The following commentary comes from an independent investor or market observer as part of TheStreet's guest contributor program, which is separate from the company's news coverage.By David Sterman NEW YORK ( StreetAuthority) -- When executives of a company step in and buy its stock, it can provide a glimpse into an overlooked or misunderstood value opportunity. Sadly, these insiders are often lousy market timers. They tend to acquire shares after a stock has lost a lot of value (even as they think the company's operating outlook remains bright). In many instances, the selling pressure isn't yet finished, and these insiders simply jumped in too soon. The good news: you can profit from their bad timing by picking up shares at lower prices than what insiders paid for them. You can find a clear example of this with advertising firm MDC Partners ( MDCA), which is a member of my
Only Titanium Minerals has been a losing recent investment for him. He started buying in late 2010 when shares were trading above $17. He bought hundreds of thousands more shares at that price last spring, when shares were stuck in the $17 range. By the time shares fell below $17 last June, he was still buying. And he's been buying ever since, even though shares are now around $14.50. Why is Simmons so keen to own millions of shares of Titanium Metals? Because he knows the commodity plays a key role in the generation of fuel-efficient airplanes. And though global titanium production is fairly constant, demand is set to rise. "Aircraft build rates provide visibility on a likely titanium market tightening in
2013. Investors may be wary of titanium stocks following multi-year 787 and A380 delays, but accelerating deliveries of these planes should be a catalyst for specialty metals stocks," note analysts at Citigroup. They add that because the company mills raw titanium and then modifies it into key shapes for customers, it can maintain low costs and high profit spreads. That's why "TIE has significant leverage to anticipated demand growth and the highest projected EBITDA margins of the group," (that also includes RTI International Metals ( RTI), Carpenter Technology ( CRS) and Allegheny Technologies ( ATI). Citigroup's analysts have a current $17 price target but note further upside if the global economy and titanium demand get stronger. This stock, currently trading around $14.50, hit $35 back in 2007 when industry conditions were aligned. Harold Simmons is well aware of that as he continues to but this stock at ever-lower levels.
Risks to Consider: These stocks have stumbled after insiders were bullish, so it pays to deeply research what has transpired since to ensure that the insider-induced investment thesis still applies. Action to Take: Many stocks move higher after insiders file their transactions with the Securities and Exchange Commission. It often pays to let the insider-inspired bump pass and see if shares pull back. Indeed, it's rarely wise to pay more for a stock than insiders did, as they may end up being sellers by the time you're ready to buy. Conversely, when shares slump after insiders buy, your purchase may be followed by more buying from those insiders. You may find that following this path for any of the three stocks I mentioned above pays off with substantial gains. >>To see these stocks in action, visit the 3 Stocks to Buy for Less Than What Insiders Paid portfolio on Stockpickr. David Sterman does not personally hold positions in any securities mentioned in this article. StreetAuthority LLC owns shares of TIE, in one or more if its "real money" portfolios.