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Hedge Funds Have Never Been More Bullish On SB One Bancorp (SBBX)

Nina Todic

A whopping number of 13F filings filed with U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission has been processed by Insider Monkey so that individual investors can look at the overall hedge fund sentiment towards the stocks included in their watchlists. These freshly-submitted public filings disclose money managers’ equity positions as of the end of the three-month period that ended September 30, so let’s proceed with the discussion of the hedge fund sentiment on SB One Bancorp (NASDAQ:SBBX).

SB One Bancorp (NASDAQ:SBBX) investors should be aware of an increase in hedge fund sentiment of late. SBBX was in 7 hedge funds' portfolios at the end of the third quarter of 2019. There were 6 hedge funds in our database with SBBX holdings at the end of the previous quarter. Our calculations also showed that SBBX 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

At the moment there are numerous tools stock traders have at their disposal to size up publicly traded companies. A duo of the best tools are hedge fund and insider trading signals. We have shown that, historically, those who follow the top picks of the top hedge fund managers can outpace the S&P 500 by a very impressive margin (see the details here).

[caption id="attachment_189632" align="aligncenter" width="450"] David Harding of Winton Capital Management[/caption]

David Harding

We leave no stone unturned when looking for the next great investment idea. For example Europe is set to become the world's largest cannabis market, so we check out this European marijuana stock pitch. 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 also rely on the best performing hedge funds' buy/sell signals. We're going to view the key hedge fund action surrounding SB One Bancorp (NASDAQ:SBBX).

How have hedgies been trading SB One Bancorp (NASDAQ:SBBX)?

Heading into the fourth quarter of 2019, a total of 7 of the hedge funds tracked by Insider Monkey were bullish on this stock, a change of 17% from the second quarter of 2019. On the other hand, there were a total of 4 hedge funds with a bullish position in SBBX a year ago. With hedge funds' positions undergoing their usual ebb and flow, there exists a select group of key hedge fund managers who were increasing their stakes considerably (or already accumulated large positions).

According to publicly available hedge fund and institutional investor holdings data compiled by Insider Monkey, Matthew Lindenbaum's Basswood Capital has the biggest position in SB One Bancorp (NASDAQ:SBBX), worth close to $9.8 million, amounting to 0.7% of its total 13F portfolio. On Basswood Capital's heels is EJF Capital, managed by Emanuel J. Friedman, which holds a $5.7 million position; 0.8% of its 13F portfolio is allocated to the stock. Other professional money managers with similar optimism contain Renaissance Technologies, David Harding's Winton Capital Management and Kahn Brothers. In terms of the portfolio weights assigned to each position EJF Capital allocated the biggest weight to SB One Bancorp (NASDAQ:SBBX), around 0.77% of its 13F portfolio. Basswood Capital is also relatively very bullish on the stock, setting aside 0.72 percent of its 13F equity portfolio to SBBX.

As one would reasonably expect, some big names have been driving this bullishness. Winton Capital Management, managed by David Harding, created the most valuable position in SB One Bancorp (NASDAQ:SBBX). Winton Capital Management had $0.8 million invested in the company at the end of the quarter. Israel Englander's Millennium Management also made a $0.5 million investment in the stock during the quarter.

Let's also examine hedge fund activity in other stocks - not necessarily in the same industry as SB One Bancorp (NASDAQ:SBBX) but similarly valued. We will take a look at Mesa Air Group, Inc. (NASDAQ:MESA), LAIX Inc. (NYSE:LAIX), BCB Bancorp, Inc. (NASDAQ:BCBP), and THL Credit, Inc. (NASDAQ:TCRD). All of these stocks' market caps resemble SBBX's market cap.

[table] Ticker, No of HFs with positions, Total Value of HF Positions (x1000), Change in HF Position MESA,16,35989,-3 LAIX,3,3892,1 BCBP,3,6850,1 TCRD,6,25124,1 Average,7,17964,0 [/table]

View table here if you experience formatting issues.

As you can see these stocks had an average of 7 hedge funds with bullish positions and the average amount invested in these stocks was $18 million. That figure was $20 million in SBBX's case. Mesa Air Group, Inc. (NASDAQ:MESA) is the most popular stock in this table. On the other hand LAIX Inc. (NYSE:LAIX) is the least popular one with only 3 bullish hedge fund positions. SB One Bancorp (NASDAQ:SBBX) 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 SBBX wasn't nearly as popular as these 20 stocks (hedge fund sentiment was quite bearish); SBBX investors were disappointed as the stock returned 5.2% 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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