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Top Insider Trades 8/23/12: ZZ, WFM, HLSS, EL

|Includes: AMZN, EL, HLSS, Tempur Sealy International Inc. (TPX)

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In a victory for common sense, the trading behavior of company executives, directors, and large shareholders in the stocks of firms they're registered "insiders" at have been proven profitable to monitor by both academic studies and (more importantly) the experience of professional investors.

Below are lists of the top 10 mainly open-market insider purchases and sales filed at the Securities and Exchange Commission Thursday, August 23, 2012 as ranked by dollar value.

Please note, however, that these are factual lists (with edits to remove some noise), not buy and sell recommendations. Dollar value is only one metric to assess the importance of an insider transaction, and, frankly, often not even the most important metric that determines if an insider transaction is significant.

We should also point out that we are presently in a slow filing time for insiders because many companies still have their trading windows closed to their executives until their June quarter earnings are released.

But at, we find new investment ideas just about every day using these and more intricate insider screens to determine where we should focus our subsequent fundamental and technical analysis. And while stocks don't (or shouldn't) move up or down based on insider activity alone, insiders tend to be good indicators of when real stock-moving events like earnings surprises, corporate actions, and new products may be in the offing.

So use these regular blog posts as the initial research tools they are meant to be, and click the links in the tables to analyze a company's or insider's full insider history. Also feel free to email with any questions on our proprietary insider data, and how it is best analyzed.

Insider Purchases
Filer Name Insider Titles Company Name Ticker Trans
Dollar Value
Murdock David H CB,DIR,BO Dole Food Co DOLE JB* $11,341,062
H Partners Management BO Sealy ZZ B $2,880,000
Case Stephen M DIR,BO Zipcar ZIP B $2,878,103
Erbey William C DIR Home Loan Svc HLSS B $535,477
Atzmon Menachem DIR Icts International ICTS JB* $270,564
Arnold Paul DIR H & E Equipment HEES B $186,764
Frost Phillip MD et al CEO,CB,BO Opko Health OPK B $153,402
Day John DIR Invesco Mortgage IVR JB* $149,700
Sanguinetti Kevin DIR Farm & Merch Banc FMCB JB* $131,250
Simmons Harold C CB,DIR,BO Valhi VHI B $131,240

Source: | Key to Insider Title and Trans Type Codes

Insider Sales
Filer Name Insider Titles Company Name Ticker Trans
Dollar Value
Green Equity Investors V DIR Whole Foods WFM S $43,203,252
Grat Trust William Lauder TT,BO Estee Lauder EL AS $6,965,408
Sugarman Steven CEO,DIR First Pactrust Banc FPTB JS* $5,013,924
Barton Richard N CB,DIR,BO Zillow Z AS $3,420,802
Wood Donald C TT,PR,CEO,DIR Federal Rlty Inv Tr FRT S $3,141,998
Anderson Christopher H DIR Douglas Emmett DEI S $2,347,000
Janetschek William J CFO Kkr And KKR S $2,179,500
Global Alpha BO Magnegas MNGA JS* $1,819,563
Green L Stephen DIR Active Network ACTV S $1,384,378
Mitarotonda James A DIR Schulman A SHLM S $1,217,933

Source: | Key to Insider Title and Trans Type Codes