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!
TipRanks has the tools to help you do just that. The Insiders’ Hot Stocks page shows which stocks top insiders are most active on, for both purchases and sales. You can sort insider trades by a variety of filters, including trading strategy. We’ve done some of the legwork for you, and pulled up three stocks with recent informative buy-side transactions. Here are the results.
Bunge, Ltd. (BG)
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.
This becomes clear when we consult with the analysts. 5-star analyst Kenneth Zaslow writes about BG for BMO Capital, saying, “BG’s EPS of $1.27 far exceeded consensus, as risk management, plant optimization, asset sales, and efficiency programs enabled BG to capture select opportunities, higher crush volumes, improved utilization rates, and strong oil margins… We are designating BG as our ‘Top Pick’ for 2020…”
Zaslow backs his Buy rating with a $72 price target, implying an upside potential of 53%. (To watch Zaslow’s track record, click here)
Even with just one recent Buy rating, BG shares are still looking strong. The stock’s average price target of $67 suggests a 43% upside from the share price of $46.87. (See Bunge stock analysis on TipRanks)
Simply Good Foods Company (SMPL)
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.
Wall Street is also confident in this company. Writing from Wells Fargo, 4-star analyst John Baumgartner says, “…we see an increasingly favorable 12-month risk/reward. We reiterate our thesis that FY20 revenue is setting up for a beat-and-raise path for both legacy Atkins and Quest…”
Baumgartner places a Buy rating here, along with a $35 price target that indicates room for 59% upside growth. (To watch Baumgartner’s track record, click here)
Deutsche Bank’s Faiza Alwy is also bullish. Alwy writes, “…solid trends in core bar and confection categories are helping drive robust growth. For legacy Atkins, this growth is entirely driven by velocity and attracting new consumers to the category who are focused on healthy eating – a trend that seems poised to continue longer-term.”
Alwy’s price target of $32 implies a 45% possible upside to back a Buy rating. (To watch Alwy’s track record, click here)
With 3 recent Buy-side ratings, SMPL gets a Strong Buy rating from the analyst consensus. Shares are selling for $22.06, and the $33 average price target suggests an upside growth potential of 50%. (See Simply Good Foods stock analysis on TipRanks)
AquaBounty Technologies, Inc. (AQB)
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.
AquaBounty has only one recent analyst review, by Ben Klieve of National Research. Klieve’s $5 price target on the stock shows the degree of his confidence: it implies an upside growth potential of 184% for AQB. That’s a fast-growing fish. (To watch Klieve’s track record, click here)
Klieve writes of the stock, “We believe in advance of its first harvest that the company will be able to formally announce customers are in hand, which we believe will not only better enable expansion but will also be a significant catalyst for the stock.” (See AQB price targets and analyst ratings on TipRanks)