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Benzinga's Insider Buys Of The Week: Ecolab, Mondelez, Transocean And More

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  • Insider buying can be an encouraging signal for potential investors.
  • Bill Gates sharply increased his stake in a water and energy company.
  • Two energy and two food companies also saw notable insider buys.

Conventional wisdom says that insiders and 10 percent owners really only buy shares of a company for one reason -- they believe the stock price will rise and they want to profit from it. So insider buying can be an encouraging signal for potential investors, particularly during periods of uncertainty.

Here's a look at some notable insider purchases reported in the past week.

EcoLab

Bill Gates, a 10-percent owner of Ecolab Inc. (NASDAQ: ECL), has acquired almost 1.33 million of its shares at prices that ranged from $130.56 to $134.83 apiece. That cost him more than $176.96 million. It also brought his stake to over 29.82 million shares, out of a total float of around 287.13 million.

This global water and energy company also sold its phosphonate component business in China last week. Its shares pulled gained more than 3 percent during the week and ended Friday at $134.91, still near the purchase price range. The stock is trading in the same neighborhood as at the beginning of the year, though shares have changed hands at more than $140 apiece in the past year.

Mondelez

Mondelez International Inc (NASDAQ: MDLZ) had a director acquire more than 1.02 million shares. At an average per-share price of $44.27, that cost the director more than $45.53 million. Note the same director recently sold more than 18 million shares purchased in 2013, after the expiration of a lockup period.

Activist investor Nelson Peltz recently stepped down from the Mondelez board of directors. The shares are up more than 4 percent year to date and ended this past Friday's trading at $44.27 apiece, about the same as the director's purchase price. The stock has traded as high as about $47 in the past year.

Transocean

Transocean LTD (NYSE: RIG) saw a director and beneficial owner scoop up 2.00 million shares of this offshore driller recently. At prices ranging from $9.27 to $9.30 a share, those transactions totaled more than $18.60 million. That director is co-owner of Norwegian investment firm Perestroika, the beneficial owner.

Transocean is acquiring Songa Offshore, in which Perestroika also has a stake. Transocean shares closed this past Friday's trading at $9.58 apiece, so the timing of the insider buys looks fortunate. But the stock is down more than 12 percent year to date. Shares have traded as high as around $13 in the past 52 weeks.

See also: Goldman Sachs Investors Don't Seem Concerned About A Lloyd Blankfein Departure

Continental Resources

Since the first of the month, Continental Resources, Inc. (NYSE: CLR) Chairman and CEO Harold Hamm has added almost 57,900 additional shares of this energy exploration and production company. The prices between $48.42 and $50.99 a share, so the total for the acquisition was more than $2.86 million. The sales included shares of restricted common stock.

UBS initiated coverage of Continental Resources last week with a price target of $55. The share price was $51.85 at the end of the week, up modestly from the most recent insider purchase prices. But the stock traded above $58 back in January, and now it is down over 4 percent year to date.

Pinnacle Foods

And at Pinnacle Foods Inc (NYSE: PF), a director stepped up to the buy window. At prices that ranged from $56.80 to $57.03, the 20,000 shares of this convenience foods maker acquired cost that director more than $1.13 million. Note that the director, Muktesh Pant, is also CEO of Yum China.

Earlier this month, New Jersey-based Pinnacle Foods offered disappointing quarterly results. Its shares rose marginally — less than the S&P 500 — in the past week and closed on Friday at $57.54 apiece, providing a small gain for Pant. The stock traded at over $66 a share at one point in the past 52 weeks.

Posted-In: Bill Gates Continental Resources Ecolab Mondeléz Nelson Peltz Pinnacle FoodsNews Insider Trades

 

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