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Is TriCo Bancshares (TCBK) A Good Stock To Buy?

Nina Todic

The 700+ hedge funds and money managers tracked by Insider Monkey have already compiled and submitted their 13F filings for the fourth quarter, which unveil their equity positions as of December 31. We went through these filings, fixed typos and other more significant errors and identified the changes in hedge fund positions. Our extensive review of these public filings is finally over, so this article is set to reveal the smart money sentiment towards TriCo Bancshares (NASDAQ:TCBK).

TriCo Bancshares (NASDAQ:TCBK) was in 10 hedge funds' portfolios at the end of the fourth quarter of 2018. TCBK has experienced a decrease in hedge fund sentiment lately. There were 11 hedge funds in our database with TCBK positions at the end of the previous quarter. Our calculations also showed that tcbk isn't among the 30 most popular stocks among hedge funds.

In the financial world there are a large number of tools investors have at their disposal to grade stocks. A pair of the most under-the-radar tools are hedge fund and insider trading indicators. We have shown that, historically, those who follow the top picks of the best fund managers can outperform the broader indices by a solid amount. Insider Monkey's flagship best performing hedge funds strategy returned 20.7% year to date (through March 12th) and outperformed the market even though it draws its stock picks among small-cap stocks. This strategy also outperformed the market by 32 percentage points since its inception (see the details here). That's why we believe hedge fund sentiment is a useful indicator that investors should pay attention to.

Matthew Lindenbaum Basswood Capital

We're going to take a glance at the key hedge fund action surrounding TriCo Bancshares (NASDAQ:TCBK).

What have hedge funds been doing with TriCo Bancshares (NASDAQ:TCBK)?

At the end of the fourth quarter, a total of 10 of the hedge funds tracked by Insider Monkey were bullish on this stock, a change of -9% from one quarter earlier. On the other hand, there were a total of 12 hedge funds with a bullish position in TCBK a year ago. With hedge funds' positions undergoing their usual ebb and flow, there exists a select group of noteworthy hedge fund managers who were boosting their stakes significantly (or already accumulated large positions).

No of Hedge Funds with TCBK Positions

Among these funds, Renaissance Technologies held the most valuable stake in TriCo Bancshares (NASDAQ:TCBK), which was worth $20.5 million at the end of the fourth quarter. On the second spot was Castine Capital Management which amassed $7.9 million worth of shares. Moreover, Basswood Capital, AQR Capital Management, and Millennium Management were also bullish on TriCo Bancshares (NASDAQ:TCBK), allocating a large percentage of their portfolios to this stock.

Due to the fact that TriCo Bancshares (NASDAQ:TCBK) has witnessed falling interest from the entirety of the hedge funds we track, logic holds that there lies a certain "tier" of hedgies that elected to cut their entire stakes in the third quarter. At the top of the heap, Thomas Bailard's Bailard Inc said goodbye to the largest investment of all the hedgies monitored by Insider Monkey, valued at about $0.7 million in stock, and Roger Ibbotson's Zebra Capital Management was right behind this move, as the fund cut about $0.3 million worth. These transactions are intriguing to say the least, as total hedge fund interest was cut by 1 funds in the third quarter.

Let's also examine hedge fund activity in other stocks - not necessarily in the same industry as TriCo Bancshares (NASDAQ:TCBK) but similarly valued. We will take a look at LGI Homes Inc (NASDAQ:LGIH), Internet Initiative Japan Inc. (NASDAQ:IIJI), Hyster-Yale Materials Handling Inc (NYSE:HY), and Luxoft Holding Inc (NYSE:LXFT). This group of stocks' market values resemble TCBK's market value.

[table] Ticker, No of HFs with positions, Total Value of HF Positions (x1000), Change in HF Position LGIH,12,68829,0 IIJI,2,5123,0 HY,9,37390,-1 LXFT,14,86247,1 Average,9.25,49397,0 [/table]

View table here if you experience formatting issues.

As you can see these stocks had an average of 9.25 hedge funds with bullish positions and the average amount invested in these stocks was $49 million. That figure was $39 million in TCBK's case. Luxoft Holding Inc (NYSE:LXFT) is the most popular stock in this table. On the other hand Internet Initiative Japan Inc. (NASDAQ:IIJI) is the least popular one with only 2 bullish hedge fund positions. TriCo Bancshares (NASDAQ:TCBK) is not the most popular stock in this group but hedge fund interest is still above average. This is a slightly positive signal but we'd rather spend our time researching stocks that hedge funds are piling on. Our calculations showed that top 15 most popular stocks) among hedge funds returned 24.2% through April 22nd and outperformed the S&P 500 ETF (SPY) by more than 7 percentage points. Unfortunately TCBK wasn't nearly as popular as these 15 stock and hedge funds that were betting on TCBK were disappointed as the stock returned 14.3% and underperformed the market. If you are interested in investing in large cap stocks with huge upside potential, you should check out the top 15 most popular stocks) among hedge funds as 13 of these stocks already outperformed the market this year.

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

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