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Bull Trader USA

Sliding UK markets saw Darktrace’s CEO and three others snap up their own stock

Stock markets in the U.K. saw heavy selling in September. The blue-chip FTSE 100 fell 3.6% over the month, while the FTSE 250 index of mid-caps slipped more than 7.5%. The country’s bond markets and currency also fell as investors balked at the new government’s fiscal policy announcements. Sterling has since pared its losses, but equity markets remain in the red. Amid such volatility, four notable companies saw large insider purchases — when a director, officer or executive buys stock of their own company. Big Yellow Group James Gibson, chief executive of Big Yellow , bought more than half a million pounds of stock in September. He spent ?249,998 ($281,569) on Sept. 20 and ?250,120 on Sept. 28 purchasing the company’s shares. In between that, Nicholas Vetch, executive chairman and co-founder of the self-storage provider, also bought ?249,480 worth of shares. These three transactions are the first insider trades in the company this year. Only a month before shares hit an all-time high in Dec. 2021, Vetch had warned investors that “historically high levels of occupancy” at the company’s sites could soon return to “normal” levels. Shares in the ?1.8 billion company have fallen by more than 40% since. IWG IWG is another property company that saw a notable insider transaction in September. Mark Dixon, chief executive of flexible office space provider IWG, purchased ?1.26 million worth of stock in the company at an average price of ?1.26 a share on Sept 27. It is the only purchase from the Dixon since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic. Shares in the firm, which owns the Regus brand of office buildings around the world, have fallen by more than 55% this year to ?1.31. However, all but one analyst covering the company has a buy rating on the stock, with an average price target of ?2.47, according to FactSet Estimates. Equity research analyst Sam Dindol at Stifel has previously said the company’s move to an asset-light business model should help drive growth. “Failing that, we believe IWG could be an attractive acquisition target for P.E. firms at current levels, with CEO, founder and 28.5% shareholder Mark Dixon, aged 62, potentially a more willing seller than in 2018,” the analyst said in a note to clients, referring to private-equity funds as potential buyers for the company. Darktrace Poppy Gustafsson, CEO of Darktrace , bought ?120,606 worth of shares at ?3.21 a share on average on Sept 26. In May, Gustafsson had purchased stock worth ?99,402 at ?3.37 a piece. Shares in the cyber security company have fallen by 40% since its most recent high in August after it rejected a takeover offer from American private equity firm Thoma Bravo. According to FactSet Estimates, seven of 11 analysts covering the stock give it a buy rating, with a price target 49% higher than current trading levels. Equity analyst Rob Owens from Piper Sandler, who has a price target of ?4.50 on the stock, said: “With shares rebasing lower after announcing the end of talks with Thoma Bravo, we remain buyers given the expanded product portfolio, execution across the business and a favorable valuation compared to security peers.” Lloyds Banking Group Lloyds Bank disclosed that its chief executive Charlie Nunn had bought ?135,000 worth of shares on Sept 22. At the time of the disclosure, the bank’s shares were down by more than 10% this year. However, it came a day before the U.K. finance minister’s mini-budget, which rocked financial markets in London. Shares in the bank have since fallen by around another 10%. On average, analysts have a buy rating on the stock, with a price target of 58p a share. This is about 35% higher than its current share price.

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