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Top Insider Trades: Another Big Purchase in SolarCity, and Ralph Lauren Sells Again


Plus, a purchase as Berkshire Hathaway, and sales at Graphic Packaging and Axis Capital.

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 Wednesday, December 19, 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, venture capitalist John Fisher, a corporate director at solar power and technology interest SolarCity (NASDAQ:SCTY), bought $24,000,000 worth of stock in the company. This follows CEO Elon Musk's purchase of $15,000,000 of company stock yesterday. SolarCity had a successful IPO on December 14, seeing its stock price jump 47% that day. Harbinger Group Inc. (NYSE:HRG), a diversified holding company and the majority shareholder in Spectrum Brands (NYSE:SPB), bought $14,999,983 worth of company stock. Spectrum Brands, a member of the Russell 2000 Index (NYSEARCA:IWM), is a holding company with a portfolio of consumer goods that includes George Foreman (PINK:GFME) grills and Rayovac batteries, among many others. In the third time this week, the data storage products and services corporation EMC (NYSE:EMC) bought stock in VMware (NYSE:VMW), today, $6,422,757 ($6,423,813 on Monday, $6,416,195 on Wednesday). VMware specializes in virtualization and cloud infrastructure services for major companies. Ronald L Olson, an American attorney and a director of Warren Buffet's holding company Berkshire Hathaway (NYSE:BRK.B), bought $225,000 worth of company stock.

In sales, the Phillips Group Advisors sold $236,484,064 worth of stock in packaging manufacturer Graphic Packaging (NYSE:GPK). Thomas Hagerty, a Director of Fidelity National Financial Inc. (NYSE:FNF), sold $124,099,608 worth of company stock. Fidelity National Finance is a Forbes 500 company that specializes in real estate and financial services. At the Bermuda-based global insurance company Axis Capital (NYSE:AXS), Trident II sold $103,898,997 worth of stock. The Lauren Family again sold stock in clothing company Ralph Lauren (NYSE:RL), today $22,823,138. This follows sales on December 7, December 13, and December19.

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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