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Insiders reported that on Tuesday, January 3, they bought and sold stock in more than 300 separate transactions in more than 200 companies. These transactions have to be reported within two days of the trade, so the transactions occurred sometime late last week. We culled through these 300 or so insider buys and sells (based on SEC Forms 3, 4, and 5 filings), as part of our daily and weekly coverage of insider trades, and present here the most notable trades reported Tuesday (for more info on how to interpret insider trades, please refer to the end of this article).

Arch Coal Inc. (NYSE:ACI): ACI is engaged in the production of steam and metallurgical coal from surface and underground mines. Insiders hold 0.6 million or 0.3% of outstanding shares. On Tuesday, two insiders filed SEC Forms 4 indicating that they sold a total of 105,300 shares for $1.5 million. Of these, COO John Eaves exercised options and sold the resulting 71,900 shares, ending with 107,607 shares (and another 9,567 shares in indirect holdings), under a 10b5-1 plan; and SVP General Counsel & Secretary Robert Jones exercised options and sold the resulting 33,400 shares, ending with 17,937 shares (and another 4,731 shares in indirect holdings), also under a 10b5-1 plan.

Overall, insiders sold only an additional 38,424 shares (buying 41,340 shares) during the past year. This is significant in terms of the size of the sales, the number of insiders selling, the fact that the shares sold represent a significant portion of their holdings, and given that overall, insiders sold only an additional 38,424 shares (buying 41,340 shares) during the past year. ACI is undervalued, trading at a discount 6 forward P/E and 0.9 P/B compared to averages of 10.7 and 2.6 for the coal mining group, while earnings are projected to increase at 47.8% compound growth rate from $1.14 in 2010 to $2.49 in 2012.

ConAgra Food Inc. (NYSE:CAG): CAG is an industry-leading, branded and value-added food company that produces shelf-stable and frozen foods, processed meats, retail food, food ingredients and agricultural products that are sold in various retail and foodservice channels. Insiders hold 2.8 million or 0.6% of outstanding shares. On Tuesday, President of Consumer Foods Andre Hawaux filed SEC form 4 indicating that he exercised options and sold the resulting 80,000 shares for $2.1 million, ending with 150,192 shares (and another 550 shares in indirect holdings). Also, this sale comes on top of the sale we reported less than two weeks ago by CFO John Gehring of 108,883 shares for $2.9 million, so that overall insiders have sold a total of 206,779 shares in the past two weeks.

This is significant in terms of the size of the sales, the number of insiders selling, the fact that the shares sold represent a significant portion of their holdings, and given that overall, insiders sold only an additional 31,497 shares (buying none) during the past year. CAG trades at 52-week highs of the year, and at a discount 13-14 forward P/E and 2.4 P/B compared to averages of 41.5 and 2.5 for its peers in the diversified food manufacturers group.

Fastenal Co. (NASDAQ:FAST): FAST is a wholesaler and retailer of industrial and construction supplies sold through 2,566 stores in the U.S., Canada, Mexico, the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, Singapore, and China. Insiders hold 28.6 million or 9.7% of outstanding shares. On Tuesday, Director Stephen Slaggie filed SEC Form 4 indicating that he sold 50,000 shares for $2.2 million. Overall, insiders sold a total of 575,000 shares (buying 20,630 shares) in the past year. FAST shares have been extremely strong lately and trade at all-time highs, up about 50% in 2011. They trade at a premium 31 forward P/E and 9.2 P/B compared to averages of 14.1 and 2.1 respectively for the building products retail and wholesale group.

Netapp Inc. (NASDAQ:NTAP): NTAP manufactures integrated network storage and data management hardware for corporations and government agencies. Insiders currently hold 1.3 million or 0.4% of outstanding shares. On Tuesday, Director Daniel Warmenhoven filed SEC Form 4 indicating that he exercised options and sold the resulting 139,033 shares for $5.0 million from his trust over which he has indirect control. This is on top of the $7.8 million in NTAP that we reported he sold just last week. Overall, insiders sold only an additional 3,958 shares during the last three months (buying none). NTAP shares have been weak, down 34% last year, and it trades at 13 forward P/E and 3.3 P/B compared to averages of 74.3 and 2.9 for its peers in the computer storages devices group.

