Corporate Insiders Pull the Trigger on These 3 Stocks

In such a confused financial environment, investors are hard-pressed to find a market strategy that will bring positive results. The old saws may not be reliable. One way out of Read More... The post Corporate Insiders Pull the Trigger on These 3 Stocks appeared first on TipRanks Financial Blog.

Corporate Insiders Pull the Trigger on These 3 Stocks

In such a confused financial environment, investors are hard-pressed to find a market strategy that will bring positive results. The old saws may not be reliable. One way out of the quandary is to follow the insiders.

Corporate officers, entrusted by, and accountable to, shareholders, typically have deeper knowledge of their companies and business niches than is available to the average investor – and they can use that knowledge in their own trading. To avoid impropriety, insiders are required to make their trading public – a regulation that lets ordinary investors benefit from insider knowledge. 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.

Comstock Resources (CRK)

First on our list is a hydrocarbon exploration company. The recent collapse in oil prices may have taken the sheen off the oil markets, but that does not erase the fundamental fact of the energy industry: our economy runs on hydrocarbons, making fossil fuel exploration and extraction absolutely essential.

Comstock benefits from that. The company holds exploration rights in the Bakken Shale of the Dakotas, but by far the bulk of its operations are in the Haynesville/Bossier Shale formations on the Texas-Louisiana border. Comstock has over 5 billion cubic feet equivalent of natural gas reserves in this formation, and saw 2019 production rise 202% in 2019 to reach 756 million cubic feet equivalent per day.

Of interest to traders, Comstock earlier this week opened a public offering of 40 million common shares. Management announced that $210 million of the sale proceeds will be used to redeem the company’s Series A Convertible issue, and to reduce current outstanding bank debt. Comstock offered the sale at $5 per share, a price that represents a 20% discount from the pre-offer share value – and news of the sale saw share prices drop below the $5 mark. Investors were not pleased with the discount, or with the realization that Comstock is desperate to raise cash.

At the same time, three of Comstock’s officers have used this opportunity to pick up large blocks of shares. Chairman and CEO Jay Allison spent $190K on 40,000 shares, President and CFO Roland Burns bought 25,000 shares for $119K, and Board member Jim Turner acquired 75,000 shares for $355K. These are the first ‘informative’ insider trades on CRK in the last 8 months, and skew the insider sentiment on the stock sharply positive.

Welles Fitzpatrick, in his CRK note for SunTrust Robinson, writes, “The Haynesville is an underappreciated basin in our view, perhaps due to the lack of a public spotlight because of the dominance by privates. With minimal transportation headwinds and a low-cost resource base, CRK is set to deliver strong growth.”

Fitzpatrick sees Comstock as well-positioned to take advantage of future growth in the natural gas market. He rates the stock a Buy, and his $9 price target implies a hefty upside potential of 83% from the current share price of $4.93. (To watch Fitzpatrick’s track record, )

Comstock has not attracted a lot of analyst attention, but those who have reviewed the stock agree with the SunTrust assessment. CRK has a unanimous Strong Buy analyst consensus rating, based on 3 recent reviews. The stock’s $8.25 average price target suggests room for an 67% upside in the coming year. (See Comstock stock analysis on TipRanks)

General Motors (GM)

The next stock on our list is one of the market’s blue-chip stalwarts, General Motors. GM is emblematic of Detroit’s auto industry, from its headquarters in the Renaissance Center to its line-up of popular nameplates. GM sells over 10 million vehicles worldwide every year.

GM has reported annual profits for the past 10 years, and reported strong 62-cent earnings per share in Q1, despite the coronavirus epidemic. Looking forward, however, the company expects to see a net loss of $1.33 per share in calendar Q2, as the economic shutdown catches up.

Shares in GM have fared poorly in the current bear market cycle. GM lost 52% in the initial slide, and has trouble regaining traction since. The stock is still down 36% since its February peak, serious underperformance when compared to the S&P 500. In a move to raise capital, GM management announced last week a $4 billion offering in Senior Unsecured Notes, which will be redeemable in steps over the next 7 years. Sale proceeds are to be used for ‘corporate purposes.’

Two of GM’s board members, Patricia Russo and Theodore Solso, used the sale to boost their holdings in GM stock. Russo bought a block of 12,700 shares for $528K, while Solso laid down $143K for 1,561 shares. These two purchases are the first informative insider moves this quarter, and put a positive view on the insider sentiment here.

Deutsche Bank analyst Emmanuel Rosner agrees that now is the time to pick up shares of GM, and he upgrades his stance from Hold to Buy. In his comments, Rosner writes, “GM’s strong 1Q performance and forward-looking outlook, in our view demonstrate the benefit from its proactive actions to transform the business, right size its costs and boost profitability. They should leave GM best positioned to weather challenging 2Q conditions, and yield considerable improvement in profit and free cash flow in 2H and into 2021.”

Rosner also raised his price target here, from $25 to $30, reflecting his upbeat outlook. The new price target suggests a robust 21% upside potential for the stock. (To watch Rosner’s track record, )

GM is one of the corporate world’s proven survivors, and Wall Street is mostly optimistic about its path forward. The stock has 11 recent reviews, including 8 Buys, 2 Holds, and 1 Sell, making the analyst consensus rating a Moderate Buy. Shares are priced at $24.69, and the average price target of $30.60 indicates a 24% upside potential. (See GM stock analysis on TipRanks)

Zions Bancorporation (ZION)

Based in Salt Lake City, Zions is a bank holding company. Through its subsidiaries, Zions offers both commercial and personal banking options, including deposits, e-banking, foreign exchange, mortgage, and trade & finance services to customer throughout the United States. The shutdown of economic activity in Q1 hit ZION hard, and the company reported just 4 cents EPS for the quarter, badly missing the 48-cent expectation.

At the same time, Board Chairman Harris Simmons laid down over $1 million for 40,000 shares. While his price per share was undisclosed, his purchase was the first informative insider move in the past three months – and it shifted the insider sentiment on the stock from Negative to Neutral. Simmons made a major buy. His total holdings in ZION stock are now worth over $32 million.

ZION shares are depressed in the bear market, and have not gained in the current rally. That gives them a low point of entry, which combined with the stock’s high-yield dividend, make it an attractive buying proposition. The dividend is currently yielding 4.9%, 2.5x the average among S&P listed companies, and has been growing gradually for the past 11 years.

In his review of ZION stock, Piper Sandler analyst Brad Milsaps wrote, “…we thought [Q1 earnings were] generally positive and ZION posted results that reflected the tough operating environment. Loan and fee income growth were better than we expected, while expense control was also better… Although share buybacks are off the table for now, we think the $1.36 annual dividend is safe, thus we feel comfortable owning the stock at just 80% of tangible book value and a 4.5% dividend yield.”

Milsaps maintained his $35 price target to go with his Buy rating. His target implies an upside potential of 27% for the coming 12 months. (To watch Milsaps’ track record, )

Wall Street is cautious on ZION shares. The stock has a Moderate Buy analyst consensus rating, based on 3 Buys and 8 Holds set in the past month. Shares are selling for $29.22, and the $33.50 average price target indicates room for 15% upside growth this year. (See Zion Bancorp stock analysis at TipRanks)

To find good ideas for stocks trading at attractive valuations, visit TipRanks’ Best Stocks to Buy, a newly launched tool that unites all of TipRanks’ equity insights.

The post Corporate Insiders Pull the Trigger on These 3 Stocks appeared first on TipRanks Financial Blog.

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