As we go into the final turn of the year, expect some modest profit-taking in the Magnificent Seven. I expect some good opportunities if mortgage rates drop enough for people trapped in their homes to make a move. The purchase this week by National Storage’s Co-Chairman adds some credence to this. The stock has already rallied significantly, but storage should grow if we pick up the American tradition of musical chairs and home swapping.

As EV demand wanes and the threat of hydrocarbons being replaced by renewables seems more like fantasy than policy, oil prices fall to levels not seen in months. Natural gas prices are in free fall, trading at levels seldom seen in decades. Is the market pricing in a recession, supply glut, or price war?  Meanwhile, Venezuela threatens to take over its neighbor, Guana, oil fields, jeopardizing a major new source of global production.

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Finviz Chart

Name: Robert H. B. Baldwin
Position: Director
Transaction Date: 2023-12-08 Shares Bought: 3,500 Average Price Paid: $120.06 Cost: $420,210
Company: Global Payments Inc. (GPN)

Global Payments Inc. is a global payments technology firm that provides innovative software and services to over 4.0 million merchant locations and over 1,500 financial institutions in over 170 countries spanning North America, Europe, Asia-Pacific, and Latin America. The company’s technology, services, and team member knowledge enable it to deliver various solutions that help clients run their companies more effectively over a wide range of global channels. Payment processing services, merchant acceptance solutions, associated information, and other value-added services are provided by the payments technology sector to financial institutions, enterprises, and consumers. The sector is expanding due to growing merchant acceptance and usage of credit and debit cards, advancements in payment systems and processing technology, and migration to e-commerce, omnichannel, and contactless payment solutions.

Mr. Baldwin joined Heartland in 2000 as chief financial officer and rose to become president in 2007 before becoming vice chairman in 2012. Heartland Payment Systems was the sixth-biggest card transaction processor in the United States. Mr. Baldwin graduated from Princeton University with a bachelor’s degree in history and from Stanford University with an MBA. He and his wife, Margaret Sieck, reside in Princeton, New Jersey, where he serves on Global Payments Inc. and the Watershed Institute boards.

Opinion: Bank of American analysts call for GPN to be the top payment stock in 2024. That’s a big reach. It’s a challenging space, but this is the first insider buy of note in a long time. Baldwin has been a board member for at least 5 years, so I doubt this is the mandatory stock purchase. Look further into this one before taking the plunge, as it is just below a long-term resistance line.

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Name: David M Maura
Position: Executive Chairman and CEO
Transaction Date: 2023-11-27 Shares Bought: 40,000 Average Price Paid: $66.72 Cost: $2,668,700
Company: Spectrum Brands Holdings Inc. (SPB)

Spectrum Brands Holdings Inc is a worldwide branded consumer goods and home necessities firm with a diverse product portfolio. The corporate level determines global and regional strategic aims and financial objectives. Each segment executes stated strategic goals and meets certain financial targets. Each segment has a president in charge of sales and marketing activities and financial outcomes for all product lines within that segment. Finance and accounting, information technology, legal and human resources, supply chain, and commercial activities are backed by center-led shared service-enabling tasks. The following is a summary of the consolidated company, with net sales by segment and geographic area sold as a proportion of consolidated net sales for the fiscal year ending September 30, 2022.

David M. Maura served as  Executive Chairman and Chief Executive Officer in July 2018. Previously, he served as SPB Legacy’s Executive Chairman, beginning in January 2016, and Chief Executive Officer, beginning in April 2018. Previously, Mr. Maura was a Vice President and Senior Analyst at Wachovia Securities’ High Yield Group, covering numerous consumer goods, service, and retail firms. Mr. Maura started his work with ZPR Investment Management as a Financial Analyst. Mr. Maura was the Chairman, President, and Chief Executive Officer of Mosaic Acquisition Corp., a special purpose acquisition company, from October 2017 to January 2020, when the firm merged with Vivint Smart Home, Inc. Mr. Maura has a B.S. in Business Administration from Stetson University and is a CFA charter holder.

