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3 attractive stocks that insiders are buying

Insider stock buys

Insider buying is as active as ever, with many of the same stocks bought in 2023 on the radar in 2024. New names such as Columbia Banking System (NASDAQ: COLB), Akoustis Technology(NASDAQ: AKTS), and CG Oncology (NASDAQ: CGON) are also making the cut. These stocks are unrelated save for their insiders, who are buying and have an outlook for capital gains.

High-yield Columbia Banking System a hot buy for insiders

Columbia Banking System is the parent company of Umpqua Bank, headquartered in Tacoma, Washington. This 7.6% yielding stock has seven insiders buying, all purchased since the first of the year. The activity is telling because no insider sales have been logged for years, only purchases, and the activity is a spike in the data. Together, they own about 0.5% of the company but purchased more shares collectively in January and early February than they have for the last three years. Insider buying includes three directors, the CEO, CFO, EVP, and a VP. 

Share prices for COLB recently hit long-term lows following weaker-than-expected guidance. Margin pressure seen in the last report is expected to persist in 2024, but there is a silver lining. The company is working to address issues to bring profitability in line with industry peers and may outperform the depressed outlook for 2024. Regardless, the dividend is reliable at 57% of the earnings outlook. 

Analysts and institutions are supportive. The twelve analysts tracked by rate the stock a Hold and view it as a deep value. The recent price action is below the analysts’ lowest target, with the consensus steady over the last three months and 27% above the stock price. Institutions own 90% of the company and have bought on balance for over ten quarters. 

COLB stock chart

Penny stock Akoustis Technology in hyper-growth mode

Penny stock Akoustis Technology manufactures RF filter devices for the mobile wireless industry. It has been in a persistent downtrend for years but may have finally hit bottom. The company scored multiple design wins over the past few quarters, including with major mobile carriers and US-based automotive component manufacturers. The wins have the company on track to continue growing at a high double-digit pace, about 80% this year and next, and the forecasts could be light. The 2024 revenue is forecasted to be $33 million, so all it will take is a single big product win to outperform it. 

Among the problems pushing the stock lower is dilution. The company is leaning into share sales to raise capital and increased the count by 26% in 2023. The bad news is that shareholder deficits persist and equity is falling; the upshot is that leverage remains low, and the balance sheet is sound. Assuming the company gains momentum as expected, share sales should slow over the next year. 

As for the insiders, four made a single purchase in January or early February. The purchases are notable because they are the first in two years and include the CEO, CFO, VP and a director. Insiders own about 5% of the company, and the institutions are also large holders. Institutional holdings top 50%, a sizeable sum for a penny stock, and the ownership is broad. Three analysts rate the stock at Hold and see it advancing 40% at the low end of their target range. 

AKTS stock chart

CG Oncology has a healthy IPO

CG Oncology is an emerging, late-stage pharmaceutical development company on track to get taken over. Its IPO centers on launching its flagship treatment, which targets bladder cancer and is expected to be approved soon. The stock has had four insiders buying since the IPO, including major shareholder Decheng Capital Global Life. Decheng Capital is a Menlo Park-based venture capital firm focused on life sciences. It is the 2nd largest holder of the stock. Insiders own about 15%. 

CGON stock chart

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