Top Insider Trades: A Big Sale at Google and a Purchase at SandRidge Energy

By Jonathan Moreland  DEC 28, 2012 1:55 PM

Plus, sales at Continental Resources and Oasis Petroleum.


In a victory for common sense, the trading behavior of company executives, directors, and large shareholders in the stocks of firms they're registered "insiders" at have been proven profitable to monitor by both academic studies and (more importantly) the experience of your fellow professional investors.

Below are lists of the top 10 mainly open-market insider purchases and sales filed at the Securities and Exchange Commission Thursday, December 27, 2012, as ranked by dollar value.

Please note, however, that these are factual lists, not buy and sell recommendations. Dollar value is only one metric to assess the importance of an insider transaction, and, frankly, often not even the most important metric that determines if an insider transaction is significant.

In purchases, the Toronto-based holding company Fairfax Financial (PINK:FRFHF) bought $30,812,060 worth of stock in SandRidge Energy (NYSE:SD). SandRidge is an oil exploration and production company based in Oklahoma. This follows yesterday's news that the hedge fund TPG-Axon Capital Management, which owns 7% of SandRidge through stocks, was calling for the resignation of SandRidge's board due to an mounting debt, reckless spending, and poor business strategy. Sheikh Abdullah bin Khalifa Al Thani, the son of the eighth Emir of Qatar and former Prime Minister of Qatar, and John Doerr, the influential venture capitalist and a director of Google (NASDAQ:GOOG), both bought stock in renewable energy company Amyris (NASDAQ:AMRS), $9,999,998 and $4,999,999, respectively. Dr. Phillip Frost, CEO and chairman of Opko Health (NYSE:OPK), bought $397,470 of stock in the pharmaceutical and diagnostics company. This follows several purchases from last week and earlier this week.

In sales, chairman and director of Google Eric E Schmidt sold $35,421,628 worth of company stock. This follows yesterday's sales by Schmidt and director John Doerr, who was also on today's purchase list. Jeff Hume, Vice Chairman of Strategic Growth for Continental Resources (NYSE:CLR), sold $4,565,662 worth of stock in the petroleum liquids producer. Roy Mace, Vice President and Chief Accounting Officer of exploration and production company Oasis Petroleum (NYSE:OAS), sold $1,861,200 worth of company stock. Perry  Wallack, CFO of Cornerstone OnDemand (NASDAQ:CSOD), sold $1,437,599 worth of company stock. Cornerstone provides Internet cloud-based talent management and software solutions.

At, we find new investment ideas just about every day using these and more intricate insider screens to determine where we should focus our subsequent fundamental and technical analysis. And while stocks don't (or shouldn't) move up or down based on insider activity alone, insiders tend to be good indicators of when real stock-moving events like earnings surprises, corporate actions, and new products may be in the offing.

Source: | Key to Insider Title and Trans Type Codes

Source: | Key to Insider Title and Trans Type Codes

Editor's note: Jonathan Moreland is the founder of Insider Insights and author of "Profit From Legal Insider Trading."
No positions in stocks mentioned.