- Insider buying can be an encouraging signal for potential investors.
- An activist investor took the next step in acquiring his target.
- Also, a couple of return buyers stepped up to the buy windows last week.
Conventional wisdom says insiders and 10 percent owners really only buy shares of a company for one reason -- they believe the stock price will rise and they want to profit from it. So insider buying can be an encouraging signal for potential investors, particularly with markets near all-time highs.
Here's a look at a few notable insider purchases reported in the past week.
International Flavors & Fragrances
International Flavors & Fragrances Inc (NYSE: IFF) saw beneficial owner Winder Investment add to its stake again. At prices that ranged from $127.87 to $128.7, the total of 60,000 shares reportedly acquired in the past week cost the Singapore-based holding company more than $7.68 million. Note that Winder was buying shares throughout May and early June.
IFF shares rose about 2 percent over the past week, most of that gain before Winder's purchase. The stock ended the week at $128.26, within Winder's purchase price range. The 52-week low of $122.11 from back in May compares with the 52-week high of $157.40 that was reached early this year. The consensus price target, last seen at $142.39, is less than that high.
Energen Corporation (NYSE: EGN) saw renowned activist investor Carl Icahn increase his stake again this past week. The more than 71,000 shares of this Alabama-based energy company acquired, at a per-share price of $74.56 to $77.30, cost him over $5.39 million. That brought his stake to nearly 5.52 million shares, or about 7.7 percent.
Icahn has previously stated an interest in acquiring Energen, which he considers undervalued. Shares retreated more than 2 percent, but also hit a new 52-week high of $75.31 in the past week. The stock was last seen trading at $74.46 a share, a bit below Icahn's purchase price range. The analyst's mean price target is $79.20.
An Esperion Therapeutics Inc (NASDAQ: ESPR) beneficial owner added to its stake again. At prices that averaged $41.77, the 50,000 shares reportedly acquired in the past week cost return buyer Biotech Target almost $2.09 million. The stake was reported to be up to more than 3.23 million shares.
Options traders appear to expect another big move in Esperion, and one analyst downgraded the stock last week. Shares pulled back more than 4 percent in the past week and closed Friday at $42.35 apiece, still above the purchase price mentioned above. The share price has traded as high as $82.68 in the past year, but the consensus price target is just $72.23.
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