Top Insider Trades: Sales at KKR Financial and BlackRock Kelso Capital

By Jonathan Moreland  JAN 08, 2013 1:04 PM

Plus, a purchase at Endeavor International and Opko Health.


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 Monday, Jan. 7, 2013 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.

The hedge fund Steelhead Partners, which last year bought a 12% stake in oil and gas exploration and production company Endeavor International Corporation (NYSE:END), bought $1,836,447 worth of company stock. Dr. Phillip Frost, the Chairman and CEO of pharmaceutical and diagnostics company Opko Health (NYSE:OPK), bought $206,385 of company stock. This is his third purchase of the new year and his 24th since the beginning of December 2012. Gregory Hannon, a Director of Kingsway Financial Services (NYSE:KFS), bought $59,001 worth of stock. Kingsway, based in Toronto, is a holding company whose subsidiaries offer personal and commercial lines of property and casualty insurance to Canadian and American markets.

Leon Cooperman, of Omega Advisors, sold $5,352,925 worth of stock in real estate investment trust KKR Financial (NYSE:KFN). The company invests in residential and commercial mortgage loans, mortgage-backed securities, corporate loans, debt securities, asset-backed securities, and equity securities. Hagedorn Partnership sold $4,566,600 worth of stock in Scotts Miracle Gro Co. (NYSE:SMG). James Hagedorn, Chairman and CEO of Scotts Miracle Gro, is a general partner of Hagedorn Partnership, along with his brother Paul and sister Katherine. The Virginia Retirement System sold $2,237,029 worth of stock in BlackRock Kelso Capital Corp. (NASDAQ:BKCC). The company, a joint venture between private equity firm Kelso & Co. and the world's largest asset manager BlackRock (NYSE:BLK), functions as a publicly traded equity company (aka a Business Development Company).

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.