Buffett and Icahn Continue Huge Insider Buying: Phillips 66, Herbalife, Advance Auto Parts, United Continental, Penske Automotive and More

In a week that reminded investors that it is indeed September, the insiders continued to buy shares of stock, and we are continuing to see some big Wall Street names adding to positions that have already become sizable. With volume picking up as traders return from the Labor Day holiday, it should be no surprise that insider volume picked up, as well as the liquidity that is sometimes missing during slow summer trading is also returning.

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 last week.

Phillips 66 (NYSE: PSX) had a big-time buyer on the desk once again this past week, and just like in all of 2016 the share count is huge. Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway, which is now a 10% owner of the company, was busy buying 82,361 shares of the energy manufacturing and logistics company at $77.86 per share. The total for the trade came to about $6 million. The stock closed the trading day on Friday at $77.86, after slipping more than 2% on the day.

Herbalife Ltd. (NYSE: HLF) had a Wall Street legend piling into more shares. Carl Icahn, a 10% owner upped the stakes in his battle with Bill Ackman over the direct marketing company and purchased an additional 306,846 shares of the stock at $60.39 apiece. The total for the trade came in at a gigantic $19 million. The stock closed last Friday at $61.08, so the timing looks solid.

Advance Auto Parts Inc. (NYSE: AAP) had a director of the company buying shares this past week. Starboard Value acquired a block of 70,000 shares of the stock at prices that ranged from $158.73 to $158.80. The total for the purchase was posted at $11 million. The share price ended last week at $152.86, after retreating more than 3% on Friday.

Penske Automotive Group Inc. (NYSE: PAG) had the top insider at the company buying shares yet again last week. The CEO, the legendary Roger Penske himself, who is also a 10% owner of the company, bought a whopping 225,00 shares at prices between $46.30 and $47.52. The total for the purchase was a large $11 million. The company operates retail automotive and commercial vehicle dealerships principally in the United States and Western Europe, and it distributes commercial vehicles, diesel engines, gas engines, power systems and related parts and services primarily in Australia and New Zealand. The stock closed last Friday at $47.09.

United Continental Holdings Inc. (NYSE: UAL) had the newly appointed chief financial officer at the company buying shares last week. Andrew Levy purchased 15,000 shares of the airline operator at $50.96 apiece. The total for the purchase was posted at $800,000. The stock closed the day on Friday at $52.45 so the timing of the purchase looks good.

These companies also reported insider buying last week: Abercrombie & Fitch Co. (NYSE: ANF), Outfront Media, Inc. (NYSE: OUT), Parker Drilling Co. (NYSE: PKD), Proto Labs Inc. (NYSE: PRLB) and Providence Services Corp. (NASDAQ: PRSC).

The buyers came in stronger last week than the sellers, on what was essentially a slower insider week than we saw in August. With the markets staying near all-time highs, and the usual September-October anxiety setting in, we may continue to see reduced volumes until after third-quarter earnings.

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