At Holdings Channel, we have reviewed the latest batch of the 25 most recent 13F filings for the 12/31/2015 reporting period, and noticed that U.S. Bancorp (USB - Get Report) was held by 14 of these funds. When hedge fund managers appear to be thinking alike, we find it is a good idea to take a closer look.

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Before we proceed, it is important to point out that 13F filings do not tell the whole story, because these funds are only required to disclose their long positions with the SEC, but are not required to disclose their short positions. A fund making a bearish bet against a stock by shorting calls, for example, might also be long some amount of stock as they trade around their overall bearish position. This long component could show up in a 13F filing and everyone might assume the fund is bullish, but this tells only part of the story because the bearish/short side of the position is not seen.

Having given that caveat, we believe that looking at groups of 13F filings can be revealing, especially when comparing one holding period to another. Below, let's take a look at the change in USB positions, for this latest batch of 13F filers:

Fund New Position? Change In Share Count Change In Market Value ($ in 1000's)
Mandatum Life Insurance Co Ltd NEW +67,923 +$2,898
State of New Jersey Common Pension Fund D Existing -46,000 -$150
Bragg Financial Advisors Inc Existing +6,840 +$385
Advantus Capital Management Inc Existing +1,783 +$334
Courier Capital Corp Existing -299 +$12
Fort Washington Investment Advisors Inc. OH Existing -2,426,971 -$98,799
Coho Partners Ltd. Existing UNCH +$86
QCI Asset Management Inc. NY Existing UNCH +$1
Alerus Investment Advisors Corp Existing +532 +$125
Atlantic Trust Group LLC Existing +78,742 +$7,335
Cambridge Investment Research Advisors Inc. Existing -6,555 -$109
Palladium Partners LLC Existing -508 +$18
Hartline Investment Corp Existing -44 +$29
Mandatum Life Insurance Co Ltd NEW +67,923 +$2,898
Aggregate Change: -2,256,634 -$84,937

In terms of shares owned, we count 4 of the above funds having increased existing USB positions from 09/30/2015 to 12/31/2015, with 6 having decreased their positions and 2 new positions.

Looking beyond these particular funds in this one batch of most recent filers, we tallied up the USB share count in the aggregate among all of the funds which held USB at the 12/31/2015 reporting period (out of the 1,788 we looked at in total). We then compared that number to the sum total of USB shares those same funds held back at the 09/30/2015 period, to see how the aggregate share count held by hedge funds has moved for USB. We found that between these two periods, funds increased their holdings by 4,978,757 shares in the aggregate, from 300,439,115 up to 305,417,872 for a share count increase of approximately 1.66%. The overall top three funds holding USB on 12/31/2015 were:

Fund Shares of USB Held
1. Vanguard Group Inc. 92,732,849
2. Wells Fargo & Company MN 11,000,010
3. Neuberger Berman Group LLC 7,601,125
4-10 Find out the full Top 10 Hedge Funds Holding USB

We'll keep following the latest 13F filings by hedge fund managers and bring you interesting stories derived from a look at the aggregate information across groups of managers between filing periods. While looking at individual 13F filings can sometimes be misleading due to the long-only nature of the information, the sum total across groups of funds from one reporting period to another can be a lot more revealing and relevant, providing interesting stock ideas that merit further research, like U.S. Bancorp ( USB - Get Report).