In a week when investors were more than happy to bid farewell to the third quarter, which turned out to be the worst quarter since 2011, one thing remained a constant. Insider buying continues to swamp insider selling, and ever since the markets started to sell off hard in late August that has been the case.
We cover insider buying every week at 24/7 Wall St., and we like to remind our readers that while insider buying is usually a very positive sign, it is not in of itself a reason to run out and buy a stock. Sometimes insiders and 10% owners have stock purchase plans set up at intervals to add to their holdings. That aside, it still remains a positive indicator.
Cheniere Energy Inc. (NYSE: LNG) was the clear highlight of the week. This liquefied natural gas player had a very high-profile buyer step up to the plate more than once. Activist investor and Wall Street legend Carl Icahn bought a gigantic amount of the company’s stock. He purchased 2,042,928 shares at a price of $47.14 apiece. The total for the buy came to a massive $96.3 million. Not stopping there, Icahn purchased an additional 1,503,313 shares at $48.30. The total for second buy was a whopping $72.6 million.
Oddly enough, as Icahn was buying millions of shares of Cheniere Energy, the CEO of the company was selling. He parted with a total of 100,000 shares at between $46.25 and $50.42 per share. The total for the sale came to $4.8 million. It was also the only one major company that reported insider selling last week.
Cheniere shares ended trading on Friday at $50.50, and it is pretty easy to assume that Icahn’s high-profile purchase was viewed as very positive.
Here are some other companies that reported notable insider buying this past week.
Lands’ End Inc. (NASDAQ: LE) had a high-profile 10% owner buying more stock last week. Edward Lampert, who is becoming a regular member of the 24/7 Wall Street insider report, purchased 299,878 shares of the retailer at prices that ranged from $26.74 to $26.95. The total for the purchase came to an even $8 million. The shares were trading on Friday’s close at $267.03.
Sears Holdings Corp. (NASDAQ: SHLD) makes the report again, and so does Lampert, who is the CEO and the chairman of the iconic American retailer. He bought 233,655 shares of the stock at prices that ranged from $24.34 to $25.00. That cost him about $5.8 million. The stock ended the week at $24.80.
Aircastle Ltd. (NYSE: AYR) makes another appearance on our insider trading screens. Marubeni, a 10% owner, bought an additional 146,584 shares at between $20.02 and $20.07 per share. The total for the buy came to $2.9 million. Aircastle acquires, leases and sells commercial jet aircraft to airlines worldwide. The company also makes investments in various aviation assets, such as debt investments secured by commercial jet aircraft. Shares closed trading on Friday at $21.18, so a well-timed buy.
STAAR Surgical Co. (NASDAQ: STAA) also had a 10% owner of the company adding to a position this week. Broadwood Partners picked up 311,099 shares of the stock at prices that ranged from $6.87 to $7.14. The total for the purchase came to $2.2 million. The company designs, develops, manufactures and sells implantable lenses for the eye, as well as systems to deliver lenses into the eye. The stock was trading at $7.85 on Friday’ close, so another well-timed buy.
These companies also reported insider buying this week: Applied Materials Inc. (NASDAQ: AMAT), Darden Restaurants Inc. (NYSE: DRI), Intermolecular Inc. (NASDAQ: IMI), Joy Global Inc. (NYSE: JOY) and Vishay Precision Group Inc. (NYSE: VPG).
In what is becoming the proverbial streaming loop, the story is the same week after week. Insider buying continues to bury the sellers, and we see no end to this specific pattern until the market can mount a sizable rally.
With insider selling almost nil, that is also a very bullish sign, as top executives and 10% owners do not feel the time is right to sell stock, as they obviously think the share prices will be going higher and the market will rally. Many on Wall Street are predicting that for the fourth quarter.