All major U.S. stock indexes gained more than 1% on Monday, on the back of diminishing worries about the health of the U.S. economy and recovering crude oil prices. The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 228.67 points or 1.4% in the first trading session of this week, closing at 16,620.66. In fact, 29 of the 30 Dow components closed in the green on Monday, pushing the gauge into positive territory for February. Insider buying activity has been escalating in recent weeks, which coupled with optimistic U.S. economic data might represent a really positive sign for investors. Investors are becoming less concerned about mounting tales about a potential slowdown of the U.S. economy, which has woken up a strong appetite for U.S. equities once again. The Insider Monkey team looked through dozens of Form 4 filings submitted with the SEC on Monday and identified three companies with noteworthy insider buying, so this article will solely discuss the insider trading behavior and performance of those three companies.
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 imitating the 15 most popular small-cap stocks among hedge funds outperformed the market by nearly a percentage point per month between 1999 and 2012 (read more details here).
To start with, Bank of America Corp (NYSE:BAC) has seen two insiders purchase shares over the past week or so. Thong M. Nguyen, President of Retail Banking and Co-head of Consumer Banking, purchased 30,000 shares on Monday at a cost of $12.43 per share and lifted his overall holding to 40,035 shares. Director Frank P. Bramble Sr. bought a new stake of 75,000 shares last Tuesday at $12.32 apiece. The Director also holds an indirect ownership stake of 111,680 shares, which is owned by a revocable trust. Bank stocks have had a tough start to 2016, as investors have been jettisoning these stocks on worries about slowing economic growth, plummeting energy prices and a potential halt in the Fed’s tightening monetary policy. The broader market selloff has hit big banks, including Bank of America Corp (NYSE:BAC), particularly hard thus far in 2016; BAC shares are down 25% since the beginning of the year. Bank of America currently has a market value that is significantly below its book value, which is a strong reason for buying the stock at the moment. In fact, Bank of America is the cheapest big bank in the industry at the moment, save for Citigroup Inc. (NYSE:C). Furthermore, the stock trades at a forward P/E multiple of only 7.49, which is significantly below the average of 11.6 for the Financial sector. At the end of January, Sandler O’Neil upgraded Bank of America’s stock to ‘Buy’ from ‘Hold’. The hedge fund sentiment towards the stock was positive in the fourth quarter of 2015, as the number of money managers tracked by Insider Monkey bullish on the bank increased to 112 from 108 quarter-on-quarter. Boykin Curry’s Eagle Capital Management upped its position in Bank of America Corp (NYSE:BAC) by 4% during the December quarter to 31.64 million shares.