Gigantic Airline Purchase Highlights Insider Buying: United Continental, Mattress Firm, Summit Midstream and More

On a crazy earnings week when the market roller-coaster returned, and a warning from Carl Icahn raised some eyebrows, insider buying firmed some. Much of April has been plagued by very slow insider transactions, as the silent period has closed windows for executives and institutional holders to buy and sell shares. That window is starting to open and we saw some massive buys this week.

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 notable insider buying this past week.

United Continental Holdings Inc. (NYSE: UAL) has finally resolved some issues with activist investors and the buying was heavy this week. A director at the firm Par Investments bought a massive 1,905,000 shares of the stock at prices between $50.76 and $54.04 a share. The total for the huge purchase came to a stunning $100 million. In addition, the chief executive officer purchased 19,800 shares at $50.53, at a cost of just over $1 million. Also buying shares were the chief operating officer, chief financial officer, three directors and an executive vice president, who bought 22,000 shares at prices that ranged from $48.38 to $49.90. The total for that buy came in at $1 million. And it appears to be better timed as shares closed on Friday at $45.83.

Mattress Firm Holding Corp. (NASDAQ: MFRM) hits our screens again, and the same company continues to add shares to its position. Berkshire Partners, which is a 10% owner of the company, bought an additional 165,000 shares at prices between $41.08 and $41.50. The total for this purchase came in right at $7 million. The stock closed Friday at $39.02, so the timing again looks early, but the firm has been scale buying stock for weeks now.

Summit Midstream Partners L.P.

(NYSE: SMLP) hits our screens once again as well, like it did so many times during the first quarter. A director at Energy Capital Partners bought a total of 54,633 shares of the stock at prices that ranged from $19.80 to $18.20.13. The total for the buy was posted at $1 million. 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 $21.15.

Acacia Research Corp. (NASDAQ: ACTG) had the CEO of the company, Marvin Key, and a director scooping up shares this week. The pair bought a total of 90,000 shares of the stock at prices between $4.13 and $4.15. The total for the trade came in at $400,000. The company invests in, develops, licenses and enforces patented technologies in the United States. The stock closed Friday at $4.82, so the timing looks solid.

Angie’s List Inc. (NASDAQ: ANGI) had a director at the company purchasing stock this week. That director bought a block of 12,000 shares at $8.27 apiece. The total for the trade came in at $100,000. Angie’s List operates a local services marketplace and consumer review site that allows consumers to research, shop for and purchase local services for home, health and automotive service needs, as well as to rate and review service providers in 253 markets in the United States. The stock closed Friday at $8.75, so another well-timed purchase, it appears.

While volume was still low due to earnings, the trades were big and newsworthy to some degree. As May begins, activity should start to pick up again soon.

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