How Much?! Here Are Some of 2022’s Largest Insider Trades

In a seismic year for the investment industry, what were the top buys and sells from insiders across the globe? In this blog, the 2iQ analysts cover the most significant trading activity these past 12 months and how this informs the potential trends for 2023.

We have collected top-level insider transaction data from 1st January 2022 to early December 2022. Amongst those biggest trades were Tesla, Datadog and Acron, as we reveal the industries that saw the most substantial insider behavior.

What Were Insiders’ Biggest Buys This Year?

Largest 2022 buying activity

From January to December, insiders bought just under $34.2 billion worth of stock in 2022. That’s a substantial amount of investment across a variety of sectors and regions around the world. 

Below are some of our top statistics based on 2iQ’s insider transaction data:

Sectors

The top five sectors for insider buying, based on financial value, provide an interesting view of general buying sentiment:

  1. Materials – $5.2 billion
  2. Industrials – $5 billion
  3. Consumer Discretionary – $5 billion
  4. Financial – $4.5 billion
  5. Consumer Staples – $3.1 billion

It’s worth noting that whilst Financial wasn’t the top traded sector in monetary value, it led with the sheer volume of buys. Over 22.5 billion purchases were made this year for Financial stocks, well over double the number of purchases made by the second place – Technology - sector at 11 billion buys.

The billions of dollars traded in any of these sectors are always important to note, but it’s the number of trades within a sector that can provide valuable insight into the investment portfolios of insiders. It could be argued that more insiders see the ‘Financial’ and ‘Technology’ sectors as more recession-resistant amidst rising inflation.

Regions

There was cash flowing in all corners of the globe in 2022, with many insiders eyeing opportunities to grow their portfolios. So, where were the most investment decisions made this year?

  1. Europe – $15.6 billion
  2. Asia & Pacific – $14.8 billion
  3. North America – $6.5 billion

Europe proved to be the most bullish group based on the financial value of trades, whilst the Asia & Pacific region was in a league of its for pure buying volume. Over 84.6 billion stock purchases were made in the region this year, nearly 80 billion more than in Europe.

Top Insider Buys

Acron PJSC (AKRN:RM) is a global producer of mineral fertilizer producer based in Russia. This year, the company saw several of the largest insider buys (and sells) disclosed in the past 12 months.

Two of these large scale buys were made by the Vice President and the Chairman of the Board:

  • Vice President Dmitry Alexandrovich Khabrat purchased 6,500,000 AKRN shares, costing the insider $1.7 billion.
  • Chairman of the Board Alexander Valerievich Popov purchased 5,900,000 AKRN shares, costing almost $1.7 billion.

One of the few other insiders that purchased over $1 billion worth of stock in 2022 was asset management company Jardine Cycle & Carriage Ltd. The firm diversified its investment across its portfolio rather than a singular lump sum like the Acron example.

2iQ’s Top Buy

Any insider trade at this massive scale is worthwhile tracking. Understanding the context behind purchases is key when assessing this data – that’s where our daily transaction reports can help.

One of our analysts’ most interesting large scale observations occurred at US cloud monitoring solution company Datadog Inc. In November 2022, we reported on a series of huge insider purchases at the technology firm:

  • Board member Matt Jacobson purchased 1,016,859 DDOG shares at around $69 per share for his investment company ICONIQ Capital. 

This trade cost Jacobson a total of $70 million.  

Year over year, the share price of Datadog is down by around $120 from November 2021. The insider clearly sees DDOG as undervalued currently. This was the first insider buy since the company’s IPO in 2019. 

In one month since the trade, DDOG has risen by over 12% in value. That’s a return of around $3.5 million for Jacobson. If you’re wondering what long-term investors see as stocks to buy in 2023, Datadog might be somewhere on their lists.

Read the full report to learn why we see this insider buying as bullish.

How Much Did Insiders Sell in 2022?

Largest 2022 selling activity

Markets were distinctly bearish in 2022, with insiders selling $91.2 billion in the past 12 months. Rising inflation, the war in Ukraine and ongoing supply chain disruption have resulted in a lopsided view of insider sentiment.

Sectors

Below are the highest-sold industries by insiders based on monetary:

  1. Consumer Discretionary – $65.5 billion
  2. Industrials – $11 billion
  3. Consumer Staples – $8.4 billion
  4. Health Care – $8.1 billion
  5. Technology – $7.5. billion

$65.5 billion is an impressive sum to attribute to one sector and ideal for illustrating the bearish sentiment amongst insiders. Consumer sectors have seen a massive blow in the face of economic headwinds, with no change for the immediate foreseeable future.

Regions

Asia & Pacific ranked at the top for the aggregate volume of buys worldwide in 2022, with 84.6 billion purchases. Over 157.3 billion sales were made by the same region in that timespan, nearly double the number of transactions.

Below are the regions with the largest value of insider selling this year:

  1. Asia & Pacific – $44.8 billion
  2. EU – $39.8 billion
  3. North America – $35.4 billion

Between the above three regions alone, insiders sold nearly $120 billion of stock. Industry leaders are liquating assets in light of rising interest rates, and it’s not hard to see why. We anticipate this trend to continue in 2023 as markets aim to recover.

Top Insider Sells

There is one insider who has been the focus of the investment industry in 2022 – Elon Musk. The recently appointed CEO of Twitter has been offloading mass amounts of stock in EV company Tesla Inc (TSLA:US) to fund his purchase of the company.

Both Tesla and Musk top the aggregate value of sales made by insiders in 2022, with Musk selling nearly $19.4 billion whilst closing a deal on the $44 billion purchase of Twitter.

2iQ has been closely monitoring the short interest surrounding Tesla, with interest starting to fall in late 2022. This is likely due to TSLA’s share price falling throughout the year, down by over 65% from 2021.

Musk has continued to offload shares, selling a further $3.6 billion in mid-December 2022.

Conclusion

Insiders are appropriately positioned to gauge how their company’s performance may change. Investors can generate strong returns when buying in a bear market, so keeping track of insiders that are buying during an economic downturn can be a savvy decision. 

Whilst not all insider trades are created equal, 2iQ provides industry-leading insight and data on the most significant transactions.

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