Despite Record Market Highs, Insider Buying Jumps: Walgreens, Arconic, Qualcomm, Enterprise Products Partners and More

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Despite a market that once again hit record highs on all three of the major indexes, insider buying returned this week after an almost month-long hiatus, and it returned in pretty solid fashion. We have noted over the past few weeks light insider buying, and much of that may have been attributed to the reporting of fourth-quarter earnings. It’s looking like the windows that bar insiders from making transactions during earnings season have opened fast last week.

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.

The co-chief operating officer at Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc. (NASDAQ: WBA) was a big buyer of shares of the drug store giant last week. Ms. Ornella Barra bought a total of 124,000 shares of the stock at prices that ranged from $80.42 to $81.50 apiece. The total for the buy was posted at a solid $10 million. The stock traded on Friday at $83.31, so the timing looks good. The 52-week trading range for the shares is $75.74 to $88.00, and the Wall Street consensus price target is $94.55.

Arconic Inc. (NYSE: ARNC) had a 10% owner, Elliott International, buying shares for the third week in a row. The company bought stock four times last week for a total of 425,000 shares at prices that ranged from $25.55 to $26.86 per share. The total for the buys was posted at $11 million. Shares of this maker of engineered products for aerospace and other markets closed last Friday at $29.62, so a well-timed series of purchases. The 52-week range is $15.99 to $29.85, and the consensus price target is $26.

Worried shareholders may be pleased to know that an executive vice president was buying Qualcomm Inc. (NASDAQ: QCOM) shares last week. That executive purchased a total of 18,815 shares at prices that ranged from $53.11 to $53.15. On Friday, the shares dropped to $52.93 but closed at $54.00, so hopefully this has bottomed. The 52-week trading range is $43.08 to $71.62, and the consensus price target is $65.53.

One of the largest energy master limited partnerships (MLPs) reported insider buying last week. A director at Enterprise Products Partners L.P. (NYSE: EPD) picked up some 33,000 shares at between $28.60 and $28.68 apiece. The total for the purchase was right at $1 million. The shares ended last week at $28.69, in a 52-week range of $19.76 to $30.25. The consensus price target is $32.65.

Murphy’s USA Inc. (NYSE: MUSA) saw a director and a senior vice president buying some stock last week. The pair purchased a total of 16,000 shares at prices that ranged from $65.39 to $66.48. The total for the combined buys was posted at $1 million. Shares of the convenience store operator closed last Friday at $66.13. The consensus price target is $77.00, and the 52-week range is $56.92 to $80.44.

These companies also reported insider buying last week: Brandywine Realty Trust Inc. (NYSE: BDN), Dominion Resources Inc. (NYSE: D), Mattel Inc. (NYSE: MAT), Newell Brands Inc. (NYSE; NWL) and Tuesday Morning Corp. (NASDAQ: TUES).

Also note that there were huge insider sales at several technology giants last week.

While it is clearly positive to see insiders buying shares, it should be noted that most of these companies are trading well below 52-week highs, and clearly the insiders there see value. Caution is still advised as the market has become very pricey.