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Top Insider Trades: Stock Sales by Facebook's Engineering VP and Yelp's COO


Plus, a purchase at Opko Health and sales at Tesla Motors, Hershey, and Estee Lauder.

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. 14, 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.

Phillip Frost, Chairman and CEO of pharmaceutical and diagnostics company Opko Health (NYSE:OPK), bought $160,586 worth of company stock. William Adams IV, President and Principal Executive Officer of Nuveen Commodities Asset Management, LLC, bought $73,009 in one of the company's funds, the Nuveen Credit Strategies Income Fund (NYSE:JQC), of which he is Vice President. Harold Simmons, Chairman and Director of Valhi (NYSE:VHI), bought $58,800 worth of company stock. Valhi is a multinational holding company with operations in chemical, components, waste management, and titanium metal. Edmond Furlong, Chief Operating Officer and Chief Financial Officer of simulation-driven design company EXA (NASDAQ:EXA), bought $57,161 worth of company stock.

In sales, Michael Schroepfer, Vice President of Engineering at Facebook (NASDAQ:FB), sold $3,481,508 worth of company stock. Harald Kroeger, a director of electric car company Tesla Motors (NASDAQ:TSLA), sold $1,562,687 worth of company stock. Humberto Alfonso, Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of North America's largest chocolate manufacturer, Hershey (NYSE:HSY), sold $750,000 worth of stock. At the online directory / social networking company Yelp (NYSE:YELP), Geoffrey Donaker, Chief Operating Officer, sold $735,189 worth of stock. Fabrizio Freda, CEO of cosmetics company Estee Lauder (NYSE:EL), sold $640,062 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."
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