Insiders bought and sold $224 million of stock in the basic materials sector last week, accounting for 13.4% of the total of $1.70 billion worth of stocks traded (including $1.52 billion sold and $0.18 billion bought) via almost 1,800 separate insider transactions last week. We culled through those 1,800 or so insider buys and sells in over 850 different companies (based on last week’s SEC Forms 3, 4, and 5 filings), as part of our weekly coverage of insider trades, and present here the most notable trades in the basic materials sector last week:
Biofuel Energy Corp. (NASDAQ:BIOF): BIOF is a holding company engaged in the production and sale of ethanol and distillers grain in NE and MN. Insiders currently hold 23.5 million shares or 22.4% of outstanding shares. Last week, Thomas Edelman, 10% owner of BIOF, sold 1.28 million shares (regular sell), ending the week with 10.05 million shares. Mr. Edelman is well known in the energy field; he is the founder of Patina Oil & Gas Corp before its merger with Noble Energy Inc. (NYSE:NBL), a co-founder of Snyder Oil Corp., and a former Chairman of Range Resources Corp. (NYSE:RRC). Insiders at BIOF have recently been aggressively selling company shares, as reported by us earlier in our coverage of insider trades in the basic materials sector two and three weeks ago. This is significant given that BIOF shares have surged recently, along with the rest of the ethanol group, up eight-fold nadir-to-peak, and could be interpreted as a sign that insiders may not be as sanguine about the company at current prices.
Transatlantic Petroleum (NYSEMKT:TAT): TAT is engaged in crude oil and natural gas exploration and production in Turkey, Morocco, Bulgaria and Romania. Last week, CEO N. Malone Mitchell III bought 110,000 shares, increasing his purchase just in November to 610,093 shares, so that he ended the week with 1.9 million shares. TAT shares have been weak this year, and the stock currently trades near its all-time lows, so the persistent buying by its CEO is a strong sign of confidence in his outlook for the company.
Cameron Intl Corp. (NYSE:CAM): CAM manufactures oil and gas pressure control and separation equipment for production in onshore, offshore and subsea applications. Insiders currently hold 3.0 million or 1.2% of outstanding shares. During the last week, three insiders (two Directors and a Sr. VP) sold a total of 231,840 shares (all regular sells) for $12.5 million. This is significant given its size, the number of insiders selling, and as it represents a strong pick-up given that insiders overall sold only an additional 161,699 shares in the remaining twelve weeks of the past three months (buying none).
Forest Oil Corp. (NYSE:FST): FST is engaged in the exploration and production of oil and natural gas primarily in North America. Insiders currently hold 1.5 million shares or 1.3% of outstanding shares. During the past week, CEO Craig Clark exercised options and sold the resulting 112,936 shares (regular sell) for $1.7 million. This is significant in that it is the first insider sale since March, and represents a significant pick-up given that insiders sold only an additional 173,800 shares in the prior 51 weeks of the year (buying 5,000 shares).
Quicksilver Resources (NYSE:KWK): KWK is engaged in the exploration and production of oil, natural gas and natural gas liquids in TX, CO, WY, MT, Alberta and British Columbia. It focuses primarily on unconventional reservoirs in fractured shales, coal beds, and tight sands. Insiders currently hold 60.9 million shares or 35.0% of outstanding shares. During the past week, SVP of US Operations Stan Page exercised options and sold the resulting 68,830 shares (regular sell) for $0.6 million. This is significant in that it represents a pick-up given that insiders sold only an additional 12,542 shares in the past year (buying none). KWK recently completed a public offering of over 8 million shares (including over-allotments) of BreitBurn Energy Partners LP (BBEP).
Ensco Plc (NYSE:ESV): ESV is a U.K. based worldwide provider of offshore contract drilling services to the oil and gas industry. Insiders currently hold 2.4 million or 1.1% of outstanding shares. During the last week, Director Francis Kalman exercise options and sold 19,272 shares (regular sell) for $1.0 million, ending the week with 9,970 shares. This is significant due to its size, in that the shares represent a significant portion of Mr. Kalman’s holdings in the company, and given that insiders sold only a total of 40,640 shares over the past year (buying none).
Douglas Lake Minerals Inc. (OTC:DLKM): DLKM, based in Vancouver, Canada, engages in the acquisition and exploration of mineral properties, including the Handeni and Mkuvia Alluvial gold projects in Tanzania. Insiders currently hold 19.9% of outstanding shares. During the last week, Chairman and 10% owner Reginald Mengi bought a new 15.0 million share position in the company for $6.0 million, on behalf of Handeni Resources Ltd.
Disclosure: I have no positions in any stocks mentioned, and no plans to initiate any positions within the next 72 hours.
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