Energy Stocks Highlight Slow Earnings Season Insider Buying: Summit Midstream, Western Refining Logistics, Monsanto and More

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Regular 24/7 Wall St. readers know that earnings season typically slows the rate of insider activity in a big way. Corporations go into what is called the silent period, before, during and sometimes after earnings are reported. This is the time when windows for insiders to transact shares are closed so there is no semblance of impropriety. Typically this lasts early into the month following the reporting.

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 last week.

Summit Midstream Partners L.P. (NYSE: SMLP) hits our screens once again, as it did so many times during the first quarter. A director at the company, Energy Capital Partners, bought a total of 59,974 shares of the stock at prices that ranged from $18.01 to $18.37. The company focuses on owning, developing and operating midstream energy infrastructure assets, primarily shale formations in North America. Insiders at all levels of the company have been buying this stock. The shares closed Friday at $20.11.

Western Refining Logistics L.P. (NYSE: WNRL) had the man at the top buying shares this past week. CEO Jeff Stevens picked up a block of 31,800 shares of the company at $24.36 apiece. The total for the buy came in at some $800,000. The company engages in the ownership, acquisition, development and operation of terminals, storage tanks, pipelines and other logistics assets in the southwestern United States. The stock closed Friday at $24.82, so the timing looks solid.

Monsanto Co.

(NYSE: MON) saw a director at the company buying shares this past week. That director purchased a total of 3,500 shares of the stock at a per-share price of $87.25. The total for the purchase came to $400,000. The company provides agricultural products for farmers worldwide. It operates in two segments: Seeds and Genomics, and Agricultural Productivity. The shares closed Friday at $94.08, so a well-timed trade indeed.

Inovio Pharmaceuticals Inc. (NASDAQ: INO) also had a director at the company in a buying mood last week. That director purchased 68,400 shares at $9.52 per share. The total for the purchase came in right at $700,000. This a clinical stage biopharmaceutical company develops active DNA immunotherapies and vaccines in combination with proprietary electroporation delivery devices to prevent and treat cancers and infectious diseases. The shares closed trading on Friday at $10.33, so again the timing looks solid.

Ryman Hospitality Properties Inc.‘s (NYSE: RHP) chief executive officer purchased 7,400 shares of the stock last week. At $52.53 per share, that cost Colin Reed some $400,000. The company owns and operates hotels in the United States. Its network of meetings-focused resorts include the Gaylord Opryland Resort and Convention Center in Nashville; the Gaylord Palms Resort and Convention Center in Kissimmee, Fla.; the Gaylord Texan Resort and Convention Center in Grapevine, Texas; and the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center in Prince George’s County, Md. The shares ended the week at $50.34, so perhaps a bit early.

These companies also reported insider buying this past week: aTyr Pharma Inc. (NASDAQ: LIFE), Bank of the Ozarks Inc. (NASDAQ: OZRK) and Nymox Pharmaceutical Corp. (NASDAQ: NYMX).

Only three companies in our 24/7 research database reported notable insider selling this past week: Delta Air Lines Inc. (NYSE: DAL), Cavco Industries Inc. (NASDAQ: CVCO) and Sonic Corp. (NASDAQ: SONC).

This is the proverbial calm before the storm. We could see another few weeks of slow insider transactions as the first-quarter earnings continue to roll along. One thing’s for sure, they will be back in full force next month.