Interactive Investor

Insider: four shares being bought after latest results

29th November 2021 08:01

Graeme Evans from interactive investor

Directors were quick to pick up stock in this quartet, and others bought on the dip during Friday's stock market turmoil.

Directors have topped up their holdings at Coats Group (LSE:COA), Hill & Smith (LSE:HILS), IQE (LSE:IQE) and PayPoint (LSE:PAY) after the quartet's shares were priced lower in the wake of updates last week.

The purchases were worth a combined figure of almost £200,000, but any hopes they might provide an injection of confidence were undone by Friday's market turmoil.

Three of the stocks ended the week in the red, with PayPoint the exception on the possibility that fresh Covid-19 restrictions might lead to more shopping in the local convenience stores served by its digital payments technology.

Four members of PayPoint's executive team bought on Friday, led by chief executive Nick Wiles who picked up shares worth more than £60,000 at a price of 616.8p.

The All-Share stock had been as much as 6% lower on Thursday, even though Wiles reported a 30% rise in half-year underlying profits to £21.9 million and stuck by forecasts for the full year.

The director purchases, including by PayPoint's human resources boss Katy Wilde, helped the shares to recover ground on Friday afternoon before they closed at 632p.

The new chief financial officer at industrial threads business Coats bought shares on Thursday, two days after her company revealed sales growth of 22% for the July to October period.

The revenues figure was 6% higher than in 2019 and represented an acceleration in performance despite Covid-19 disruption in Vietnam and other supply chain issues.

Analysts at Peel Hunt reiterated their price target of 85p after praising the FTSE 250-listed company for its progress in recovering input, energy and freight costs.

Shares were 68p prior to the update but finished the week at 63.3p, which compared with almost 80p in September.

New Zealander Jackie Callaway, who became the company's first female executive director when she started in the £380,000-a year role in April, bought her shares at 64.75p.

A mid-cap travelling south

At motorway gantries firm Hill & Smith, chairman Alan Giddins acquired shares worth £37,000 at a price some 6% below where they had been prior to an update on Wednesday.

The FTSE 250 stock posted a 4% rise in revenues in the past four months to £237.1 million amid further robust trading in its core UK and US markets.

It continues to manage supply chain headwinds, although it has been forced to focus on higher margin work in some US-based galvanising plants due to staff shortages. 

Giddins, the former global head of private equity at 3i Group, bought at a price of 1,744p but shares closed the week at 1,670p. They had been at a record high of 1,922p in early September.

The IQE purchase by senior independent director Carol Chesney was made on Thursday after a 25% slide for shares in the AIM-listed semiconductor wafers firm.

Softness in smartphone-related demand and weakness in the rollout of 5G infrastructure were among factors blamed as IQE forecast an 8% fall in revenues this year.

Broker Peel Hunt blamed the disappointing update on end-market malaise rather than the loss of market share and said it expects new chief executive Americo Lemos to bring about the changes needed to enhance earnings quality.

Shares closed the week at 34.6p but Peel Hunt has a target price of 103p and Numis is at 90p. Chesney and her husband bought their shares at just over 38p.

Shares going cheap

Some directors bought on the dip during Friday's stock market turmoil, while others were left to rue the timing of purchases made just a few hours earlier.

WH Smith (LSE:SMWH) non-executive director Nicky Dulieu spent £38,000 on the retailer's shares on Thursday, only to see the value of her maiden purchase shrink by £5,525 on Friday.

The prospect of fresh travel restrictions ensured the FTSE 250 stock was one of the biggest casualties in London's sell-off, falling 14% to the lowest level in a year at 1,311p.

In contrast, Virgin Money UK (LSE:VMUK) boss David Duffy bought shares in the lender worth £63,000 at prices of about 168p on Friday, compared with 177p on Thursday.  

Duffy's chief financial officer Clifford Abrahams also bought shares worth £100,000, split between 176.7p on Thursday and a much cheaper 167.6p on Friday.

Virgin's shares were under pressure even before this week's volatility, with the FTSE 250-listed stock trading above 200p as recently as the end of October.

It emerged last week that Duffy's pay package doubled to £2.7 million following the vesting of a share-based incentive scheme in the last financial year.  

These articles are provided for information purposes only.  Occasionally, an opinion about whether to buy or sell a specific investment may be provided by third parties.  The content is not intended to be a personal recommendation to buy or sell any financial instrument or product, or to adopt any investment strategy as it is not provided based on an assessment of your investing knowledge and experience, your financial situation or your investment objectives. The value of your investments, and the income derived from them, may go down as well as up. You may not get back all the money that you invest. The investments referred to in this article may not be suitable for all investors, and if in doubt, an investor should seek advice from a qualified investment adviser.

Full performance can be found on the company or index summary page on the interactive investor website. Simply click on the company's or index name highlighted in the article.