Interactive Investor

Insider: heavy buying and selling of these FTSE 100 shares

It’s interesting to see plenty of two-way trading activity at the boardroom level as a resurgent FTSE 100 remains close to a record high. Here are some of the big director deals of the past week.

28th May 2024 07:57

by Lee Wild from interactive investor

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Plenty of companies have seen their share prices rise significantly since the autumn, many of them to either multi-year or all-time highs. Just like other investors in these companies, executives might decide to take a bit of money off the table.

That was the case at FTSE 100 kitchen supplier Howden Joinery Group (LSE:HWDN) last Wednesday when Andy Witts, at Howdens since 1995 and now chair of the firm’s international businesses, sold 200,000 Howdens shares at 914.8p each for a £1.83 million windfall.

And who can blame him. In the third quarter of 2022, Howdens shares were changing hands for as little as 472p. A year later they were up 60% and, after a pull back toward the 600p level, they’ve added 50% in the past seven months. They’re now within sight of the 986p record high reached in September 2021.

Howdens is a stock favoured by interactive investor columnist Richard Beddard who ranks it third in the list of 40 stocks he covers.

At the end of April, in an update for the 16 weeks to 14 April, chief executive Andrew Livingston said the company had made an “encouraging start to the year with trading in line with our expectations” and is “on track with the outlook for 2024”.

Earlier this month Deutsche Bank started coverage of the shares with a ‘buy’ rating and 1,170p price target.

Gobbling up blue-chip shares

Business was going the other way at Associated British Foods (LSE:ABF) last week, with a non-executive director snapping up shares in the Primark owner near to a six-year high.

Kumsal Bayazit has been at AB Foods since December last year and still runs information analytics business Elsevier, part of RELX Group. On 20 March, she spent almost £80,000 on 2,930 ABF shares at 2,728p each.

Since the latest leg of the wider stock market rally began mid-April, AB Foods has been one of the best performers, with the share price up 15%. A large chunk of that outperformance can be attributed to half-year results published 23 April.

The numbers demonstrated the benefits of diversification across sectors and highlighted growth prospects. Chief executive George Weston said “…we are now benefitting from the restoration of some normality in our markets and in our supply chains”.

A modest valuation by historical standards also grabbed the attention of investors. Analysts at RBC repeated their ‘outperform’ rating on the shares and raised their price target to 2,900p.  

Buying at smaller companies too

Elsewhere, food-on-the-move firm SSP Group (LSE:SSPG) ran into a spot of bother following publication of disappointing half-year results.

Shares fell to their lowest since November 2020 despite an increase in revenue as rising costs caused a sharp drop in profits.

Still, CEO Patrick Coveney remains confident, buying 40,000 SSP shares at just over 185p each, costing £74,000.

There was also buying at shipping and energy markets expert Braemar (LSE:BMS), although the share price remains not far from multi-year highs.

Boss James Gundy spent over £19,000 on 6,600 Braemar shares at 290.5p, taking his stake in the £100 million company to 778,765 shares, currently worth over £2.3 million.

The purchase came straight after Thursday’s well-received annual results where the company said the current year has “started well”, with a total forward order book of $82.6 million (£64.7 million).

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.

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