3 Stocks Insiders Are Snapping Up  <font color="#6f6f6f">Yahoo Finance</font>

After the last few trading sessions, with the markets taking a nose-dive, investors can be excused for wondering if they’re doing something wrong. They’re not. Markets run in cycles, and are sensitive to Black Swan events, two factors that are on market watchers’ minds.

The economic expansion is in its eleventh year, a record streak. But with that longevity comes the worry – how much longer can this last? As for the Black Swans, the unpredictable events that hit the market but no one saw coming, one is in play right now. The coronavirus outbreak – emerging from China and now cropping up around the world – is disrupting trade and travel, with governments imposing quarantines and travel restrictions to try and cope as health officials warn that a pandemic could be on the horizon.

This all just brings us back to the question: how do you find investment-grade stocks in a volatile market? There isn’t one sure answer; plenty of investment strategies can steer you toward profits. But there is one possibility that might make investing easier – just follow the insiders.

Insiders – the corporate officers, board members, and others ‘in the know’ – don’t just manage the companies, they know the details. Legally, they are not supposed to trade that knowledge, or to blatantly trade on it, and disclosure rules by government regulators help to keep the insiders honest. Their honest stock transactions, however, can be highly informative. These are the people with the deepest knowledge of particular stocks. So, when they buy or sell, especially in bulk, take note!

The first stock we’ll look at is Bunge, a global player in the food and agriculture market. Bunge works with oilseeds and grains used to make high-protein feed for livestock, as well as edible oils for commercial customers. The company buys and sells, stores, transports, and processes the raw materials for the end products. In addition, Bunge has operations in the sugar business, with sugarcane, wheat, and corn growing operations, mills, and ethanol processing facilities.

Bunge’s niche is a profitable one, and it has consistently beaten earnings expectations over the past four quarters. The company’s Q4 beat, reporting EPS of $1.27 against a 22-cent forecast, was particularly strong. Consensus for the next report, due in the spring, is for 82 cents EPS.

Bunge also offers investors a nice dividend. The payment, of 50 cents quarterly, annualizes to $2, and gives a yield of 4.3%. Not to mention BG’s dividend history is reliable, 18 years long and going strong.

In recent days, no fewer than four insiders have made informative purchases on BG stock. These insiders include the CEO, CFO, and a member of the company’s Board of Directors – all high-level officers. Their transactions range in size from 3,750 shares worth over $199,000 to 37,000 shares now worth almost $2 million. Stock purchases on this level are more than just adjusting holdings for compensation purposes. And it gives BG stock a very positive confidence signal.

Next up is food and snack company Simply Good Foods, a mid-cap player formed just three years ago as the fruit of a corporate merger. It operates in the states of Connecticut and Colorado, offering a range of nutritional snack foods including confectionery products, ready-to-drink shakes, and nutrition bars.

SMPL released its fiscal Q1 results last month, and showed its third earnings beat in the last four quarters. EPS was 4.7% above estimates, at 22 cents, while revenue reflected a 26% annual gain and was reported at $152.15 million.

Two of SMPL’s board members have bought heavily into the stock this month. The buys range from 10,000 shares to 89,000, and the dollar amounts range from $229,700 to $1.99 million. These purchases are interesting considering the company’s recent acquisition of a competitor. SMPL paid out $1 billion in cash and credit to buy Quest Nutrition. Despite adding some $460 million to its loan balance, SMPL was still able to post impressive quarterly results. It’s a piece of public information that helps to underline the Directors’ confidence.

Last on our list today is a dollar stock. AquaBounty, based in Massachusetts, is a biotech company that focuses on genetically modified fish for farming. In short, AQB develops faster growing fish to make fish farming both more productive and more profitable. The company’s salmon has been approved for sale by both the US and Canadian governments. AquaBounty is also working on trout and tilapia strains.

Earlier this month, the company announced a drive to raise capital through a sale of common stock. The offering was for 9 million shares at $1.50 each. A few days later, board member Randal Kirk purchased over 5 million shares at $1.50. Kirk is a 10%-plus owner of the company. An informative buy, indeed – Kirk’s purchase can be taken as a signal of confidence.

AQB won’t report Q4 earnings until next week, but in Q3, the company beat the forecast by 22%. Looking ahead, the consensus is for continued improvement at the bottom line, as the company’s net loss moderates to just 1 cent per share.