Insider Buying: 7 Recent CEO Buys of at Least $100,000

by: The Keating Letter

Insider buying slowed down this past week after the previous week’s record take. There were still some substantial buys to take a look at though. Below I’ll highlight seven stocks where the CEO has bought at least $100,000 worth of stock recently. I don’t have to tell you that the overall market has been extremely volatile over the past few weeks. This high level of insider buying tells me that while the CEOs may not have a strong view on the overall economy or markets, they are optimistic about their individual companies. That warrants additional research for stock pickers.

Below are this week’s highlights, information is courtesy of SECForm4:

MF Global (MF): CEO Jon Corzine has been making regular purchases recently. I highlighted his previous buys back in June. More recently he’s made purchases on August 8, August 10, and August 18. These buys totaled 53,760 shares at prices between $5.25 and $5.91. Corzine name was bandied about earlier this month regarding being tapped for government service, perhaps even as the next treasury secretary. The company took the unusual step of incorporating this into a bond offering. The bonds would pay an extra 1%.

Upon the departure of Mr. Corzine as our full time chief executive officer due to his appointment to a federal position by the President of the United States and confirmation of that appointment by the United States Senate prior to July 1, 2013.

Pacer International (NASDAQ:PACR): CEO Daniel Avramovich bought 100,000 company shares on August 18. He currently owns more than 240,000 shares. This most recent transaction totaled $394,000. Pacer is a $141 million market cap freight and logistics operator. They own rail cars, containers, and chassis and offer third party logistics services including freight, air, ocean, and truck services.

Pinnacle Entertainment (NYSE:PNK): Pinnacle is a casino and racetrack operator and sports a $706 million market cap. CEO Anthony Sanfilippo has been a big buyer since August 10. He’s made three transactions totaling 60,000 shares. These buys totaled about $700,000. He made buys between $11.44 and $11.77. Just one month ago the stock was above $15, but shares have been hurt by the prospects of a slower economy.

Ultralife Corporation (NASDAQ:ULBI): CEO Michael Popielec has snapped up 30,000 shares on August 18 and August 11. These transactions totaled $145,281. Popielec now owns 60,000 company shares in total. Ultralife is a tiny $83 million market cap energy and communications company. They offer battery and energy products as well as communications accessories.

Checkpoint Systems (NYSE:CKP): Checkpoint makes identification, tracking, and security tags for the retail and apparel industry. Shares are near 52 week lows as a slow economy could potentially crimp their business. On August 10, MMI Investments urged the company to review strategic alternatives, including a sale of the company. Perhaps in response to that, CEO Robert Van Der Mewre bought company 10,000 on August 18. That purchase at $14.60 per share demonstrated confidence in the direction of the company and the share price. The purchase totaled $146,000.

Kid Brands (NYSE:KID): Kid Brands is trading at 52 week lows and is nearly 70% off of 52 week highs. This tiny $69 million market cap company makes baby and children products such as blankets, diaper bags, and cribs. Shares were crushed after the company announced guidance significantly below what was expected. 2011 EPS guidance is between $0.40 and $0.42. That gives them a P/E of about 8.

I admit here that the CEO purchase wasn’t quite $100,000, but I wanted to include Kid Brands because of the recent stock drop. CEO Bruce Crain bought $97,500 of company stock on August 18 at $3.25 per share. Crain last bought shares in June 2009 at $7.24.

TransAtlantic Petroleum (NYSEMKT:TAT): CEO Noah Mitchell made a few large buys over the last ten days. Mitchell bought more than $1.3 million worth of company stock from August 11 to August 19. He bought between $0.98 and $1.13. The company’s 52 week high is $3.59. TransAtlantic is an oil and natural gas driller with interests in Turkey, Morocco, Bulgaria and Romania.

Disclosure: I have no positions in any stocks mentioned, and no plans to initiate any positions within the next 72 hours.