Opinion: The stock has had a huge pop since Maura bought $2.6M on the 9.5% Q4 earnings miss and subsequent analyst downgrades.  This is clearly a sign of animal spirits returning to the insider buying game. Remember, the “short swing” rule restricts insiders.  They can’t go in and out of their stock within 6 months without disgorging their profits.

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Name: Ronald J. Lewis
Position: SR VP & COO
Transaction Date: 2023-11-21 Shares Bought: 4,637 Average Price Paid: $53.91 Cost: $249,976
Company: Ball Corp (BALL)

Ball Corporation is a global leader in aluminum packaging for the beverage, personal care, and home goods sectors. The corporation was founded in 1880 and incorporated in 1922 in Indiana, United States of America. The company’s sustainable aluminum packaging materials are made in locations all around the globe for various end purposes. Within the aerospace industry, the corporation also provides aerospace and other technology and services to governmental and commercial clients. Aluminum beverage containers are the company’s most popular product. However, it also manufactures extruded aluminum aerosol containers, reclosable aluminum bottles in various consumer categories, aluminum slugs, and aluminum cups. The aluminum packaging products are sold internationally to big multinational beverage, personal care, and home product firms with which the company has long-term ties.

Ronald James Lewis is the president of Packaging at Ball Corp. and serves on the boards of Ball Beverage Packaging UK Ltd., Ball Beverage Packaging Holdings UK Ltd., and Ball Beverage Packaging Europe Ltd. Mr. Lewis has previously served as Chief Supply Chain Officer at Coca-Cola European Partners Plc, President and CEO of Coca-Cola Bottlers Sales & Services Co. LLC, Senior Vice president of Chain at Coca-Cola Enterprises, Inc., Chief Procurement Officer, and Vice President at The Coca-Cola Co., and Senior Vice President at Coca-Cola Refreshments, Inc. Ronald James Lewis earned a bachelor’s degree from Montana State University and a master’s degree from the Kellogg School of Management.

Opinion: Insiders have been buying this stock for some time. I think, eventually, there will be a separation of the dominant aluminum can franchise and the defense business. I’m sure investment bankers have been suggesting that for years.

 

 

Finviz Chart

Name: Helen W Cornell
Position: Director
Transaction Date: 2023-11-30 Shares Bought: 6,491 Average Price Paid: $38.43 Cost: $249,423
Company: Hillenbrand Inc. (HI)

Hillenbrand is a multinational industrial corporation that serves clients all over the globe with highly developed processing equipment and solutions. The firm’s portfolio comprises prominent industrial brands serving broad, appealing end markets such as durable plastics, food, and recycling. The organization pursues excellence, cooperation, and innovation to shape solutions that best serve the people, customers, and communities, guided by the Purpose, Shape What Matters For TomorrowTM. Customers chose Hillenbrand because of its reputation for developing, producing, and servicing highly engineered, mission-critical equipment and solutions that satisfy their specific and complicated processing needs.

Helen W. Cornell is now the Chairman of Hillenbrand, Inc. and the President of Gardner Denver Thomas, Inc. Ms. Cornell also serves on the board of directors of Brescia University, Dot Foods, Inc., and Dot Family Holdings LLC. Helen W. Cornell formerly served as Chairman, President, and Chief Executive Officer of Owensboro Grain Co. LLC, as well as Chief Financial Officer and Executive Vice President of Gardner Denver, Inc. She earned her bachelor’s degree at the University of Kentucky and her MBA at Vanderbilt University.

