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Top Insider Trades: Sales at Facebook and LinkedIn


Plus, purchases at Salient Midstream, Omeros, and Opko Health

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, Jan. 4, 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.

Gregory Reid, President and CEO of close-ended management investment company Salient Midstream and MLP Fund (NYSE:SMM), bought $579,540 worth of company stock. The company is a subsidiary of Houston-based asset management and wealth advisory firm Salient Partners. Ray Aspiri, a Director of Omeros (NASDAQ:OMER), the clinical-stage pharmaceutical company that specializes in developing and commercializing products focused on inflammation and the central nervous system, bought $228,800 worth of company stock. Dr. Phillip Frost MD, the Chairman and CEO of diagnostics and pharmaceutical company Opko Health (NYSE:OPK), again bought company stock, this time for $125,766. Harry Cohen bought stock in Clearbridge Energy MLP Opp Fund Inc. (NYSE:EMO) and ClearBridge Energy MLP Fund Inc. (NYSE:CEM) for $106,975 and $95,141, respectively. Cohen is the Managing Director and Chief Information Officer of both investment companies, which are part of ClearBridge Advisors, the largest equity manager of global asset management company Legg Mason (NYSE:LM).

Sheryl Sandberg, the Chief Operating officer of social network Facebook (NASDAQ:FB), sold $14,166,618 of company stock. Facebook founder Mark Zuckerburg pledged to hold onto all of his shares for at least a year (though he has donated stock, $500 million of it to Silicon Valley Community Foundation), but other executives, like Sandberg, made no such pledge. There were three major sales at the social network for professionals, LinkedIn (NYSE:LNKD). Director Reid Hoffman sold $9,311,423, Dipchand Nishar sold $7,928,430, and CEO Jeff Weiner sold $4,133,812. At Thor Industries (NYSE:THO), the world's largest manufacturer of recreation vehicles (RVs), Beneficial Owner Thompson Family Foundation Inc sold $3,824,466. The Foundation is a nonprofit devoted to the economic success of families through community-based initiatives and improving access to education and asset building resources.

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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