Invivo Therapeutics Holdings Corp. (OTCQB:NVIV): NVIV is a development-stage medical device company focused on developing and commercializing biopolymer scaffolding devices for the treatment of spinal cord injuries. On Tuesday, two insiders reported selling a total of 0.2 million shares for $0.44 million. Most of the shares were sold by Director Robert Langer (165,247 shares), and the remaining were sold by CEO Francis Reynolds (11,500 shares). Overall, insiders sold a total of 415,247 shares (buying none) in the past year. NVIV shares have been on a tear lately, up over four-fold since the end of October, as its technology to treat paralysis moves closer to human trials after preclinical success in which paralyzed rats and monkeys were able to walk again within weeks of initial treatment. Fellow SA Contributor VFC covered this in detail in an earlier article that may be a good read for those wishing to investigate this further.

Transatlantic Petroleum (NYSEMKT:TAT): TAT is engaged in crude oil and natural gas exploration and production in Turkey, Morocco, Bulgaria and Romania. On Tuesday, EVP Scott Larsen filed SEC Form 4 indicating that he exercised options and sold the resulting 100,000 shares for $0.12 million, ending with 0.7 million shares. This is on top of the 60,294 shares that he sold in the last week of December. Insider selling is not that common at TAT, as in the past year insiders sold only an additional 40,000 shares (buying 1.8 million shares). Also, earlier last month, we reported that Boston-based Fidelity Investments, with over $1.5 trillion in assets under management sold a total of 2.6 million shares from the 5.8 million shares that it reported holding in the 13-F filing for Q3. TAT shares are currently trading at their lows, down 55% in the past year, as recent quarter operating results have continued to be disappointing.

Valence Technology Inc. (VLNC): VLNC develops, manufactures and sells safe and long-life lithium iron magnesium phosphate advanced energy storage solutions, powering a range of applications from commercial electric vehicles to industrial and marine equipment. Insiders hold 80.4 million or 48.4% of outstanding shares. On Tuesday, Director Donn Tognazzini filed SEC Form 4 indicating that he sold 71,000 shares for $53,250, ending with 226,000 shares. While this is admittedly a small sale, it is somewhat noteworthy only in the sense that the shares sold were a significant portion of Director Tognazzini's holdings in the company, and given that this is the first insider sale at VLNC since March 2008.

On top of these, some additional large insider trades on Tuesday included a $1.5 million sale by co-CEO Carl Lindner at property and casualty insurance company American Financial Group Holding (NYSE:AFG); a $4.3 million sale by CEO Timothy Ring at medical products company Bard CR Inc. (NYSE:BCR); a $1.0 million sale by CEO Edward Fritsch at Highwoods Properties Inc. (NYSE:HIW), a REIT that owns, leases and operates office, industrial and retail properties; and a $6.5 million sale by SVP Thomas Liston at managed care provider Humana Inc. (NYSE:HUM).

Credit: Fundamental data in this article were based on SEC filings, I-Metrix® by Edgar Online®, Zacks Investment Research, Thomson Reuters and Briefing.com. The information and data is believed to be accurate, but no guarantees or representations are made.

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

Disclaimer: Material presented here is for informational purposes only. Nothing in this article should be taken as a solicitation to purchase or sell securities. Before buying or selling any stock you should do your own research and reach your own conclusion. Further, these are our 'opinions' and we may be wrong. We may have positions in securities mentioned in this article. You should take this into consideration before acting on any advice given in this article. If this makes you uncomfortable, then do not listen to our thoughts and opinions. The contents of this article do not take into consideration your individual investment objectives so consult with your own financial adviser before making an investment decision. Investing includes certain risks including loss of principal.

Source: Tuesday's Noteworthy Insider Buys And Sells