When insiders sell a stock, investors do not always get a clear signal on what that means. Automatic selling could send false bearish signals that are not there. Conversely, insiders buying shares suggests that the executive group is bullish on the company’s near-term prospects. Chances are low that insiders would buy shares if they did not believe that markets undervalued the company.
Investors may search out large-capitalization companies that had insiders buying shares in recent months. There are four technology companies, two consumer discretionary firms and one health company that have reported notable insider buying activities. Even more compelling with these seven companies is that they may suit investors looking for a good deal. Their share prices either fell hard recently or their stocks are already trading at favorably low valuations.
Despite trading close to 52-week highs, insider buying of Intel stock suggests James Goetz is confident in the chip giant’s future. Technology fans are certain that Advanced Micro Devices (NASDAQ:AMD) will take its notebook, PC and server market share through Ryzen 4000, Ryzen and EPYC chips, respectively. But value investors unwilling to overpay for AMD stock may hold Intel (NASDAQ:INTC) instead.
The dividend yield of 2.1%, price-to-earnings ratio below 14 times and its ambitions beyond PC chips are just a few reasons to hold the stock.
At the Mobileye Media & Customer Conference, Intel highlighted the growth of Mobileye chip shipments, which topped 17.4 million in 2019. This is up from 12.4 million in 2018. With 33 design wins and 16 product launches in 2019, Intel’s Mobileye offers tremendous growth ahead. For example, its chips supply front camera functions for driver assistance in automobiles. Its conditional autonomy features include driver monitoring and surround vision.
In 2022, the unit expects to have “mobility as a service” ready. One day, Mobileye will have full autonomy solutions for the auto market.
Tesla (NASDAQ:TSLA) popularized the idea of self-driving electric vehicles, but Intel has tremendous revenue growth opportunities as it sells more autonomous driving chip solutions on the market.
Per simplywall.st, the stock is historically inexpensive and also offers a healthy dividend yield. Its price-earnings to growth ratio is one risk to watch out for. At 6.4 times, the value relative to future growth is poor. In that same vein, analysts are neutral on the upside for INTC stock, with an average price target of $58. Alternatively, a 5-year discounted cash flow model that assumes revenue growing 5% annually implies a fair value of near $61.
Director Ronald Sugar’s buying of 35,000 Uber (NYSE:UBER) shares at $27.20 late last year proved timely. The stock rallied since then, and might break out after its earnings report on Feb. 6. Despite the stock showing strong performance, Uber has some major near-term challenges to overcome.
The company dropped upfront pricing for most Californian riders. By showing customers only estimated prices, removing rewards for frequent users and allowing drivers to turn down requests, Uber wants to get around what’s being dubbed as the “gig-worker law.” California’s Assembly Bill 5 seeks to classify workers as employees. This gives them more labor rights but increases Uber’s costs.
To shift from ride-hailing toward technology, Uber added Korean automotive giant Hyundai (OTCMKTS:HYMTF) as its newest partner on electric air taxi development. Hyundai thinks it will have an urban air mobility service in 2028. But Uber investors are not looking at an air taxi as a source of revenue growth. Still, it does show that Uber is getting ahead of the technology curve and is seeking growth from innovation.
Uber will continue investing in its marketplace to drive top-line and margin growth. It will invest more in its premium products, offering more options for customers. And it will have the financial discipline to minimize operating cost growth.
Looking ahead to its earnings call on Feb. 6, Uber will give investors its full-year 2020 guidance. Expect strong ride usage driving revenue and plans for operating expenses falling throughout this year. Investors may prefer to play it safe by forecasting revenue falling to 25% annually. In this 5-year DCF model, Uber stock may have a downside risk of 26%.
A few analyst upgrades create a strong uptrend in CRM stock at the beginning of this year. RBC and Jefferies posted positive reports on the company. Last month, Cowen called the stock the best idea of 2020.
On Dec. 3, Salesforce reported revenue growing a solid 33% to $4.5 billion. Earnings per share of 75 cents were ahead of consensus estimates. The cloud software firm has strong momentum and the business is getting stronger. The revenue growth should impress even the most bearish investor. The company is delivering on good experiences and is exceeding expectations. This is attracting more companies from all over the world.
Salesforce has a simple approach: It centers its solution on the customer. So, they see the company as its trusted advisor.
The company cited many big companies as customers, including Boeing (NYSE:BA), Siemens, CarMax (NYSE:KMX) and Corteva (NYSE:CTVA). So, by creating a 360-degree view of its customers, Salesforce is helping offer a better customer experience. Since no other software company offers this level of customer management, Salesforce has a strong moat.
Fastly posted third-quarter revenue growing $49.8 million, up 35% year-over-year. It lost 9 cents a share on a GAAP basis. In Q4, it still expects a loss between 10 cents and 13 cents. And for the full-year 2019, it expects revenue as high as $198 million.