Opinion: Pundits argue the economy is doing just fine, but this is the first year in five that Hillenbrand Inc. (HI) has had quarter-over-quarter growth. I doubt it’s because there is a big increase in mortality. You could argue the economy is so weak that people are trading down on caskets. I haven’t listened to the earnings webcast. The dying space just doesn’t  interest for a septuagenarian like myself

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Name: Arlen Dale Nordhagen
Position: Vice Chair/Director
Transaction Date: 2023-12-05  Shares Bought: 10,000 Average Price Paid: $35.92 Cost: $359,200
Company: National Storage Affiliates Trust (NSA)

National Storage Affiliates Trust was established in Maryland as a fully integrated, self-administered, and self-managed real estate investment trust. To conduct the business, which is centered on the ownership, operation, and acquisition of self-storage properties primarily located within the top 100 metropolitan statistical areas across the United States, the company serves as the sole general partner of the operating partnership subsidiary, NSA OP, LP, a Delaware limited partnership formed on February 13, 2013. As of December 31, 2021, the firm has ownership stakes and was the operator of 1,050 self-storage facilities spread over 42 states and Puerto Rico.

Arlen D. Nordhagen is the Executive Chairman of the Board of Trustees and a co-founder of NSA. Arlen co-founded SecurCare Self Storage, the forerunner of NSA, in 1988 and has worked in the self-storage sector for more than 30 years. From 1999 through 2013, he led SecurCare as president and chief executive officer. Arlen earned a master’s degree in business administration with honors from Harvard University and a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering with distinction from the University of North Dakota. Arlen founded MMM Healthcare, Inc., the largest Medicare Advantage health insurance carrier in Puerto Rico, in addition to securing.

Opinion: It was good to see insiders at National Storage get back in their stock. This makes a lot of sense if rates have not only peaked but home mortgages will drop significantly and free up homeowners trapped in their mortgages that would like to sell their house. Moving generates storage and with a 6% yield and some positive growth this could be a big winner.

 

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Name: Graham G. Walmsley
Position: Director
Transaction Date: 2023-11-30 Shares Bought: 100,000 Average Price Paid: $16.95 Cost: $1,694,565
Company: Akero Therapeutics Inc. (AKRO)

Akero Therapeutics Inc. is a clinical-stage firm committed to discovering transformative therapeutics for patients suffering from catastrophic metabolic illnesses with high unmet medical needs, such as non-alcoholic steatohepatitis, or NASH, a condition with no authorized therapy. NASH is a severe type of NAFLD marked by inflammation and fibrosis in the liver, which may proceed to cirrhosis, liver failure, malignancy, and death. EFX, or Efruxifermin, is an analog of fibroblast growth factor 21, or FGF21, an endogenously generated hormone that protects against cellular stress and controls lipid, carbohydrate, and protein metabolism throughout the body. The company thinks EFX has the potential to be a best-in-class drug for treating NASH if authorized, based on statistically significant fibrosis regression and NASH resolution in patients with biopsy-confirmed pre-cirrhotic NASH and consistent outcomes across numerous clinical studies.

Graham Walmsley, M.D., Ph.D., has been a board of directors member since February 2020. Dr. Walmsley has been a Founding Member and Managing Partner of Logos Global Management, LP, a biotechnology-focused hedge fund, since August 2019. From July 2016 until August 2019, he was a Principal at Versant Ventures, a healthcare-focused venture capital company. Dr. Walmsley was the Head of Business Development at Pipeline Therapeutics Inc. from April 2018 to December 2018 and the Head of Business Development at Jecure Therapeutics, Inc. He now serves on the board of directors of Akero Therapeutics, a clinical-stage biotechnology business. Dr. Walmsley earned a B.A. in Molecular and Cell Biology from the University of California, Berkeley, in June 2009 and a Ph.D. and M.D. in Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine from Stanford University School of Medicine in June 2016 and June 2018, respectively.

Opinion: Another binary outcome.  Walmsley is putting his money behind his convictions. Considering  his impressive background this is worth a bet now that the bottom fell  after  a disappointing data read out in early October.         

