Directors have wasted no time mopping up stock in their companies during the August sell-off.
And the most bullish executives have been in the worst-hit stock in the worst-hit sector – Barclays.
Naguib Kheraj, who stepped down as finance director in March but has stayed on to help with the bid for Dutch rival ABN Amro – spent £1.4m on stock on August 2. He has lost £136,400 on the transaction.
Fellow executives from Barclays dominate the top 10 most bullish listed company directors as measured on share purchases. All are nursing paper losses of about 10 per cent on their purchases.
The boards of financial services companies are the most bullish as collective purchasers of company stock, according to research by Morgan Stanley. Six of the top 10 boards for buying stock are banks, insurers or asset managers.
Jon Aisbitt, the newly appointed chairman of Man Group, led directors at the hedge fund provider in a raft of co-ordinated share purchases. Mr Aisbitt has made almost £90,000 on his £1.1m investment.
Other big spenders include Sir Nigel Rudd, installed yesterday on the board of BAA, who spent £400,000 on stock in Pendragon, the car dealership he chairs. Mark Tucker wrote cheques totalling £267,300 for shares in Prudential, the UK life insurance group where he is chief executive. All in all, the stock exchange newswire pumped out some 942 separate announcements detailing share purchases by company directors during August.
However, the pace of director share purchases seems to have been more frenetic than company share buy-backs.
Non-financial firms dominate companies taking advantage of the falling share prices to buy back their own stock, according to Morgan Stanley. Sports Direct International, the retailer whose shares have halved since its February float, led the charge buying back about 5 per cent of its market capitalisation in the four weeks up to August 22.
Pub companies were also active. Greene King bought back 4.3 per cent of its stock in the period, while Enterprise Inns and Marston’s snapped up 1.4 per cent and 1.9 per cent respectively. Among financial firms, 3i, the private equity group, and Man Group bought the most stock as a proportion of their market capitalisation.
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