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Top Insider Trades: Retiring Goldman Director Sells as Does Troubled JDA Software Founder


Stadium Capital ups its UTI stake and EPIQ founder makes a buy in his company.

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, November 30, 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.

Stadium Capital Partners bought $3.3 million worth of Universal Technical Institute (NYSE:UTI). The $236 million market cap company provides postsecondary education for skilled trades and technicians in a variety of fields. Like the investment firm's previous UTI purchases since October, the stock was bought on the open market. The latest buy puts the total value of the stock purchased over that period to $5.7 million. Tom W. Olofson purchased $227,000 worth of stock in Epiq Systems (NASDAQ:EPIQ), the applications software firm where he is chairman and CEO. Olofson led a private investor group that acquired the company in July 1988.

On the sell side, David R. Viniar sold about $11.9 million worth of Goldman Sachs (NYSE:GS) where he is has been VP and CFO since 1999 when he helped guide the firm through its initial public offering. In September the firm said Viniar, who is retiring after a 32-year career at GS, would be replaced by Harvey Scwhartz who will assume the role in January. James D. Armstrong sold just over $11 million worth of JDA Software Services (NASDAQ:JDAS), the firm he founded in 1978 in Calgary, Alberta. JDAS was recently sued by an investor objecting to the terms of a proposed $1.9 billion takeover of the company by RedPrarie, an investor backed by New Mountain Capital.

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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