  Finviz Chart

Name: Thomas L Jr Carter
Position: CEO, President, and Chairman
Transaction Date: 2023-12-07 Shares Bought: 31,075 Average Price Paid: $16.00 Cost: $497,232
Company: Black Stone Minerals L.P. (BSM)

Black Stone Minerals L.P. is one of the United States’ biggest owners and managers of oil and natural gas mineral holdings. The company’s main activity is to actively manage and increase the value of current mineral and royalty assets while broadening the asset base through the purchase of new mineral and royalty holdings. The company adds value by letting people know about mineral properties that are available for lease, coming up with creative ways to structure lease agreements to encourage and speed up drilling, and carefully choosing which lessees to work with on a working interest basis. The company thinks that its wide range of assets and long-lasting, non-cost-bearing mineral and royalty interests will lead to consistent production and reserves over time. This will allow it to give unitholders the vast majority of its cash flow.

Mr. Carter served as President, Chief Executive Officer, and Chairman of the General Partner from November 2014 until June 2018. Mr. Carter started BSMC, which was the company before us. From 1998 to 2015, he was also President, CEO, and Chairman of Black Stone Natural Resources, L.L.C., which was BSMC’s previous general partner. Mr. Carter also established BSMC. Mr. Carter was the managing general partner of W.T. from 1987 until 1992. Carter & Bro., the forerunner of the general partner, and Black Stone Energy Company from 1980 to the present. Mr. Carter founded Black Stone Energy Company, BSMC’s operating and exploratory division, in 1980. Mr. Carter earned a B.B.A. and an MBA from the University of Texas at Austin. Mr. Carter has been a director of Carrizo Oil & Gas Inc. since 2005.

Opinion: Oil and particularly natural gas have been on a steep decline. It’s hard to say exactly why but it usually is too much supply and not enough demand. Speculators play a larger that life role in this too. Energy is far more price inelastic than the market gives it credit. At least Mr. Carter must think this way as he’s been buying millions of dollars of Black Stone Minerals and collecting that current hefty 11.66% dividend

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Name: Ann S. Gerdin Revocable Trust, Angela K Janssen, Ann S Gerdin, Julie J Durr
Position: Co-Trustee of 10% Owner/10% Owner
Transaction Date: 2023-12-05 Shares Bought: 44,479 Average Price Paid: $13.75 Cost: $611,431
Company: Heartland Express Inc (HTLD)

Heartland Express, Inc. is a short-to-medium and long-haul freight carrier that operates in the United States and Canada. It mainly serves shippers with countrywide asset-based dry van truckload service, cross-border freight and other transportation services, and temperature-controlled truckload services. Heartland Express and Millis Transfer are two of the company’s brand names. Its primary customers include merchants and manufacturers in the consumer goods, appliances, food, and automotive sectors. Heartland Express, Inc. was established in 1978 and is based in North Liberty, Iowa.

Gerdin Family Investments LP is co-founded by Ann S. Gerdin Revocable Trust, Mr. Gerdin, Mrs. Durr, and Mrs. Janssen. Mrs. Durr, Mrs. Janssen, and Mrs. Gerdin are co-trustees of the Ann S. Gerdin Revocable Trust.

Opinion: They have steadily buying their stock, and I’m thinking it’s the uptick in the cross-Mexican USA border traffic from the great reshoring. I haven’t been able to determine the percentage of their Mexican business but I plan on calling investor relations next week and reading some analyst reports and listening to earnings webcasts. New info from Bing – However, Heartland Express recently acquired Contract Freighters, a truckload carrier with a strong presence in Mexico 1. The acquisition includes CFI Logistica operations in Mexico, which has a network of nearly 200 C-TPAT certified Mexico carrier partners 1. This acquisition is expected to help Heartland capitalize on the expected long-term freight volume benefits of near-shoring activity by manufacturer1. https://sl.bing.net/ijeN3BTI9EO

Finviz Chart

Name: David C. Rockecharlie
Position: Chief Executive Officer
Transaction Date: 2023-12-06 Shares Bought: 20,000 Average Price Paid: $11.32 Cost: $226,400
Company: Crescent Energy Co. (CRGY)

Crescent Energy Co. is a well-capitalized independent energy firm in the United States with a portfolio of low-decline assets in established locations throughout the lower 48 states that provide significant cash flow backed by a stable production base. The company’s core leadership team is a collection of seasoned investment, financial, and industry experts who have continued to carry out the company’s strategy since 2011. The firm seeks to generate excellent risk-adjusted investment returns and consistent cash flows throughout cycles by applying a distinctive strategy to investing in the oil and gas business. The company’s approach leverages a unique business model that blends an investor perspective with extensive operational experience to pursue a cash flow-based investment mandate centered on operated working interests with an active risk management strategy.

