Insider Buying Stays Solid as Market Races Toward Record Highs

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The stock market continues to act like an aging prize-fighter, one that will not give up despite all the haymakers landed. With conflicting economic data, rising job layoffs from the plunge in oil and consumers not yet spending all of that newfound money from gasoline savings, the market still is bullying its way higher after a volatile January and February. In keeping with the bullish tone, insiders continue buying stock even as the markets continued higher.

We cover insider buying every week here at 24/7 Wall Street, and the numbers continue to be bullish for equity investors. While some of the buying has been in the hammered oil sector, other insiders and 10% owners have continued to add to positions in sectors across the board.

Here are this past week’s companies in which insiders were buying stock.

Atlas Energy L.P. (NYSE: ATLS) hits our screens yet again as legendary Wall Street investor Leon Cooperman continues to add to his position. He bought an additional block of 400,000 shares this past week, at prices that ranged from $30.10 to $30.50. The total buy came to $12.1 million. Atlas shares closed trading on Friday at $30.17.

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ZIOPHARM Oncology Inc. (NASDAQ: ZIOP) is a small cap biotech that saw some strong buying this week. Intrexon, a 10% owner, bought an additional 1.44 million shares at $8.75 apiece. The total for the purchase came to $12.6 million. ZIOPHARM is employing novel gene expression and control technology to deliver DNA for the treatment of cancer. Its technology platform employs Intrexon’s RheoSwitch Therapeutic System technology. Shares were trading at $9.64 at Friday’s close, so a timely buy for sure.

Fifth Street Finance Corp. (NYSE: FSC) shares were hammered last week after poor earnings, and a director took advantage of the sell-off. The company cut the dividend paid to shareholders and the reaction was fast. Leonard Tannenbaum came in and bought a whopping 1.12 million shares of the stock at prices between $6.83 and $7.03. The total came to $7.8 million. Shares ended the week at $7.23, so a well-timed buy, and a bullish statement from a director to current shareholders.

Rentrak Corp. (NASDAQ: RENT) is another company that saw a 10% owner step in this past week and add to holdings. WPP Group bought 128,195 shares at $54.80 apiece. The total buy came to a tidy $7 million. Rentrak operates as a media measurement and information company, serving the entertainment, television, video and advertising industries worldwide. The stock ended trading on Friday at $58.90, so another timely purchase.

Gilead Sciences Inc. (NASDAQ: GILD) is a top large-cap biotech that has seen some wicked volatility recently. A director at the company took advantage of the recent downdraft in the stock and bought 10,000 shares at $99.92 each. The buy came in right at $1 million. The stock closed trading Friday at $101.90.

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These companies also saw some insider buying this past week: Carbo Ceramics Inc. (NYSE: CRR), Ryder Systems Inc. (NYSE: R), SunCoke Energy Inc. (NYSE: SXC), W.R. Grace & Co. (NYSE: GRA) and Yahoo! Inc. (NASDAQ: YHOO).

As we have commented in the past, consistent insider buying in a secular bull market is a very good sign for equity investors. We are watching the data closely, looking for any downturns in the purchasing.