Sometimes, following a leader makes the best investment strategy. And corporate insiders have long been popular leaders to follow. Their combination of responsibility to their stockholders and access to ‘under the hood’ information on their companies gives their personal investment choices an air of authority.The most important thing about these insiders is that whatever else they do, they are expected to shepherd their companies to profitability. Shareholders want a return on investment, Boards of Directors want accountability, and company officers are held to both standards. So, when they start buying up their own company’s stock, it’s a sign that investors should investigate further.Government regulators, in an effort to level the informational playing field, have required that insiders regularly publish their stock transactions, making it a simple matter for investors to follow them. Even better, TipRanks collates the information in the Insiders’ Hot Stocks page, and provide tools and data filters to easily browse through raw data. We’ve picked three stocks with recent informative buys to show how the data works for you.Del Taco Restaurants (TACO)We’ll start with the popular Del Taco, the California-based taco chain. Del Taco boasts a $344 million market cap, over 600 restaurants, and a loyal fan base, giving it a solid foundation in the fast-food franchise market. Most of the company’s locations are west of the Mississippi, but the company has been making inroads to the eastern US.Like many brick-and-mortar, traffic-dependent businesses, Del Taco has had a hard year. The coronavirus crisis had dampened traffic, social and economic lockdown policies have reduced income streams. The company has started to recover, however. After heavy net losses early in the year, EPS has returned to positive numbers, and revenue in Q3, $120 million, was up more than 15% sequentially. The share price, which fell by two-thirds at the height of the economic crisis last winter, has regained its losses. TACO is now trading up 17% for the year.The insiders are bullish on the stock. The most recent purchase, helping tip the sentiment needle into positive territory, is from Board member Eileen Aptman, who bought up 88,952 shares, shelling out over $650,000. Wedbush analyst Nick Setyan covers Del Taco, and he rates the shares an Outperform (i.e. Buy). His $13 shows the extent of his confidence, indicating room for 40% upside growth. (To watch Setyan’s track record click here)Backing his stance, Setyan wrote, “We believe TACO’s current valuation is predicated on an overly pessimistic assessment of its medium- to long-term fundamentals in a post-COVID QSR environment… Even with what we believe are conservative comp, unit growth, and margin assumptions through 2022, we estimate 12% EPS growth in 2022. We estimate 1% of incremental comp would equate to $0.04-0.06 in incremental EPS and every 10 bps of incremental margin equates to $0.01 in incremental EPS in our model.”Overall, there is little action on the Street heading Del Taco’s way right now, with only one other analyst chiming in with a view on the stock. An additional Hold rating means TACO qualifies as a Moderate Buy. The average price target is $11, and implies a potential upside of ~19%. (See TACO stock analysis on TipRanks)CuriosityStream (CURI)Next up is CuriosityStream, an online video streaming channel in the educational segment. CuriosityStream specializes in factual video content, and offers services by subscription. The channel claims over 13 million subscribers globally. Its founder, John Hendricks, first gained fame creating the Discovery Channel, a similarly themed cable TV channel, in 1985.CuriosityStream is new to the public markets, having IPO’d earlier this year through a merger with Software Acquisition, a special purpose acquisition company (SPAC) formed as a ‘blank check’ company to make the deal. It’s no surprise to see insiders make large purchases in new stocks, but the moves on CuriosityStream deserve note. John Hendricks made three large purchases earlier this month, buying up blocs of 15,473 shares, 26,000 shares, and 11,684 shares over a four-day period. Hendricks paid $473,561 for the new shares.Covering the stock for B. Riley, analyst Zack Silver wrote, “We see CURI as well positioned to capitalize on the burgeoning global streaming market by establishing itself as the go-to factual programmer for the post pay TV era. CURI’s subscription video-on-demand (SVOD) service is differentiated not only by the sheer volume of curated factual titles available on the platform but also by its compelling price point… we expect that CURI’s strategy of monetizing its content through multiple revenue streams will enable a more efficient path to scale…”Silver rates the stock a Buy, and his $16 price target implies a 40% one-year upside. (To watch Silver’s track record, click here)CURI has a Moderate Buy analyst consensus rating based on 2 recent Buy reviews. The average price target is $14, suggesting this stock has room to grow ~23% from the current trading price of $11.50. (See CURI stock analysis on TipRanks)Allegheny Technologies (ATI)Last but not least is Allegheny Technologies, a metallurgy company based in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Allegheny has two business segments: High Performance Materials & Components, which specializes in titanium-based and nickel-based alloys, and Advanced Alloys & Solutions, which includes stainless and specialty steels, electrical steels, duplex alloys, and zirconium, hafnium, and niobium alloys. The company’s metal technology is used in the electrical industry, automotive sector, aerospace, and in oil & gas production.Allegheny’s revenues and shares are down this year, as the company has been buffeted by the corona crisis. Disruptions in supply chains, distributions networks, and customer orders have all had a negative impact, as have social and economic shutdown policies. Quarterly revenues have fallen by 37%, from $955 million in Q1 to $598 million in the third quarter. Shares are down 21% year-to-date.All of this would seem to make ATI a poor stock choice, but the company has used the time to retrench wisely, and reorient its production models.Benchmark analyst Josh Sullivan pointed this out when he bumped his stance earlier this month from Neutral to Buy. He wrote, “We are upgrading ATI to Buy from Hold following the Company’s planned exit from commodity stainless. This move alters ATI’s historical risk profile by removing the most volatile vertical… Parting with ATI’s heritage in stainless has been a long sought-after investor goal; exiting now also allows ATI to avoid maintenance and a potential inventory overbuild during the recovery phase.”In addition, Sullivan notes that business in the aerospace sector will likely recover soon, providing a boon for Allegheny: “with the 737-MAX return to service, Airbus A320 production upward pressure, and vaccines at hand the more focused aerospace ATI core will directly correlate to an aero recovery.”Sullivan’s Buy rating comes with a $21 price target that implies room for 27% growth over the coming 12 months. (To watch Sullivan’s track record, click here)Turning to the insider trades, we find that the company’s CFO and SVP, Donald Newman, purchased 12,500 shares this month, paying over $210K for the bloc. His total holding is now 80,042 shares, valued at $1.3 million.All in all, Allegheny gets a Moderate Buy consensus rating, based on an even split among 4 reviews, of 2 Buys and 2 Holds. The shares are priced at $16.32 and the $18.25 average price target implies ~12% upside potential.(See ATI stock analysis on TipRanks)To find good ideas for stocks trading at attractive valuations, visit TipRanks’ Best Stocks to Buy, a newly launched tool that unites all of TipRanks’ equity insights.Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the featured analysts. The content is intended to be used for informational purposes only. It is very important to do your own analysis before making any investment.
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