David C. Rockecharlie has been the Chief Executive Officer of Crescent Energy Company and a director on Crescent’s Board since December 2021. Before that, he was the Chief Executive Officer and a member of the Board of Crescent’s predecessor business. Mr. Rockecharlie joined KKR in 2011 and is now a Partner and Head of KKR’s Energy Real Assets unit, as well as the Chairman of the KKR Energy Investment Committee. Rockecharlie was co-founder and co-CEO of RPM Energy, LLC, a privately held oil and gas firm, before joining KKR. As an energy investment banker, Mr. Rockecharlie started his career at S.G. Warburg and Donaldson, Lufkin & Jenrette. Mr. Rockecharlie graduated from Princeton University with an A.B., magna cum laude.

Opinion: 

Finviz Chart

Name: WG Biotech ApS
Position: Director
Transaction Date: 2023-11-29 Shares Bought: 51,837 Average Price Paid: $5.97 Cost: $309,477
Company: Y-mAbs Therapeutics Inc. (YMAB)

Y-mAbs Therapeutics Inc. is a commercial-stage biopharmaceutical business focusing on developing and commercializing new, antibody-based cancer therapy treatments. The firm is developing a diverse portfolio of novel medicines using its patented antibody platforms and strong experience in antibodies. The company’s sole licensed medicine, DANYELZA®, was granted rapid clearance by the United States Food and Medicine Administration, or the FDA, for the treatment in November 2020. DANYELZA is being commercialized in the United States and will begin distribution in February 2021. The business announced a distribution deal with WEP Clinical Ltd., or WEP, in December 2022 in conjunction with an early access program for DANYELZA throughout Europe and Asia.

Biotech ApS WG is a director of Y-Mabs Therapeutics Inc. Director Biotech Wg’s Strategic Investment in Y-mAbs Therapeutics Inc (YMAB).

Opinion:  According to Post on the Fly, Reports Q3 revenue $20.5M, consensus $20.93M ..”We delivered $20 M in DANYELZA or naxitamab-gqgk net product sales in the third quarter of 2023, reflecting 59% growth compared to the same period in 2022, as sales continued trending upward since our initial launch,” said Mike Rossi, President and Chief Executive Officer. “Our U.S. commercial team has made excellent progress by penetrating more high-volume Children’s Oncology Group sites while our ex-U.S. partners continue to gain further traction with physicians prescribing DANYELZA across Europe and China for relapsed or refractory high-risk neuroblastoma patients.” Mr. Rossi continued, “Supported by a solid financial foundation, we have advanced our novel SADA radioimmunotherapy platform with the continued execution of our Phase 1 GD2-SADA trial and the recent Investigational New Drug clearance of our CD38-SADA program. With existing cash and cash equivalents anticipated to support our business operations as currently planned into 2027, a growing commercial product in DANYELZA, and a differentiated radioimmunotherapy platform in SADA, we believe Y-mAbs is on a path to potentially transform the treatment paradigm for a variety of cancers and improve patients’ lives.”

 

Finviz Chart

Name: Scott Wagner
Position: Interim Chief Executive Officer
Transaction Date: 2023-11-30 Shares Bought: 21,652 Average Price Paid: $5.76 Cost: $124,806
Company: GoodRx Holdings Inc. (GDRX)

GoodRx was developed to address the problems customers encounter when understanding, accessing, and financing healthcare. The company began with a prescription price comparison tool, providing consumers free access to lower-cost medication. Today, the company believes that the expanded platform improves the health and financial well-being of American families by providing easy access to price transparency and affordability solutions for generic and brand medications for both consumers and healthcare providers, as well as affordable and convenient medical provider consultations and lab tests, as well as other healthcare and wellness related content. The company sees great growth potential as the company continues to attract new consumers through existing offers, develop new offerings to address additional healthcare consumers’ needs, and enhance healthcare affordability and access for all Americans.

