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Top Insider Trades: Purchases at Synageva BioPharma and Lucas Energy


Plus, sales at NCR, Accenture, and Children's Place.

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 Tuesday, January 8, 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.

On an unusual list, the highest insider trade was a purchase, not a sale. Julian Baker, a Director of Synageva BioPharma (NASDAQ:GEVA), bought $40,862,492 worth of company stock. Synageva,a clinical stage biopharmaceutical company that develops therapeutic products for rare diseases and disorders, just had an IPO in July 2012. The investment partnership Meson Capital bought $236,135 worth of stock in oil and gas company Lucas Energy (NYSEAMEX:LEI), of which it is a beneficiary owner. James Dahl, a beneficiary owner of timberland management and forestry consulting firm Pope Resources (NASDAQ:POPE), bought $ 117,686 worth of company stock. Dahl has been purchasing stock consistently since February 2012 and holds over 10% of the company in stock. Whitney George, Co-Chief Investment Officer, a Portfolio Manager, and a Managing Director for Royce & Associates, LLC, bought $99,292 worth of stock in Royce Focus Trust (NASDAQ:FUND), of which he is the Portfolio Manager. The Royce Focus Trust is a close-ended fund that invests with a value approach, mostly in small companies.

In sales, Peter Dorsman, Executive Vice President and Chief Quality Officer for NCR Corporation (NYSE:NCR), sold $835,572 worth of company stock. NCR specializes in self-service software solutions for ATMs, POS systems, and airline check-in systems. George Alexander, Executive Vice President of Global Sales at Thermon Group Holdings (NYSE:THR), sold $689,469 worth of company stock. Thermon is a manufacturing company that specializes in "heat tracing," the application of either steam, fluid, or electric heat to piping, tanks, and other equipment. At the kids' clothing retailer Children's Place (NASDAQ:PLCE), President and CEO Jane Elfers sold $579,499 worth of company stock. Gianfranco Casati, the Group Chief Executive of the Products Operating Group at Accenture (NYSE:ACN), sold $341,443 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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