Some Insiders Still Buying Despite Markets Near Highs: JC Penney, Western Refining, Opko Health, Advance Auto Parts and More

As the major U.S. markets continue to linger near all-time highs, some insider buyers were still out gobbling up stock this past week. It is a bullish sign for the markets to see insiders adding shares at these levels, especially in the traditionally slow month of August.

We cover insider buying each 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 an overall positive indicator.

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

Penske Automotive

Last week, Penske Automotive Group Inc. (NYSE: PAG) had the man at the top adding shares once again. The chief executive officer bought 100,000 shares of the stock at $42.28 apiece. The total for that purchase came to $4.22 million, and it was the most recent of several share block purchases this month.

Penske posted better-than-expected quarterly results earlier this month, and the stock has been on a tear, up more than 24% in the past month, and closed trading on Friday at $44.35, so the timing of the buy looks good here.

Western Refining

The CEO of Western Refining Inc. (NYSE: WNR) also purchased some shares this past week. In two blocks he bought a total of 100,000 shares of the stock at prices that ranged from $23.00 to 23.30 per share. Altogether that cost him more than $2.32 million and lifted his stake to more than 3.5 million shares.

This El Paso-based refiner also reported better-than-expect results earlier in August, and it popped up on our insider buying screens back in May and June. Its shares closed on Friday at $24.03. Here too the timing seems fortunate.

Advance Auto Parts

Specialty retailer Advance Auto Parts Inc. (NYSE: AAP) saw two insiders make notable buys last week. The chief executive officer and a member of the board together purchased more than 6,700 shares of the stock at between $159.56 and $160.28 apiece. The total for the purchases came to a little more than $1 million.

In this case, the earnings report released this month was not so rosy, though here too the company showed up on our insider buying screens in June. Note that the shares closed trading on Friday at $156.83.

J.C. Penney

J.C. Penney Co. Inc. (NYSE: JCP) also saw the man at the top step up to the buy window this past week. The chairman and CEO added 50,000 shares of this department store operator to his stake of more than 2.5 million shares. At $9.92 per share, that cost him almost $496,000.

This Texas-based company was one of the struggling retailers 24/7 Wall St. suggested might need to merge in order to survive. Its stock closed trading on Friday at $9.89 a share.

Opko Health

For well more than a year, the board chair and CEO of Opko Health Inc. (NASDAQ: OPK) has been frequently buying batches of shares. Last week, he added more than 104,000 shares of the stock to his stake, which is now well over 160 million shares. At a share prices between $9.06 and $9.76, the total for these latest purchases was more than $968,000.

This Miami-based biotech company has one of the most shorted stocks on the Nasdaq. After falling 7% last week, its shares closed trading on Friday at $9.12.

And Others

These companies also reported insider buying last week: Buckeye Partners L.P. (NYSE: BPL), DDR Corp. (NYSE: DDR), DeVry Education Group Inc. (NYSE: DV) and Flowers Foods Inc. (NYSE: FLO).

Insider buying at the top of the market is an extremely bullish sign. While we could have some consolidation over the next couple of months, it’s pretty clear that top executives at their respective companies are very positive and buying shares. That is news that is good for all investors.

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