Scott Wagner has been serving as Interim CEO since April 2023. Scott formerly served as GoDaddy’s Chief Executive Officer and President/ Chief Financial Officer/Chief Operating Officer from 2012 until 2019. Scott came to GoDaddy from Kohlberg Kravis Roberts, where he was a Partner from 2000 to 2012. Scott now serves on the boards of Bill and DoubleVerify, as well as GoFundMe and Kajabi, both public companies. He also serves on the Yale School of Engineering and Applied Sciences Leadership Council. Scott graduated from Yale University with a B.A. in Economics and Harvard Business School with an M.B.A.

Opinion: I promised you I’d do more research on this one, and I’m just hoping to find more.  This is an overly complex business plan but with insider buying there could be something up. It’s a small speculation at best.

 


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Insiders sell the stock for many reasons, but they generally buy for just one – to make money. You’ve always heard the best information is inside information.  Everyone with any stock market experience pays close attention to what insiders are doing.  After all, who knows a business better than the people running it?  Officers, directors, and 10% owners are required to inform the public through a Form 4 Filing of any transaction, buy, sell, exercise, or any other within 48 hours of doing so. This info is available for free from the SEC’s Web site, Edgar, although we subscribe to SECForm4  as they provide a way to manage and make sense of the vast realms of data. I’ve tried a lot of vendors. SECForm4 is one of the smaller ones, but I like supporting Frank. He is not arrogant. He’s helpful and has great prices.

The bar is different from selling because the natural state of management is to be a seller. This is because most companies provide significant amounts of management compensation packages as stock and options. Therefore, we analyze unusual patterns with selling, such as insiders selling 25 percent or more of their holdings or multiple insiders selling near 52-week lows. Another red flag is large planned sale programs that start without warning. Unfortunately, the public information disclosure requirements about these programs, referred to as Rule 10b5-1, are horrendously poor. Also, planned sales that pop up out of nowhere are basically sales and are seeking cover under this corporate welfare loophole. I also generally ignore 10 percent shareholders as they tend to be OPM (other people’s money) and perhaps not the smart money on which we are trying to read the tea leaves. I say generally because some 10% shareholders are great investors. Think Warren  Buffett and others

Of course, insiders can also be wrong about their Company’s prospects. Don’t let anyone fool you into believing they never make mistakes.  Do your own analysis. They can easily be wrong, and in many cases, maybe most cases, have no more idea what the future may hold than you or me. In short, you can lose money following them.  We have, and we curse aloud; what were they thinking!

We like Fly on the Wall for keeping up with what events might be happening, analysts’ comments, and whatever else could be moving the stock.  Dow Jones news service is an essential tool, but many services pick up their feed like they do Bloomberg. For quick financial analysis, it’s hard to beat Old School Value.

A big callout to my assistant Ambreen who sets up this conversation by listing the notable buys that I’ve identified.  She probes the 10k for a reasonable description of the business. I’ve found that to be the most accurate and succinct place to find out what a business actually does.

This blog is solely for educational purposes and the author’s own amusement.  Think of the blog as part of my personal investment journal that I am willing to share with the DIY investor.  There are also many parts that I am not willing to share if I think it could influence trading action or be detrimental to the Fund’s partners. We could be long, short, or have no position at all in any of the stocks mentioned and express no written or implied obligation to disclose any of that.

The Insiders Fund is for qualified investors and by Prospectus only. Nothing herein should be construed otherwise.  THE INSIDERS FUND prefers to invest in companies at or near prices that management has been willing to invest significant amounts of their own money in, but we have no requirement to do so. We also invest in many companies in anticipation of future insider buying or with the expectation that there is none at all.

You can be an insider, too– by clicking here

Prosperous Trading,

Harvey Sax
Insomniac Hedge Fund Guy