Top Insider Trades: EMC Buys VMware, Musk Buys SolarCity

By Jonathan Moreland  DEC 31, 2012 11:10 AM

Plus: Google and the Ralph Lauren family sell again


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 Friday, December 28, 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 data storage products and services corporation EMC (NYSE:EMC) once again bought stock, $6,399,401 worth, in cloud infrastructure and virtualization company VMware (NYSE:VMW). This was EMC's sixth purchase in not even three weeks. Elon Musk, the founder of PayPal and SpaceX (read more about SpaceX and its potential mission to Mars here), bought $989,636 worth of stock in the solar hardware and services company SolarCity (NASDAQ:SCTY), which he helped to found and which had a very successful IPO on December 13. The San Francisco-based investment firm Meson Capital bought $622,671 worth of stock in oil and gas company Lucas Energy (NYSEAMEX:LEI). Dharmesh Mehta, Vice President of oil and gas company Weatherford International (NYSE:WFT), bought $423,600 worth of company stock, following a purchase for $318,900 last Thursday.

In sales, Eric Schmidt, chairman and director of Google (NASDAQ:GOOG), sold $55,049,286 worth of company stock. This follows sales last Thursday and Friday, and more generally a heavy insider sales December for Google. The Lauren Family yet again sold Ralph Lauren (NYSE:RL) stock, today $14,707,239 worth. The family also had a heavy holiday sales season. Scott Cook, founder and chairman of tax preparation company Intuit (NASDAQ:INTU), sold $12,645,576 worth of company stock. Intuit produces the popular tax software Quicken. Mark Parker, the CEO of Nike (NYSE:NKE), sold $3,717,652 worth of company stock. 

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.