Black And White Insider Buys

Insider buying picked up a little last week. Maybe, it’s a good sign for the stock market, but unfortunately, it’s more likely a sign that summer is coming to an end with corporate executives returning to their offices from their summer homes.

We had a few more options to choose from for this week’s highlighted insider buy. Some of the names we considered included:

  • Cerevel Therapeutics Holdings, Inc. (CERE)
  • Entravision Communications Corporation (EVC)
  • Leslie’s, Inc. (LESL)
  • Sabre Corporation (SABR)

But it was black and white as to which company with insider buying was this week’s pick, Zebra Technologies Corporation (ZBRA). It made the top of our list for a couple of reasons, cluster buying and past performance.

Zebra helps organizations monitor, anticipate, and accelerate workflows by empowering their frontline and ensuring that everyone and everything is visible, connected and fully optimized. ZBRA’s award-winning portfolio spans software to innovations in robotics, machine vision, automation and digital decisioning, all backed by a +50-year legacy in scanning, track-and-trace and mobile computing solutions. With an ecosystem of 10,000 partners across more than 100 countries, Zebra’s customers include over 80% of the Fortune 500.

A quartet of insiders bought a combined 7,100 shares of the logistics technology company for a total investment of more than $1.76 million since August 3, 2023. (1)


Director Frank Modruson, Director Richard Keyser, and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Bill Burns all purchased 1,000 shares for close to a quarter-million-dollars each. Executive Chairman Anders Gustafsson acquired 4,100 shares for more than a million bucks.


Director Modruson made his maiden ZBRA buy on August 10, 2023 at $254.59. Prior to that, he sold Zebra three times between $491.33 and $605.44, collecting close to $3.5 million. (2)

This is the second buy for director Keyser. His prior purchase was on leap day in 2016 with 1,000 shares at $61.89 per share. Fifteen months later, the Director made his first of five consecutive sales from $106.26 to $581.48. All told, depositing more than $16.2 million. (3)

CEO Burns also has a history of buying low and selling higher. In December 2015, as a Senior VP, Burns purchased 760 shares at $64.95 for almost $50,000. Burns turned seller in August 2018 at $166.16 and then 10 more times to as much as $579.15, depositing more than $12.5 million. (4)

Chairman Gustafsson has the most extensive record. He started trading ZBRA in August 2008, an initial buy of 3,000 shares at $30.56 for $91,686; followed by a half dozen sales from May 2013 to June 2015 between $46.01 and $114.03; then a purchase of 4,000 share at $72.82 in December 2015; he turned seller again in December 2016 at $84.91, selling a total of 27 times through 2021 and as high as $603.79. Prior to last week’s million dollar buy, Gustafsson spent a little more than $384,000 versus $167 million plus in sales. (5)

It’s no secret why the quartet of insiders jumped in. Zebra shares got smoked to start August after reporting earnings, sales and forward guidance that upset Wall Street. Shares closed trading on July 31, 2023 at $307.96 and opened at $245.02 the next day, going as low as $231.98 on August 3, 2023.

OVERALL: It appears that cluster buying by four Zebra Technologies Corporation (ZBRA) insiders was driven by what they might view as an overreaction to earnings by investors. Although three of the four buyers have undefeated records of being on the right side of the ZBRA trade, it’s been our experience that bad earnings news normally isn’t a one-off event. The factors hampering the logistics company are likely to linger. With that in mind, Zebra is only appropriate for investors with above-average risk tolerance and at least a two-year time horizon.

Rich Meyers


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