Insider Buying Dominates First Full Week of Trading in 2015

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Investors saw huge swings in the market for the first week of trading, wild and woolly start to the new year. The steep sell-off at the start of the week certainly enticed some corporate executives and 10% shareholders to step up to the plate and add to their positions, as insider buying dominated our 24/7 Wall St. screens to kick off 2015. The few notable insider sales are noted at the end as well.

While many insiders have specific time periods when they can purchase company stock, institutional shareholders like hedge funds and mutual funds are free to purchase anytime they wish, as long as they file the required documents. With the U.S. equity markets still looking like one of the best places to invest in 2015, insiders got rolling early and often.

Here are this past week’s top insider buying trades.

Clear Channel Outdoor Holdings Inc. (NYSE: CCO) saw a huge buy this week, as 10% owner iHeartMedia picked up 2 million shares of the roadside billboard company’s stock. The company paid $10.20 per share, for a total purchase of $20.4 million. Clear Channel is an outdoor advertising company that owns or operates advertising display faces worldwide. The stock ended trading on Friday at $9.85, so maybe they should have scaled into the buy a touch.

Green Plains Inc. (NASDAQ: GPRE) also had a 10% owner add to current holdings this week. Tourbillon Capital bought 297,847 shares at $24.80 apiece. The total purchase came to $4 million. Green Plains produces, markets and distributes ethanol in the United States. The stock closed trading at $22.89 on Friday, so again a touch early perhaps.

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J.G. Wentworth Co. (NYSE: JGW) had a 10% owner come in and buy stock last week. While the purchaser was specifically not mentioned in the filing, a large block of 297,947 shares were scooped up, at prices that ranged wildly from $8.70 all the way up to $10.50. The total purchase came to $2.8 million. The company provides liquidity to customers by purchasing customer’s structured settlement payments, annuity payments, lottery winnings and other future payment streams, as well as provides pre-settlement funding. Shares ended the week at $9.31.

Vivus Inc. (NASDAQ: VVUS) also had a 10% owner make a large purchase this past week. Northtide Capital bought a 476,800 block of shares at prices that ranged from $3.03 to $3.05. The total purchase came to $1.5 million. Vivus is one of three biotech companies involved in the hyper-competitive obesity drug market. Shares were trading at $3.21 on Friday’s close.

Regional Management Corp. (NYSE: RM) was yet another company that saw a 10% owner add to a position. Second Curve Capital bought 40,000 additional shares at prices that ranged from $14.80 to $15.21. The total purchase came to about $600,000. Regional Management provides various loan products, primarily to customers with limited access to consumer credit from banks, thrifts, credit card companies and other traditional lenders. Shares closed trading on Friday at $15.57.

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Other companies that also saw insider buying this week include Sears Holdings Corp. (NASDAQ: SHLD), ModusLink Global Solutions Inc. (NASDAQ: MLNK), A.M. Castle & Co. (NYSE: CAS), OCI Partners L.P. (NYSE: OCIP) and Cardinal Financial Corp. (NASDAQ: CNFL).

Insider selling was very sparse this week, with only three notable stock sales hitting our screens: Vornado Realty Trust (NYSE: VNO), Xoma Corp. (NASDAQ: XOMA) and Keryx Biopharmaceuticals Inc. (NASDAQ: KERX). Note that Xoma and Keryx, both small cap biotech stocks, saw insider buys for the second week in a row.