Over the past week, investors were greeted with headlines that the S&P 500 had crossed a psychologically important benchmark: It joined the Nasdaq Composite and the Dow Jones Industrial Average in climbing more than 20% from its recent trough. As a result, many market commentators are declaring the beginning of the new bull market.
We can't know if the good times are here to stay, but one thing is certain: History shows that every previous bear market has eventually given way to a bull market, so it isn't so much if there will be a bull market, but when. Given that simple truth, investors who continue to buy shares of quality businesses now will likely be rewarded when stocks begin to gain steam.
One time-honored technique is to monitor the stock purchases made by company insiders. Why? There's an old adage on Wall Street that suggests that while there are many reasons to sell, there's only one reason insiders buy company stock: because they believe it will go up. With that as a backdrop, let's look at two stocks that company insiders are buying like there's no tomorrow.
1. Match Group
The first stock insiders are pouring millions of dollars into is Match Group(NASDAQ: MTCH). The global pioneer in online dating has been hit hard by the downturn, but that hasn't stopped insiders from buying the stock hand over fist.
CEO Bernard Kim recently increased his holdings by 183%, purchasing more than 31,000 shares of Match Group on the open market, spending over $1 million. This brings the chief executive's total stake to more than 48,000 shares, currently valued at more than $2 million (as of Friday's closing price).
Match Group owns a vast portfolio of online dating apps and websites, including Tinder, Match, OkCupid, Hinge, PlentyOfFish, and many others. Its products are available in 40 languages and have been downloaded more than 750 million times, with roughly 15.9 million paying customers.
However, recent macroeconomic conditions have hurt consumer discretionary spending, while foreign currency exchange rates have skewed Match Group's results lower. Revenue declined 1% year over year in the first quarter, but in constant currency, sales actually increased 3% -- and management expects to continue gaining momentum in the second half of 2023.
There are numerous secular tailwinds that will likely drive the stock higher as the economic outlook improves. The online dating market in the U.S. clocked in at roughly $9.6 billion in 2022, but is expected to climb to $17.3 billion by 2030, according to estimates provided by Grandview Research.
While adoption is increasing, only 32% of the U.S. addressable population currently uses a dating app, which leaves plenty of room for additional growth. Furthermore, only about 26% currently pay for premium services -- but a move toward worthwhile features could drive that much higher. Morgan Stanley analyst Lauren Schenk notes that "an increased push toward monetization" could account for 70% of revenue growth between now and 2030.
Given these tailwinds, its little wonder Match Group's CEO is buying the stock hand over fist.
2. Align Technologies
The next stock insiders are buying like there's no tomorrow is Align Technologies(NASDAQ: ALGN). The provider of Invisalign tooth straighteners has similarly been hit hard by the downturn, with many potential patients putting off orthodontics until inflation subsides and the economy is on a more even footing.
However, some see the declining stock price as a compelling opportunity, including Kevin Dallas, a member of Align Technologies' board of directors.
Late last month, Dallas increased his holdings by 133%, buying 7,000 shares of Align on the open market, spending nearly $2 million. This brings the director's total stake to more than 12,000 shares, worth over $3.7 million dollars (as of Friday's closing price).
Align Technologies has been seeing sequential improvement in recent quarters that suggests the worst may have passed. While revenue declined 4% year over year in Q1, it improved 5% quarter over quarter. The results were driven by the teen segment, which represents the largest orthodontic market. That cohort of customers was up both sequentially and year over year -- and management expects that trend to continue.
The company also accelerated its share repurchase agreement, scooping up $250 million worth of stock under its $1 billion share repurchase program.
Furthermore, Align announced that CEO Joe Hogan and CFO John Morici planned to purchase $1 million and $0.2 million, respectively, of the company's stock.
Secular tailwinds should help Align gain ground in the coming years. The global orthodontics market reached $5.4 billion in 2022, but is expected to climb to $8 billion by 2028, according to estimates provided by The International Market Analysis Research and Consulting Group.
This continuing trend, coupled with the improving economy, helps illustrate why Align Technologies insiders are buying the stock like there's no tomorrow.
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