With oil plunging, and many of the top institutional portfolio managers starting to take profits and sell losers, the market volatility spiked this past week big-time. The VIX index, which measures volatility in the option market, had spiked over 20 for the first time since the big October sell-off. While it would be unusual from a historical perspective to have a gigantic correction in December, the market volatility has allowed many insiders an opportunity to add stock at better price points, especially in the beaten-down energy sector.
We cover insider buying each week at 24/7 Wall St., and as 2014 winds down yet another positive year for the markets, solid insider buying at this market levels signals very positive signs for investors looking to see continued gains in 2015.
Seattle Genetics Inc. (NASDAQ: SGEN) saw a massive insider purchase of a stock many Wall Street analysts are very bullish on. A director of the company bought a staggering 1.2 million shares of the biotech at prices that ranged from $32.90 to $34.40. The total tab for this giant block of stock was $42 million. Shareholders should be very thrilled to read this. The stock ended trading on Friday at $32.25.
Atlas Energy L.P. (NYSE: ATLS) saw a very famous 10% owner step in and buy a large block of the energy company. Leon Cooperman, the chairman and CEO of Omega Advisors, bought 455,224 shares of the company at prices that ranged from $29.00 to $30.50. Atlas is one of the many quality energy stocks that have been eviscerated in massive oil sell-off. Shares closed on Friday at $26.31.
RPC Inc. (NYSE: RES) saw two high-ranking insiders step up to the plate and buy stock this week. The chairman and the CEO together bought a total of 1.3 million shares at prices between $12.00 and $12.63, for a total purchase of $16.2 million. RPC provides a broad range of specialized oilfield services and equipment, primarily to independent and major oilfield companies engaged in the exploration, production and development of oil and gas properties. Shares ended the week at $11.86.
Diamond Offshore Drilling Inc. (NYSE: DO) was already having a tough year prior to the oil sell-off, as deepwater drillers have been under pressure since the spring. However a 10% owner in Loews Company and a director combined to buy a huge block of 291,205 shares of stock at $29.39 to $29.72, for a total ticket of $8.7 million. Timing looks good as the stock traded on Friday as high as $34.92.
Titan International Inc. (NYSE: TWI) had a director come in and buy a large block of 505,000 shares of the company stock. Prices for the purchase ranged from $10.40 to $10.60. The total buy came to a tidy $5.3 million. Titan International manufactures and sells wheels, tires and undercarriage systems and components for off-highway vehicles used in the agricultural, earth-moving/construction and consumer markets in the United States and internationally. Shares closed trading Friday at $9.76.
Other stocks that saw insider buying this week included: Prospect Capital Corp. (NASDAQ: PSEC), Clean Harbors, Inc. (NYSE: CLH), Spectrum Brands Holdings Inc. (NYSE: SPB), TJX Companies Inc. (NYSE: TJX) and Keurig Green Mountain Inc. (NASDAQ: GMCR).
Strong insider buying in December could bode well for investors hoping for a Santa Claus rally. Historically, that is often in the cards.