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Top Insider Trades: Sheikh Al Thani Buys Amyris Stock, and the Vice Chairman of Nielsen Sells Shares

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Plus, another big purchase at AGCO, and Steel Excel increases its stake in Forbes Energy.

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Welcome to our daily round-up of top insider trades. Here's a look at the most significant inside sales and purchases filed with the SEC on Thursday, March 28, 2013. (The markets were closed on Friday, March 29, 2013.)

Purchases: At agricultural equipment manufacturer and distributor AGCO Corporation (NYSE:AGCO), Director Mallika Srinivasan bought 218,493 shares of company stock for $11,324,492. Srinivasan has made five purchases since March 22, worth $ 56.7 million. She currently owns 4,203,263 shares of the company.

Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, the ruling Emir of the State of Qatar since 1995, and a Director of renewable products company Amyris (NASDAQ:AMRS), bought 1,533,742 shares of company stock, worth $4,999,999. The company specializes in converting plant sugars into a variety of hydrocarbon molecules to be used for cosmetics, flavors, fragrances, lubricants, polymers, and of course, diesel and jet fuels. The company is helping to develop a malaria treatment from artemisinin, a compound that is naturally found in the Chinese Sweet Wormwood plant. Because artemsinin has a poor bioavailability (meaning that only a small amount of an administered dose is absorbed by the body), more potent synthetic derivatives are being developed. Amyris is assisting the non-profit OneWorld Health, with funding from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, in developing an affordable, non-seasonal, high quality derivative of the herb.

Holding company Steel Excel (PINK:SXCL), which focuses on capital redeployment and the identification of new business operations, bought 108,683 shares of independent oil field services contractor Forbes Energy (NASDAQ:FES) for $400,826. The company has released Q4 2012 and full 2012 earnings: Consolidated revenues for 2012 increased to $472.6 million from $445.8 million in 2011. However, quarterly revenues for US operations decreased 6.4% from $114.3 million in Q3 to $107 million in Q4. As President and CEO John Crisp said of the earnings report, "2012 was a good year overall as we saw consolidated revenues increase over year. The fourth quarter was challenging as steadily weakening demand reduced utilization and increased pricing pressure in most of our markets. The same held true for the first few months of 2013. However, we started to see activity pick up in March."

Sales: At information measurement company Nielsen Holdings N.V. (NYSE:NLSN), Vice Chairman of the Board Arvin Kash sold 47,118 shares of company stock for $1,679,286. Mr. Kash is also the founder of The Cambridge Group, a growth strategy consulting firm that became a subsidiary of Nielsen in 2009. A proposed merger between Nielsen and media and marketing information services company Arbitron (NYSE:ARB) has been put on hold with the FTC requesting more information from the companies. Such a request often indicates that the agency may intend to block the merger, especially in industries that have seen a significant consolidation, like media information.

Insider Purchases
#: Filer Name Insider Titles Company Name Ticker Trans
Type
Dollar Value
1
DIR
AB
$11,324,492
2
DIR
JB*
$4,999,999
3
DIR,BO
B,JB*
$762,000
4
BO
B
$400,826
5
DIR
B
$180,662
6
DIR
JB*
$19,072
7
DIR
B
$9,850
8
DIR
JB*
$7,528
9
DIR
B
$5,005
10
DIR
B
$3,290

Source: InsiderInsights.com | Key to Insider Title and Trans Type Codes

Insider Sales
#: Filer Name Insider Titles Company Name Ticker Trans
Type
Dollar Value
1
BO
JS*
$77,638,800
2
CB,DIR,BO
S
$4,819,250
3
CB,CEO,DIR
S
$3,210,660
4
VP,DIR,BO
S
$2,128,230
5
VCB
AS
$1,679,286
6
PR
S
$1,589,000
7
BO
AS
$1,270,887
8
DIR,BO
S
$1,130,861
9
VCB,DIR
AS
$975,252
10
VCB,CEO,DIR
AS
$768,680

Source: InsiderInsights.com | Key to Insider Title and Trans Type Codes

An important note from Jonathan Moreland, founder of Insider Insights:

In a victory for common sense, it has been proven profitable -- by both academic studies and (more importantly) the experience of your fellow professional investors -- to monitor the trading behavior of company executives, directors, and large shareholders in the stocks of firms of which they're registered as "insiders."

Please note, however, that the lists above are strictly factual; they are 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.

At InsiderInsights.com, 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.

Jonathan Moreland is also the author of "Profit From Legal Insider Trading."

Follow me on Twitter: @JoshWolonick and @Minyanville
No positions in stocks mentioned.
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