Insider buying is on the rise at these 7 mid-cap stocks

James Dennin, Kaptiall: Insider buying is on the rise at these 7 mid-cap stocks. Are their employees right to be bullish on their companies' prospects?

Insider trading sounds pretty sinister. But there's a good chance it could soon get a lot more common, thanks in part to activist investor Bill Ackman. 

A recent investment by Ackman's fund is calling into question the entire method for determining what exactly is legal insider trading and what isn't. In laws that date back to the 1934 Securities Exchange Act, insider trading has always been perfectly acceptable as long as the information is available to the general public. 

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However, Ackman recently tested those laws in a bid to take over the company Allergan (AGN). The controversy stems from the fact that Ackman purchased a number of Allergan shares before announcing plans to partner with Valeant (VRX) in a hostile takeover bid. 

Since the fund already had a large stake in the firm, it was able to profit heavily from the announcement. 

The act itself is far from illegal. But as  Dealbook pointed out, it really only " feels" like insider trading, as the information came to Ackman legally. Anger over the trade has also caused a backlash from those who point out that insider trading laws have never worked, anyway. 

That's because information is, as the article points out, incredibly mercurial. Relevent information will usually find the people willing to pay for it. That's kind of just the way it is.

With that in mind, we decided to screen for stocks with spikes in insider buying. Since small cap stocks have suffered lately and since insider buying doesn't really affect large-caps much, we decided to focus on mid-caps. 

We screened for companies with spikes in insider buying of at least 2% or more. This indicates that company insiders are bullish on the prospects of their company. 

Click on the interactive chart to view data over time. 

1. AGCO Corporation ( AGCO): Distributes agricultural equipment and related replacement parts worldwide. Market cap at $5.35B, most recent closing price at $56.94.  

Over the last six months, insiders were net buyers of 2,658,897 shares, which represents about 3.14% of the company's 84.74M share float.  

 

 

2. Cracker Barrel Old Country Store, Inc. ( CBRL): Engages in the operation and development of the Cracker Barrel Old Country Store restaurant and retail concept in the United States. Market cap at $2.28B, most recent closing price at $95.80.  

Over the last six months, insiders were net buyers of 488,754 shares, which represents about 2.61% of the company's 18.75M share float.  

 

 

3. Janus Capital Group, Inc. ( JNS): A publicly owned asset management holding company.  Market cap at $2.28B, most recent closing price at $12.02.

Over the last six months, insiders were net buyers of 5,693,097 shares, which represents about 3.16% of the company's 180.08M share float.

 

 

4. MannKind Corp. ( MNKD): Focuses on the discovery, development, and commercialization of therapeutic products for diabetes and cancer. Market cap at $2.4B, most recent closing price at $6.23.  

Over the last six months, insiders were net buyers of 39,896,322 shares, which represents about 17.53% of the company's 227.59M share float.  

 

 

5. Opko Health, Inc. ( OPK): Engages in the discovery, development, and commercialization of novel and proprietary technologies primarily in the United States, Chile, and Mexico. Market cap at $3.32B, most recent closing price at $8.05. 

Over the last six months, insiders were net buyers of 4,788,000 shares, which represents about 2.18% of the company's 219.65M share float.  

 

 

6. Spectrum Brands Holdings, Inc. ( SPB): Operates as a consumer products company worldwide. Market cap at $4.02B, most recent closing price at $76.24.  

Over the last six months, insiders were net buyers of 611,369 shares, which represents about 2.88% of the company's 21.22M share float.  

 

 

7. SPX Corporation ( SPW): Provides flow technology products, test and measurement products, thermal equipment and services, and industrial products and services worldwide. Market cap at $4.79B, most recent closing price at $106.91.

Over the last six months, insiders were net buyers of 1,047,715 shares, which represents about 2.41% of the company's 43.54M share float.

 

(List compiled by James Dennin, a Kapitall Writer. Insider data sourced from Yahoo! Finance. Monthly returns sourced from Zacks Investment Research. All other data sourced from Finviz.)

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