Insiders reported on Tuesday that they bought and sold stock in more than 210 separate transactions in over 175 different companies. These transactions have to be reported within two days of the trade, so the transactions occurred sometime after late last week. We culled through these 210 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 on Tuesday and part-of-the-day on Wednesday; notable based on the dollar amount sold, the number of insiders selling, and based on whether the overall buying or selling represents a strong pick-up based on historical buying and selling in the stock (for more info on how to interpret insider trades, please refer to the end of this article):
Ariad Pharmaceuticals Inc. (NASDAQ:ARIA): ARIA is engaged in the development of drugs that treat aggressive and advanced-stage cancer by regulating cell signaling with small molecules. It is also developing small-molecule drugs that block signal transduction pathways in cells responsible for osteoporosis, and immune and inflammatory diseases. On Tuesday, Director Jay LaMarche filed SEC Form 4 indicating that he sold 26,900 shares for $0.4 million, under a 10b5-1 plan. This is in addition to the 3,100 shares that he indicated he sold just last week. The last time insiders sold at ARIA was in March of last year, and overall insiders sold a total of 80,000 shares in the past year.
ARIA's lead product Ridaforolimus for the treatment of metastatic soft-tissue or bone sarcomas (in patients who had a favorable response to chemotherapy) currently awaits FDA decision in June this year, and it has two other potential blockbuster oncology drugs in its pipeline, Ponatinib in phase 3 for CML and AP26113 in phase 1 for lung cancer and other tumors. The stock was recently upgraded, on December 27, by Rodman & Renshaw, and then on January 19, by Maxim Group, both of whom made bullish statements about the potential of its ponatinib treatment and other drugs in its pipeline, and raised the price target to $18 and $20 respectively.
E-commerce China Dangdang (NYSE:DANG): DANG is a Chinese online retailer offering books and other media, personal care and general merchandise via Dangdang.com. Often called the Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) of China, DANG is the number two e-Commerce player in China, behind TaoBao. Its business model is similar to AMZN except that it employs a courier-based delivery system that collects cash on delivery. On Tuesday, co-Founder and CEO Guoqing Li filed SEC Form SC 13G/A indicating that he holds 121.8 million or 29.6% of outstanding shares, a decrease from the 126.1 million shares that he indicated holding in a prior SC 13G filing in February of last year. CEO Li owns these shares via several investment vehicles out of the British Virgin Islands, including Kewen Holding Co. Ltd, Dyna-Best Corp., and Science & Culture International Ltd.
DANG has been among the strongest performers this year, having almost doubled YTD earlier this week, after collapsing almost 90% from its highs in early 2011. We recommended buying DANG in our coverage of Chinese equities on October 3, when it traded at $4.80s; it closed last week at $8.34, up over 70% from where we recommended it over three months ago.
Delta Air Lines Inc. (NYSE:DAL) provides international and domestic passenger and cargo transportation in the U.S. and abroad, offering services to 357 destinations in 66 countries. On Tuesday, CFO Hank Halter filed SEC Form 4 indicating that he sold 20,000 shares for $215,000, ending with 143,065 shares after the sale. This is in addition to the insider selling of 70,904 shares that we reported just last Friday, and together with the 75,000 shares sold at the end of last month, insiders have sold a total of 165,904 shares in the last five-to-six week period. In comparison, DAL insiders sold only a total of 0.54 million shares in the past year. DAL recently reported a stellar Q4 last week, up 15% since the Q4 report and almost 35% YTD, amid what is turning out to be a great year so far for airline stocks.
Quepasa Corp. (QPSA): QPSA owns and operates a leading bilingual social networking and gaming platform for the Latino community in North and South America. On Tuesday, Chief Revenue Officer William Alena filed SEC Form 4 indicating that he sold 35,000 shares for $0.15 million, ending with 144,746 shares after the sale. In his filing, Mr. Alena indicated that the shares were acquired in the merger with Insider Guides, Inc., and were being sold in order to pay the tax liability incurred in connection with the merger. QPSA like many of its social networking peers, as we discussed in a recent article on the Facebook IPO, has been rallying since last week since reports emerged that Facebook would file its S-1 soon. The stock was up as much as over 50% at its highs in the last eight trading days, and is up over 35% YTD; it currently generates losses and trades at 4.9 P/B and 19.5 PSR compared with averages of 2.1 and 4.2 for the internet services group.
Amgen Inc. (NASDAQ:AMGN): AMGN develops therapeutics based on cellular and molecular biology to treat anemia, cancer, and inflammatory diseases. On Wednesday, six insiders filed SEC Forms 4 sold a total of 0.97 million shares for $66.7 million. The sellers included Chairman of the Board & CEO Kevin Sharer (545,000 shares), SVP David Scott (133,500 shares), SVP Anna Richo (45,446 shares), SVP Brian McNamee (138,902 shares), EVP Fabrizio Bonanni (50,000 shares) and SVP David Beier (57,500 shares), with most of the shares acquired as a result of exercising options. In comparison, insiders sold only an additional 0.13 million shares in the past year. AMGN has mounted a huge rally recently, up almost 30% since the end of November or over $12 billion in market cap. The stock recently reported guidance last week, with earnings missing slightly analyst estimates ($1.21 v/s $1.22) and revenue ahead of estimates ($3.97 billion v/s $3.92 billion); it currently trades at a discount 10-11 forward P/E and 2.8 P/B compared with averages of 22.4 and 11.3 for its peers in the biotech group, while earnings are projected to increase at a modest 6.2% annual rate from $5.33 in 2011, to $6.72 in 2013, at a compounded growth rate of 12.3%.
On top of these, some additional large insider trades on Tuesday included a $0.9 million purchase by four insiders at integrated utility Dominion Resources Inc. (NYSE:D); a $5.0 million purchase by Chairman of the Board & CEO John Hess at integrated oil & gas company Hess Corp. (NYSE:HES); a $1.4 million sale by three insiders at steel manufacturing company Nucor Corp. (NYSE:NUE); a $147 million sale by co-Founder and Director William Gates at Microsoft Corp. (NASDAQ:MSFT), pursuant to a 10b5-1 plan; and a $2.0 million sale by two insiders at ResMed Inc. (NYSE:RMD), a provider of medical equipment for treating and diagnosing sleep disordered breathing.
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 am long DAL.
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