Insider Buying: 4 Stocks With Significant Recent CFO Buys

by: The Keating Letter

This week’s significant CFO insider buys features four companies, three financials and one in the retail space. Brown & Brown’s CFO made a very large buy compared to the others. If you’re interested in reviewing last week’s edition, please click here. Additionally, this week’s edition of large CEO insider buys can be found here.

Below are four stocks with significant recent CFO buys:

Brown & Brown (NYSE:BRO): CFO Cory Walker purchased 20,000 shares on July 21 for $21.82 per share. The total transaction was $436,400. Brown & Brown is a $3.1 billion market cap insurance broker with its headquarters in Florida. The stock was crushed on a disappointing earnings report on July 19. After trading near 52 week highs before the report, the stock is now more than 15% lower. It appears Walker is confident he is getting shares at an attractive price. Some astute investors also have significant stakes in Brown & Brown, including Chuck Royce, Tweedy Browne, and Ruane Cunniff.

Callaway Golf (NYSE:ELY): Callaway is a company that has been challenged since the economic slowdown. After trading in the high teens before the 2008 crash, Callaway has been stuck in the $6 to $10 range in the past two years. CFO Bradley Holiday decided to pick up 2,000 shares on July 28 for $6.35. In total Holiday owns 21,507 shares. Callaway makes golf clubs, balls, and other equipment and has significant exposure to Asia, especially Japan and competes against Nike (NYSE:NKE), and privately held Acushnet, previously owned by Fortune Brands (FO), and TaylorMade. I’ve traded Callaway in the past primarily based on their Price to Sales Ratio. Currently it’s at 0.4, which is about where it’s been at the last few years. Before that it was typically above one. The tough economic environment makes it difficult to predict if they’ll get back to their more traditional ratio.

Ken Fisher owns more than 5% of the company and Chuck Royce owns about 4.5%. CEO George Fellows resigned at the end of June, and it’s possible Holiday’s purchase is an attempt to demonstrate confidence in the interim CEO Tony Thornley.

Bank Mutual Corp. (NASDAQ:BKMU): CFO Michael Dosland bought 10,100 shares for himself and his wife on July 26 for an average price $3.75 per share. Bank Mutual is a $170 million market cap bank with 78 offices in Wisconsin, and one in Minnesota. I highlighted them in an article from February entitled “Three 52 Week Low Bank Stocks With Insider Buying Over the Last Week.” Bank Mutual took a big loss in December in order to pre-pay a high interest rate Federal Home Loan Bank advance. They swung back to a small profit in the two most recent quarters, excluding a non-cash impairment charge.

Principal Financial Group (NYSE:PFG): Principal Financial Group is an $8.8 billion market cap asset manager. CFO Terrance Lillis bought 682 shares on July 22 at $29.17 making the total transaction just under $20,000. If you’re interested in Principal Financial, I encourage you to read the following David Trainer article from Seeking Alpha in March to get a full picture. The company reports earnings after the bell today, August 1.

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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