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Insider Trades: Carl Icahn Increases Stake in Herbalife, JPMorgan Director With 'London Whale' Connection Buys Company Stock

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Plus a purchase at SPX Corp. and a sale at HomeAway.

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Welcome to our daily roundup of top insider trades. Here's a look at the most significant inside sales and purchases filed with the SEC on Tuesday, May 7, 2013.

Purchases: The San Diego, California-based activist investment fund Relational Investors, which has $6 billion in assets under management, bought 1,076,616 shares of global, multi-industry manufacturer SPX Corporation (NYSE:SPW) for $78,876,480. The Charlotte, North Carolina-based company serves developing and emerging markets, with operations in over 35 countries. Its products are varied and include pumps, valves, fare-collection devices, cooling and heating equipment, broadcast antenna systems, dairy dryers, and aerospace components, to name a few. On May 1, the company reported its Q1 2013 earnings, with revenue decreasing 1.7% from Q1 2012, from $1.15 billion to $1.13 billion, but with earnings per share increasing from $0.17 to $0.20. The company's stock price has increased 6.29% year-to-date; it has decreased 2.11% since this time last year.

Carl Icahn bought 611,354 shares of Herbalife (NYSE:HLF) for $24,973,810, increasing his total stake to 16,966,484 shares and further solidifying his position as the global network marketing company's majority stock holder. Since Bill Ackman began his public attempt to short sell the company's stock in December, Icahn has been increasing his long position. Yesterday, on May 7, shares of Herbalife traded above the price they were at when Ackman first accused the company of operating a pyramid scheme. On April 29, the company released its Q1 2013 earnings, reporting earnings of $1.27 per share on $1.12 billion in revenue, beating estimates of earnings $1.06 per share on $1.1 billion in revenue. The results also increased from Q1 2012, when earnings were $0.88 per share on $964 million in revenue. Since the December 24, 2012 low of $26.06, the stock's price has increased 64.7%, to trade at $42.92.

James Crown, a Director of global financial services and banking firm JPMorgan Chase (NYSE:JPM), bought 301,477 shares of company stock for $14,255,521, increasing his total stake to 6,348,649 shares. Crown serves on the board of directors of General Dynamics (NYSE:GD) and Hillshire Brands (NYSE:HSH) as well, and is the president of the private investment firm Henry Crown and Co. He also chairs the committee that was responsible for the notorious "London Whale" trading disaster, which cost the bank $6 billion in 2012. ISS, a leading proxy advisory firm, urged JPMorgan shareholders on May 6 to vote Crown off the board of directors, saying, "While Mr. Crown leads a privately owned investment company and has three years of investment banking experience, it is unclear if his experience is sufficiently robust for a large and complex institution like (JPMorgan)." The company' stock price is up 13.44% year-to-date, and it is up 20.54% since this time last year.

Sales: AV Partners VIII LP, of Texas-based venture capital firm Austin Ventures, sold 398,350 shares of of online vacation rental company HomeAway (NASDAQ:AWAY) for $12,046,104. The company operates an online marketplace through 44 websites in 13 languages, serving both property owners seeking renters and travelers looking for a temporary vacation home. On April 23, the company reported its Q1 2013 earnings, with earnings of $0.06 per share on revenue of $79.5 million, up from earnings of $0.03 per share and revenue of $64.1 million in Q1 2012. The company's stock price is up 30.88% year-t-o-date, and it is up 13.18% since this time last year.

Insider Purchases
#: Filer Name Insider Titles Company Name Ticker Trans
Type
Dollar Value
1
BO
B
$78,876,480
2
BO
B
$24,973,810
3
DIR
B
$14,255,521
4
DIR
B
$1,114,865
5
DIR
B
$651,024
6
DIR
B
$599,891
7
BO
B
$468,941
8
CFO
B
$349,345
9
DIR
B
$261,000
10
CEO,CB,BO
B
$159,250

Insider Sales
#: Filer Name Insider Titles Company Name Ticker Trans
Type
Dollar Value
1
DIR,BO
JS*
$671,249,984
2
CB,F,DIR
S
$16,455,671
3
BO
S
$12,046,104
4
VCB,GC
S
$7,079,860
5
DIR
N
AS
$6,619,727
6
VCB,DIR
S,JS*
$5,610,119
7
DIR,BO
S
$4,257,171
8
VP,HR
S
$3,323,081
9
VP,GC
S
$3,031,500
10
PR,SO
S
$2,790,000

Source: InsiderInsights.com | Key to Insider Title and Trans Type Codes

An important note from Jonathan Moreland, founder of Insider Insights:

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

Please note, however, that the lists above are strictly factual; they are 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.

At InsiderInsights.com, 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.

Jonathan Moreland is also the author of "Profit From Legal Insider Trading."

Follow me on Twitter: @JoshWolonick and @Minyanville
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No positions in stocks mentioned.
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