Fastly is cutting costs and seeking operating leverage opportunities to reach a path of profitability. Its network attracts developers who continue to use more of its platform and tools. So long as more developers join the service and use its newer tools, Fastly’s revenue growth could accelerate. Last quarter, it added a developer library. So, by including ready-to-deploy code and solution patterns, users may work more effectively and save on development time.
New product launches, such as Compute@Edge, a partnership with HashiCorp and tools for big data analysis, may bring on more developers in the months to come. Raised full-year revenue expectations suggest that the company is already noticing strong demand for its new products.
Fastly does not get much investor coverage and has only one analyst setting a $24 price target. Investors may assume revenue growing as low as 8% in a 10-year DCF revenue exit model. In this forecast, the stock is worth around $21.
General Electric (GE)
General Electric (NYSE:GE) CEO Larry Culp bought over 300,000 more GE shares in August 2019, at a price just over $9 a share. The stock traded recently at 52-week highs, meaning that buy appreciated well for Culp.
Known for its ties to inventor Thomas Edison, GE was formed from two companies merging in 1892. Aviation, healthcare and power made up its core businesses back in 2018. Today, it is shifting its focus out of healthcare and into power regeneration.
That move will pay off. Looking ahead, General Electric set a priority to turn around its hydro and grid business. On its conference call, Culp said:
“At Renewable Energy, we’re well positioned to capitalize on the energy transition. Orders and revenues were up double digits again, as we delivered approximately 1,400 turbines and repower kits in the quarter. We’re seeing strength in international orders and order pricing continues to improve.”
General Electric posted renewable energy orders growing 30% to $5 billion. Its overall backlog of $27 billion is up 19% year-over-year.
GE knows it cannot ignore the renewables energy business because of the addressable market size. The International Energy Agency said that offshore wind energy is a $1 trillion market by 2040. General Electric itself must deliver on better profitability as its business grows.
The company is not yet there. Margins fell roughly 2% in renewables in the last quarter. As its cost reduction programs progress and onshore volumes grow, GE’s profitability will improve.
While it wasn’t as immediate, a December insider buy of Cigna (NYSE:CI) stock by Eric Foss paid off. Foss bought 10,200 shares of Cigna at about $195 a share on Dec. 3. Those shares topped over $210 in early January.
So, is it too late for you to join in?
When it next reports results on Feb. 6, the company will likely announce another strong quarter. In the third quarter, it posted earnings growing 14% to $1.4 billion, or $3.57 a share. Revenue more than doubled to $38.6 billion. The company issued a non-GAAP EPS forecast of $16.80-$17.00 for FY 2019. For 2020, it expects retention of a healthy 97%.
Cigna announced the sale of its Group Life and Disability Insurance unit in December. This allows it to raise its share buyback program by a lofty $4 billion. And since the unit sale will bring in $6.3 billion, Cigna may use some of those funds to reduce its debt.
In addition to disciplined balance sheet management, Cigna is integrating its Express Scripts unit well. It already expects top-line growth of 8%-10%. Thanks to international growth, enterprise growth will be 6% to 8%. Strong pharmacy solutions outside of the U.S. are driving positive results. And as Cigna adds artificial intelligence predictive indicators and predictive modeling against its benefits business, the company will squeeze out more profits.
Conagra Brands (CAG)
Conagra Brands (NYSE:CAG) stock spiked to the $35 level after the processed and packaged goods supplier reported strong quarterly results. Even though an insider bought the stock at higher prices, valuations are compelling at 19.9 times earnings. On Jan. 2, Craig Omtvedt bought 40,000 shares at a price of $33.99 for a cost of about $1.4 million.
The company posted its key initiatives that were all on track. Frozen and snacks, plus Hunt’s Tomato and Chef Boyardee all showed strength. And even though the debt-to-equity of 1.4 times is unfavorable, the company continues to pay down debt. As year-to-date margins rose 21 basis points to 16.5%, integration and synergies will drive costs lower.
In the Q3 period, Conagra found $42 million in savings, and now forecasts $305 million in upside synergies. This is up from a prior $285 million estimate.
Conagra forecasts that in fiscal 2020 its product launch cycle will lead to improving results in the second half of the year. Although CAG stock initially soared on this news, the markets adjusted after processing the forecast timeline.
Analysts have a modest upside price target on Conagra stock. Based on 11 analyst reports, the average price target is $34.73, which implies about 5% of upside from its current share price. Conversely, a cautious investor may model a 5-year DCF revenue exit model. Assuming revenue stalls in that time frame, the stock is trading at a fair value of around $33.
As of this writing, Chris Lau did not hold a position in any of the aforementioned securities.