Insiders Have Bought Pepsi, Cheesecake Factory, and More

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It’s common for company insiders to talk up their company’s stock, but it’s less common for them to actually buy. This is because- in addition to the fact that rosy predictions are sometimes less than honest- by buying more stock an insider is increasing their exposure to company-specific events rather than diversifying their wealth as is predicted by economic theory. As a result actual purchases should signal a particularly confident insider rather than one who is casually buying the stock, and it turns out that stock bought by insiders do have a slight outperformance effect read our analysis of studies on insider trading). Of course it’s impossible to copy every insider purchase, but we like to take at least a brief look at significant buys so that investors can do more research on stocks that seem appealing. Here are five stocks insiders have bought recently:

RENAISSANCE TECHNOLOGIES

Shona Brown, a member of PepsiCo, Inc. (NYSE:PEP)’s Board of Directors, bought 1,000 shares of stock at an average price of $75.33. The global beverage and snack company reported high earnings growth in the fourth quarter of 2012 versus a year earlier, but sales were actually down slightly and the current trailing earnings multiple looks a bit high at 20. We would want to see revenue growth before considering a purchase. Renaissance Technologies, whose success since inception has made founder Jim Simons a multi-billionaire, bought 2.6 million shares of Pepsi last quarter (see more stock picks from Renaissance Technologies).

Two insiders bought shares of The Cheesecake Factory Incorporated (NASDAQ:CAKE) generally between $34 and $35 per share. Consensus insider purchases are particularly likely- though not certain- to be bullish signals (learn more about consensus insider purchases). While earnings per share were up 9% in Q4 from levels in the fourth quarter of 2011, this was primarily due to buybacks with revenue and net income rising only 2-3%. Cheesecake Factory also trades at 20 times trailing earnings and while it’s good that the company is returning cash to shareholders we would be skeptical of this valuation as well.

Find three more stocks insiders have been buying:

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