Bill Gates and Warren Buffet Purchases Highlight Massive Insider Buying: AutoNation, Phillips 66, Tempur Sealy, Wynn and More

If there was ever a week investors were happy to see end, it was this past week. The market was hammered back to the lows printed in January, and there seemed to be a smell of desperation in the air. Treasury yields plummeted to multiyear lows and gold traded over $1,200 an ounce as worried investors sought safety. One very positive sign was insiders, and 10% owners made gigantic buys this past week, taking advantage of very weak stock prices to initiate or add to positions.

We cover insider buying every week at 24/7 Wall St., and we like to remind 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 insider buying this past week.

AutoNation Inc. (NYSE: AN) saw Cascade Investment, the investment company of billionaire and Microsoft founder Bill Gates, making huge purchases of the stock. Our data showed a total of four separate buys over this past week, adding a total of 2,212,496 shares at prices that ranged from $43.88 to $46.33 per share. The total for these gigantic purchases came to a mind-numbing $100,700,000 and makes Cascade the largest individual shareholder. AutoNation, through its subsidiaries, provides new and used automotive and spare parts retail services in the United States. Shares were buoyed during a very bad week on the news of Cascade purchases, and they traded on Friday’s close at $48.16. So it appears to be a well-timed set of buys.

Phillips 66 (NYSE: PSX) had a big time buyer on the desk again this past week. Just like every week this year so far, the share count is huge. Warren Buffet’s Berkshire Hathaway scooped up 486,804 shares at prices between $74.39 and $78.59 apiece. That totaled some $37 million. Phillips 66 operates as an energy manufacturing and logistics company. The stock closed on Friday at $75.20.

Tempur Sealy International Inc. (NYSE: TPX) had directors of the company, including a 10% owner Rehan Jaffer, acquiring shares in a big way last week. The group bought a total of 925,000 shares at prices that ranged from $52.19 to $54.53. The total for the purchases came to a huge $49 million. The company and its subsidiaries develop, manufacture, market and distribute bedding products worldwide, including mattresses, foundations and adjustable bases, as well as pillows and other accessories. It offers its products under the TEMPUR, Tempur-Pedic, Sealy, Sealy Posturepedic, Optimum and Stearns & Foster brand names. The shares ended the week at $54.13.

Wynn Resorts Ltd. (NASDAQ: WYNN) saw the man at the top buying shares this past week. Las Vegas legend and CEO Steve Wynn bought a total of 258,523 shares of the stock at prices between $58.13 and $58.37. That cost him an even $15 million. The company and its subsidiaries, develop, own and operate destination casino resorts in Macau and Las Vegas. The shares were trading on Friday’s close at $69.145, up almost 16% after posting an earnings beat, so the timing looks very good.

Endurance Specialty Holdings Ltd. (NYSE: ENH) had its CEO making sizable purchases last week. John Charman bought a total of 98,320 shares at $59.73 apiece. The total for the purchase came to $5.8 million. Later in the week, he bought an additional 106,940 shares at $61.87, and this trade totaled $7 million. The company underwrites specialty lines of personal and commercial property and casualty insurance and reinsurance worldwide. The stock ended Friday at $61.22 a share.

These companies also reported notable insider buying over the last week: Barnes & Noble Inc. (NYSE: BKS), CIT Group Inc. (NYSE: CIT), Glu Mobile Inc. (NASDAQ: GLUU), Plains All American Pipeline L.P. (NYSE: PAA) and Taylor Morrison Home Corp. (NYSE: TMHC).

For the sixth week running this year, insider buying continued to swamp the almost nonexistent insider selling. While the market action since the start of the year has been very unsettling, the mere fact that insiders are jumping on the lower prices of their companies is a significant and very positive sign.

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