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Hedge Funds Have Never Been More Bullish On C&F Financial Corporation (CFFI)

Nina Todic

After several tireless days we have finished crunching the numbers from nearly 750 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 September 30th. The results of that effort will be put on display in this article, as we share valuable insight into the smart money sentiment towards C&F Financial Corporation (NASDAQ:CFFI).

Is C&F Financial Corporation (NASDAQ:CFFI) the right investment to pursue these days? Hedge funds are becoming more confident. The number of long hedge fund positions increased by 1 in recent months. Our calculations also showed that CFFI 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

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' large-cap stock picks indeed failed to beat the market between 1999 and 2016. However, we were able to identify in advance a select group of hedge fund holdings that outperformed the Russell 2000 ETFs by 40 percentage points since May 2014 (see the details here). We were also able to identify in advance a select group of hedge fund holdings that'll significantly underperform the market. We have been tracking and sharing the list of these stocks since February 2017 and they lost 27.8% through November 21, 2019. That's why we believe hedge fund sentiment is an extremely useful indicator that investors should pay attention to.

[caption id="attachment_339352" align="aligncenter" width="500"] Joe Huber of Huber Capital Management[/caption]

Joe Huber - Huber Capital 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. With all of this in mind we're going to take a peek at the recent hedge fund action surrounding C&F Financial Corporation (NASDAQ:CFFI).

Hedge fund activity in C&F Financial Corporation (NASDAQ:CFFI)

At Q3's end, a total of 3 of the hedge funds tracked by Insider Monkey were long this stock, a change of 50% from one quarter earlier. By comparison, 2 hedge funds held shares or bullish call options in CFFI a year ago. So, let's find out which hedge funds were among the top holders of the stock and which hedge funds were making big moves.

When looking at the institutional investors followed by Insider Monkey, Renaissance Technologies has the most valuable position in C&F Financial Corporation (NASDAQ:CFFI), worth close to $7.5 million, comprising less than 0.1%% of its total 13F portfolio. Sitting at the No. 2 spot is Joe Huber of Huber Capital Management, with a $0.2 million position; the fund has less than 0.1%% of its 13F portfolio invested in the stock. In terms of the portfolio weights assigned to each position Huber Capital Management allocated the biggest weight to C&F Financial Corporation (NASDAQ:CFFI), around 0.03% of its 13F portfolio. Renaissance Technologies is also relatively very bullish on the stock, earmarking 0.01 percent of its 13F equity portfolio to CFFI.

With a general bullishness amongst the heavyweights, key money managers have been driving this bullishness. Millennium Management, managed by Israel Englander, initiated the most outsized position in C&F Financial Corporation (NASDAQ:CFFI). Millennium Management had $0.2 million invested in the company at the end of the quarter.

Let's check out hedge fund activity in other stocks - not necessarily in the same industry as C&F Financial Corporation (NASDAQ:CFFI) but similarly valued. These stocks are GNC Holdings Inc (NYSE:GNC), Coastal Financial Corporation (NASDAQ:CCB), Two River Bancorp (NASDAQ:TRCB), and United Security Bancshares (NASDAQ:UBFO). All of these stocks' market caps resemble CFFI's market cap.

[table] Ticker, No of HFs with positions, Total Value of HF Positions (x1000), Change in HF Position GNC,10,15157,0 CCB,3,19904,1 TRCB,5,14422,2 UBFO,2,8561,0 Average,5,14511,0.75 [/table]

View table here if you experience formatting issues.

As you can see these stocks had an average of 5 hedge funds with bullish positions and the average amount invested in these stocks was $15 million. That figure was $8 million in CFFI's case. GNC Holdings Inc (NYSE:GNC) is the most popular stock in this table. On the other hand United Security Bancshares (NASDAQ:UBFO) is the least popular one with only 2 bullish hedge fund positions. C&F Financial Corporation (NASDAQ:CFFI) is not the least popular stock in this group but hedge fund interest is still below average. 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. A small number of hedge funds were also right about betting on CFFI, though not to the same extent, as the stock returned 6.9% during the first two months of the fourth quarter and outperformed the market.

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

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