Have Never Been This Bullish On First Savings Financial Group, Inc. (FSFG)

Nina Todic

Insider Monkey has processed numerous 13F filings of hedge funds and successful value investors to create an extensive database of hedge fund holdings. The 13F filings show the hedge funds' and successful investors' positions as of the end of the third quarter. You can find articles about an individual hedge fund's trades on numerous financial news websites. However, in this article we will take a look at their collective moves over the last 4 years and analyze what the smart money thinks of First Savings Financial Group, Inc. (NASDAQ:FSFG) based on that data.

Is First Savings Financial Group, Inc. (NASDAQ:FSFG) a buy, sell, or hold? Prominent investors are becoming more confident. The number of bullish hedge fund bets inched up by 1 in recent months. Our calculations also showed that FSFG isn't among the 30 most popular stocks among hedge funds (click for Q3 rankings and see the video below for Q2 rankings). Video: Click the image to watch our video about the top 5 most popular hedge fund stocks.

5 Most Popular Stocks Among Hedge Funds

To the average investor there are dozens of indicators stock market investors put to use to grade their holdings. A couple of the less utilized indicators are hedge fund and insider trading moves. Our researchers have shown that, historically, those who follow the top picks of the best money managers can trounce the S&P 500 by a healthy amount (see the details here).

[caption id="attachment_27676" align="aligncenter" width="355"] Israel Englander of Millennium Management[/caption]

MILLENNIUM MANAGEMENT

We leave no stone unturned when looking for the next great investment idea. For example Discover is offering this insane cashback card, so we look into shorting the stock. One of the most bullish analysts in America just put his money where his mouth is. He says, "I'm investing more today than I did back in early 2009." So we check out his pitch. We read hedge fund investor letters and listen to stock pitches at hedge fund conferences. We even check out this option genius' weekly trade ideas. This December, we recommended Adams Energy as a one-way bet based on an under-the-radar fund manager's investor letter and the stock already gained 20 percent. Now let's take a gander at the new hedge fund action surrounding First Savings Financial Group, Inc. (NASDAQ:FSFG).

What does smart money think about First Savings Financial Group, Inc. (NASDAQ:FSFG)?

At the end of the third quarter, a total of 4 of the hedge funds tracked by Insider Monkey were bullish on this stock, a change of 33% from the second quarter of 2019. The graph below displays the number of hedge funds with bullish position in FSFG over the last 17 quarters. With hedge funds' positions undergoing their usual ebb and flow, there exists a select group of noteworthy hedge fund managers who were upping their holdings meaningfully (or already accumulated large positions).

Of the funds tracked by Insider Monkey, EJF Capital, managed by Emanuel J. Friedman, holds the most valuable position in First Savings Financial Group, Inc. (NASDAQ:FSFG). EJF Capital has a $4.4 million position in the stock, comprising 0.6% of its 13F portfolio. Sitting at the No. 2 spot is Renaissance Technologies holding a $0.7 million position; the fund has less than 0.1%% of its 13F portfolio invested in the stock. Remaining professional money managers that are bullish consist of Israel Englander's Millennium Management, Donald Sussman's Paloma Partners and . In terms of the portfolio weights assigned to each position EJF Capital allocated the biggest weight to First Savings Financial Group, Inc. (NASDAQ:FSFG), around 0.6% of its 13F portfolio. Paloma Partners is also relatively very bullish on the stock, designating 0.01 percent of its 13F equity portfolio to FSFG.

There weren't any hedge funds initiating brand new positions in the stock during the third quarter.

Let's now review hedge fund activity in other stocks - not necessarily in the same industry as First Savings Financial Group, Inc. (NASDAQ:FSFG) but similarly valued. We will take a look at LSB Industries, Inc. (NYSE:LXU), Points International Ltd (NASDAQ:PCOM), Barnes & Noble Education Inc (NYSE:BNED), and Centric Brands Inc. (NASDAQ:CTRC). This group of stocks' market caps are similar to FSFG's market cap.

[table] Ticker, No of HFs with positions, Total Value of HF Positions (x1000), Change in HF Position LXU,5,10516,-1 PCOM,6,11297,0 BNED,9,4523,-7 CTRC,2,152,1 Average,5.5,6622,-1.75 [/table]

View table here if you experience formatting issues.

As you can see these stocks had an average of 5.5 hedge funds with bullish positions and the average amount invested in these stocks was $7 million. That figure was $6 million in FSFG's case. Barnes & Noble Education Inc (NYSE:BNED) is the most popular stock in this table. On the other hand Centric Brands Inc. (NASDAQ:CTRC) is the least popular one with only 2 bullish hedge fund positions. First Savings Financial Group, Inc. (NASDAQ:FSFG) is not the least popular stock in this group but hedge fund interest is still below average. 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 20 most popular stocks among hedge funds returned 37.4% in 2019 through the end of November and outperformed the S&P 500 ETF (SPY) by 9.9 percentage points. Unfortunately FSFG wasn't nearly as popular as these 20 stocks (hedge fund sentiment was quite bearish); FSFG investors were disappointed as the stock returned 4.4% during the first two months of the fourth quarter and underperformed the market. If you are interested in investing in large cap stocks with huge upside potential, you should check out the top 20 most popular stocks among hedge funds as 70 percent of these stocks already outperformed the market in Q4.

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

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