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Insider Buying Steady as Q1 Closes: Sears, Ford, Continental Resources, Fifth Street Finance and More

Lee Jackson

Investors surely got their money's worth of action so far in 2017, as we said goodbye to the first quarter on Friday. A wild election culminated with Donald Trump becoming president in January, and the markets continued a rally that started after the election. While March was marked with an increase in volatility, it appears that earnings for the first quarter should be solid. Insiders continued buying shares, especially at companies that either have traded off some or may have issues going forward.

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.

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

Troubled Sears Holdings Corp. (SHLD) again saw some insider buying this past week. The CEO and 10% owner Edward Lampert bought 525,936 shares of the stock at prices that ranged from $7.68 to $8.45. The total for that buy was set at $4 million. The stock closed Friday at $11.49, in a 52-week trading range of $5.50 to $19.12. The Wall Street consensus price target is just $4.00.

An iconic American car company saw some insider buying this week. Ford Motor Co. (NYSE: F) had the great-grandson of Henry Ford buying shares. William C. Ford acquired a total of 171,379 shares of the stock at $11.67 apiece. The total for the trade was set at $2 million. The stock closed Friday at $11.64. The 52-week range is $11.07 to $14.22, and the consensus price target is $13.18.

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Continental Resources Inc. (CLR) also had the man at the top buying stock last week. CEO Harold Hamm bought 41,998 shares of the independent oil and gas company at prices that ranged from $42.24 to $42.50 per share. The total for the purchase was $2 million. The shares closed Friday at $45.42, so it appears to be a well-timed buy. The 52-week range is $28.63 to $60.30, and the consensus price target is $60.17.

Last week, Fifth Street Finance Corp. (FSC) had a 10% owner adding to his position. Leonard Tannenbaum bought 655,850 shares at between $4.63 and $4.71 apiece. The total for the trade was posted at $3 million. The stock closed Friday at $4.62, in a 52-week range of $4.31 to $6.32. The consensus price target is $4.70.

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National General Holdings Corp. (NGHC) saw CEO Barry Karfunkel and an executive vice president both buying stock last week. The pair purchased a total of 74,978 shares insurance holding company. At prices that ranged from $22.64 to $23.01, apiece, the total for the trades was posted at $2 million. The stock closed last Friday at $23.76. The consensus price target of $27.75 compares with the 52-week trading range of $18.04 to $26.99.

Here are some other companies that reported insider buying last week: Ducommun Inc. (DCO), Lands' End Inc. (LE), Liberty Property Trust (LPT), McDonald's Corp. (MCD) and Visteon Corp. (VC).

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Furthermore, notable insider selling was seen in the likes of Costco, Ulta Beauty and Isle of Capri.

While the insider buying was surprisingly strong for the week, volumes are dropping as windows for insiders are starting to close in anticipation of first-quarter earnings releases. Next week may prove to be the beginning of a slow month.

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