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(FRANK GUNN/THE CANADIAN PRESS)
(FRANK GUNN/THE CANADIAN PRESS)

Insiders busy buying stocks, REITs, amid TSX selloff last week Add to ...

Corporate insiders weren’t exactly running for cover as the S&P/TSX composite index dove more than 3 per cent last week.

If anything, insiders picked up the pace of their buying, sensing that this could be just a temporary dip.

INK Research’s sentiment indicator for TSX-listed stocks now stands at 139.6 per cent, which means there are almost 1.4 companies with key insider buying for every one with selling. Two weeks ago, the indicator was at 130.3 per cent.

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The indicator is calculated by taking companies with buy-only transactions among their officers and directors over the past 60 days, and dividing this by the number of companies with sell-only transactions.

One sector seeing strong insider buying interest is real estate investment trusts, despite the fact that REITs have been outperforming the S&P/TSX composite index over the past 90 days. REITs over the period rose 1.1 per cent, while the S&P/TSX fell 1.7 per cent.

Insider transactions are often a contrarian indicator. When a sector outperforms over a period of time, insider buying tends to dry up.

That’s not been the case with REITs recently. Instead, REITs appear to be seeing “momentum buying,” which in the world of insider transactions signals shorter-term investment opportunities for investors, explained Ted Dixon, CEO of INK Research.

INK’s residential and commercial REIT indicator is now at 225 per cent and the trend is up, he said. That means there are more than two companies with key insider buying for every one with selling.

“Despite the relative outperformance, REIT insiders keep buying,” said Mr. Dixon. “We have been keeping a close eye on the group, particularly as the yield on the 10-year government of Canada bond tried to move above 2 per cent. A higher bond yield would make REIT yields less attractive.”

But so far, yields have failed to break the 2 per cent barrier, and the disappointing labour news of last week suggests they probably won’t any time soon. And in the meanwhile, the low bond yields are once again attracting investor money into REITs -- including among insiders.

Note: Join INK Research's Ted Dixon for a live discussion on the best investment opportunities right now based on insider activity, Tuesday at 1 p.m. (ET) You can join here.

Follow on Twitter: @eyeonequities

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