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Number Cruncher

Stock screens for investment ideas from professional investors. Exclusive to subscribers of Globe Unlimited.

Number Cruncher

What the big guns are buying Add to ...

What are we looking for?

Stocks that the smart money likes.

Corporate insiders represent some of the smartest money in the market because senior executives and directors have intimate knowledge of their firms’ operations and prospects. Pension funds and mutual funds are other particularly well informed investors. (All those money managers have to earn their keep somehow.) When all these groups are buying – or selling – it’s a powerful indicator of a stock’s potential.

To tap into the collective wisdom of the smart money, Constantin Cosereanu of Bloomberg has constructed a screen that ranks stocks by their attractiveness to insiders and institutional investors. Today, we look at its ranking of some Canadian stocks; on Thursday, we’ll turn our attention to the U.S. market.

How the screen works

Mr. Cosereanu attempts to identify companies with major buying trends by looking at percentage changes in insider holdings and in institutional holdings. In both cases, a higher value is better. After weighing both factors equally, he converts the result to a score.

To make today’s list, a company had to be listed in Canada with a market capitalization of at least $200-million. Institutional buyers of its shares had to outnumber institutional sellers. And there had to be at least a 10 per cent increase in both insider holdings and institutional holdings.

What we found

Proof that value – or at least the perception of value – can reside anywhere. The list encompasses resource firms, shippers, retailers and manufacturers. While the popularity of these companies among insiders and institutions doesn’t guarantee success, it is a powerful vote of confidence in their potential. As always, though, remember to do your own research before buying.

Disclosure: I own shares of Algoma Central.

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