The Insider Buying Services


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Using the SEC definition of an insider as a director, manager or employee of the firm, you can compute the percent of stock held in a company by insiders. In companies like Microsoft [MSFT] and Oracle [ORCL], in which the founders still play a role in management and have substantial holdings, you will find insider holdings to be a high percent of the outstanding stock.

In Oracle, for instance, Larry Ellison owned in excess of 20% of the outstanding stock of the company in April 2003. In more mature companies that have been in existence for a while, insider holdings are reported to be much smaller. There are only a few companies where insiders hold 70%, 80% or even 90% of the outstanding stock.

Share buybacks is similar to the idea of insider buying, except, the company will authorize the repurchase of shares.

Share buybacks have the advantage of reducing the number of shares outstanding, which will increase EPS. Companies can then report higher EPS in later periods even though nothing has changed. Since Wall Street glorifies EPS, this should serve to increase the stock price.

Share repurchase plans also gives the view to the general public that management considers their company stock to be cheap enough to buy. This isn’t always the case, but the perception is true.

Another view is that the company is buying back shares because they have ample cash lying around. Repurchase programs are also announced publicly which provides greater exposure.

While insider buying leans towards cheap stocks, companies that announce share buybacks are well capitalized with operations are running smoothly. Both types of buying are shareholder friendly management, but which one will perform better?


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