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Top Insider Trades: A Big Purchase at MannKind and a Sale at Ralcorp


Plus, EMC buys more VMware, and a sale at Comcast.

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 21, 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 a big insider purchase, Alfred Mann, chairman and CEO of pharmaceutical company MannKind Corporation (NASDAQ:MNKD), bought $103,600,000 worth of company stock. MannKind focuses on the development and commercialization of therapeutic products for patients with cancer and diabetes. The $7 billion hedge fund Glenview Capital bought $45,621,036 worth of stock in Health Management Associates (NYSE:HMA), a company that runs acute care hospitals in partnerships with communities and midsize hospitals throughout southeast and southwest America. Edelman & Guill Energy, a 10% owner of PostRock Energy (NASDAQ:PSTR), bought $6,499,999 worth of company stock. PostRock Energy is the leading producer of natural gas in the Cherokee Basin of southeast Kansas and northeast Oklahoma. The data storage products and services corporation EMC (NYSE:EMC) bought $3,213,344 worth of stock in VMware (NYSE:VMW), which specializes in virtualization and cloud infrastrastructure for major companies. This follows three purchases of over $6 million last week.

In sales, Keith Meister, the founder of Corvex Managment and former CEO of Ichan Enterprises GP (NASDAQ:IEP), sold $117,947,972 worth of stock in Ralcorp (NYSE:RAH), a leading producer of private-brand foods and food services products that are sold under individual labels. On November 27, ConAgra Foods (NYSE:CAG) closed a deal to buy Ralcorp for $5 billion. Scott Cook, founder and chairman of Intuit (NASDAQ:INTU), sold $24,744,952 worth of company stock. Intuit develops financial and tax preparation software for small businesses, accountants, and individuals. Donlad Yonce, the founder and director of SolarWinds Inc. (NYSE:SWI), sold $8,308,553 worth of company stock. SolarWinds is a developer and marketer of network, applications, virtualization, and storage management software. Brian Roberts, chairman and CEO of cable operator Comcast (NASDAQ:CMCSA), sold $7,774,080 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.
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