Insider Buying Steady as Earnings Avalanche Begins: Yum Brands, Box and More

In yet another wild week, the markets showed a lot more strength as the third-quarter earnings started to hit the tape fast and furious. With many analysts expecting the second straight quarter of year-over-year earnings to drop, anxious investors have been watching releases closely to see how their holdings have fared. While insider buying was steady, the typical earnings slowdown is in place as windows for insiders to buy and sell are closing.

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.

Here are some of the companies that reported notable insider buying this past week.

Amtech Systems Inc. (NASDAQ: ASYS) had a 10% owner of the company buying shares last week. Piton Capital Partners bought 305,000 shares at prices that fell between $4.89 and $5.00. The total for the purchase came to $1.5 million. The company designs, assembles, sells and installs capital equipment and related consumables used in the manufacture of wafers, primarily for the solar and semiconductor industries worldwide. The stock closed trading on Friday at $5.25.

Alimera Sciences Inc. (NASDAQ: ALIM) is another company that had a 10% owner adding to holdings this past week. Deerfield Management bought an additional 321,785 shares of the company at prices that ranged from $2.10 to $2.61. The total for the purchase came to $780,000. The company engages in the research, development and commercialization of prescription ophthalmic pharmaceuticals in the United States and internationally. The stock was trading on Friday’s close at $2.86, so the timing looks good.

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Yum! Brands Inc. (NYSE: YUM) had a rough week due to poor results in China, and somebody right at the top took advantage. The executive chairman at the fast-food giant bought a total of 8,170 shares of the stock at $77.97 apiece. That cost him $637,000. The company operates quick-service restaurants, including Pizza Hut. The shares ended trading on Friday at $72.16, so perhaps a little early on the purchase. Inc. (NASDAQ: SPRT) is another company that had a 10% owner adding to a position. BLR Partners bought a whopping 521,739 shares of the stock for $1.20 to $1.21 per share. The total for the purchase came to $627,000. The company provides cloud-based software and services in North America. Its Nexus, a cloud-based software-as-a-service solution, provides automation and analytics for companies to resolve technology issues and optimize support interactions with their customers. The stock ended the week at $1.23.

Box Inc.‘s (NASDAQ: BOX) CEO and a director were buying shares. The pair bought 30,000 shares between them at prices between $12.14 and $12.35 per share. The total for the buys came to $369,000. The company had a high-profile IPO back in January and has sputtered since going public. Box provides a cloud-based enterprise content collaboration platform that enables organizations of various sizes to access, store, share and manage content and information. The shares were changing hands at $13.62 as Friday trading concluded, so well-timed buys.

These companies also reported insider buying last week: Opko Health Inc. (NYSE: OPK) and Spark Therapeutics Inc. (NASDAQ: ONCE).

With the earnings avalanche getting in full swing last week, and really picking up steam this week, the insider trading will slow considerably. As we have noted since late August, insiders have taken advantage of the late summer/early fall sell-offs to add to positions, and that’s a very bullish sign.

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