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3 Struggling Companies Witnessing Heavy Insider Buying Activity

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All major U.S stock indexes experienced one of the best weeks in terms of gains in the past several months, and some companies’ insiders joined the crowd by buying more stock. Nevertheless, the insider buying activity slowed down last week relative to the previous one, while the ratio of insider buying over insider selling slightly increased week-over-week. The Standard and Poor’s 500 Index had one of its best weeks since December 2014, delivering a return of 3.3% for the week. It appears that investors are more confident in U.S equities at the moment, as the ambiguity and uncertainty around a potential rate hike and the pace of subsequent interest rate increases is slowly fading away. Without further ado, let’s check out the insider buying activity at three U.S-listed companies and the performance of those companies over the past few months.

Most investors can’t outperform the stock market by individually picking stocks because stock returns aren’t evenly distributed. A randomly picked stock has only a 35%-to-45% chance (depending on the investment horizon) to outperform the market. There are a few exceptions, one of which is when it comes to purchases made by corporate insiders. Academic research has shown that certain insider purchases historically outperformed the market by an average of seven percentage points per year. This effect is more pronounced in small-cap stocks. Another exception is the small-cap stock picks of hedge funds. Our research has shown that the 15 most popular small-cap stocks among hedge funds outperformed the market by nearly a percentage point per month between 1999 and 2012. We have been forward testing the performance of these stock picks since the end of August 2012 and they have returned 102% over the ensuing 38 months, outperforming the S&P 500 Index by more than 53 percentage points (read more details here). The trick is focusing only on the best small-cap stock picks of funds, not their large-cap stock picks which are extensively covered by analysts and followed by almost everybody.

Southern Copper Corp (NYSE:SCCO) had its Chairman purchase two sizable blocks of shares last week. German Larrea Mota-Velasco acquired 54,000 shares on Thursday and 112,000 shares on Wednesday at a weighted average price of $26.40, boosting his overall holdings to 2.54 million shares. The integrated producer of copper and other minerals has seen its stock decline by 3% since the beginning of the year, mainly as a result of lower copper prices. The average price of copper on the London Metal Exchange was $2.59 per pound in the first nine months of 2015, down by 17.8% year-over-year. The demand for copper has been mainly impacted by global macroeconomic issues and weakening demand from China. It is also worth pointing out that China’s consumption of copper will make up 46% of the world consumption in 2015, according to estimates. Even so, Southern Copper Corp (NYSE:SCCO)’s management is confident in the long-term prospects and fundamentals of the copper market, which can also explain the Chairman’s bullishness at the moment. Ten hedge funds tracked by Insider Monkey were invested in the producer of copper at the end of the third quarter, accumulating a mere 0.40% of the company’s outstanding shares. Steve Cohen’s Point72 Asset Management acquired a 1.77 million-share stake in Southern Copper Corp (NYSE:SCCO) during the September quarter.

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The second page of this daily insider trading article reveals the insider buying activity registered at Plains GP Holdings LP (NYSE:PAGP) and MAXIMUS Inc. (NYSE:MMS).

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