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Top Insider Trades: Repeat Buys of AGCO and VMware


Large sales noted for Charter Communications, Airgas, and Primerica.

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, November 28, 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.

Mallika Srinivasan, we'll miss you when you're gone, although that doesn't look likely to happen until the AGCO (NYSE:AGCO) director buys up all outstanding shares of the farm equipment maker or runs out of cash. (If you don't get the reference, click here.)

EMC (NYSE:EMC), a beneficial owner of VMware (NYSE:VMW), spent $6.6 million buying shares of the virtualization-based cloud infrastructure provider on the open market, according to SEC documents. This is the twelvth investment the IT developer has made in the last six weeks, for a total of $85 million in that time period. There may be fewer VMW shares on the market in the future. Today the company announced its board had authorized a stock repurchase plan of $250 million through 2014. This authorization is in addition to the $600 million program announced in February.

On the sales side, Carnival (NYSE:CCL) insider Eternity Four Trust reappeared, unloading nearly $23 million of the cruise line operator's stock in a previously scheduled sale. Earlier in November, it sold $22.8 million worth of stock.

Although large, the three biggest insider sales don't carry as much weight as it might seem since they were all non-open market transactions, which are often considered "noise" while open-market transactions are usually deemed more important. Nevertheless, Apollo Management sold $212.5 million worth of Charter Communications (NASDAQ:CHTR), Peter McCausland, a director of Airgas (NYSE:ARG), sold $106.3 million worth of that company's shares, and Warbug Pincus shed $99 million worth of Primerica (NYSE:PRI).

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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