As the markets continue to stumble through May, and the volatility appears to be creeping up some, the end of the first-quarter earnings parade has opened the door for insiders to make transactions, and our 24/7 screens are seeing increasing volume. Despite the up and down moves of the past month or so, the overall indexes are still perched not all that far from the highs printed last summer and fall.
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 remains a positive indicator.
Here are some of the companies that reported notable insider buying this past week:
Bank of the Ozarks Inc. (NASDAQ: OZRK) had two directors at the company buying shares this past week. The pair purchased a total of 122,900 shares at prices that ranged from $36.86 to $37.78. The total for the buys came in right at $5 million. The stock has been volatile, as a high-profile short seller recently had negative comments on the company at the recent Ira Sohn Conference. Bank of the Ozarks operates as a bank holding company for Bank of the Ozarks, which provides various banking products and services. The stock closed Friday at $36.36.
Western Refining Inc. (NYSE: WNR) saw a very significant purchase by its chief executive. CEO Jeff Stevens bought 150,000 shares of the stock at prices that ranged from $20.95 to $22.75 apiece. That sizable trade cost him a total of $3 million. Western has sold off over 50% since the end of last year. Shares closed trading Friday at $21.72.
Summit Midstream Partners L.P. (NYSE: SMLP) hits our screens once again, as it has so many times this year. A director at Energy Capital Partners bought a total of 59,807 shares at prices between $20.36 and $20.81. 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 $21.55.
Weatherford International PLC (NYSE: WFT) is another energy company that saw insider buying this past week. A director bought 100,000 shares of the stock at $5.99 per share. The total cost for the trade was posted at $600,000. This multinational oilfield service company offers equipment and services used in the drilling, evaluation, completion, production and intervention of oil and natural gas wells. The stock was hit hard recently, so this may be a good sign for shareholders. The stock closed Friday at $5.64.
Iconix Brand Group Inc. (NASDAQ: ICON) had the executive chairman of the company buying shares last week. F. Peter Cuneo bought a total of 50,000 shares at $7.99 apiece. The total for the trade came in right at $400,000. Iconix is a brand management company that owns a portfolio of consumer brands across women’s, men’s, entertainment and home industries in the United States and internationally. The stock closed Friday at $7.62.
These companies also reported insider buying last week: B&G Foods Inc. (NYSE: BGS), Exelixis Inc. (NASDAQ: EXEL), Flex Pharma Inc. (NASDAQ: FLKS), Intrepid Potash Inc. (NYSE: IPI) and OvaScience Inc. (NASDAQ: OVAS).
Clearly we are starting to see more buying and selling volume as the first-quarter restriction windows start to open. Look for even more as we roll into the summer months.