Buying of their own company shares by directors surged last week and selling remained low, based on filings made to the stock exchange for the period from February 25 to March 1.
Twelve companies reported 36 insider purchases worth HK$139 million, versus just two that reported four disposals worth HK$2.4 million. The buys were sharply up from the previous week's four companies, 19 purchases, and HK$1.48 million. Selling was down from the previous week's four companies that reported nine disposals worth HK$4.05 million.
Buyback activity by companies also rose, with six companies posting 27 repurchases worth HK$39.1 million. The figures were up from the previous week's five companies that reported 25 trades valued at HK$20.2 million.
Four stocks that recorded significant purchases last week were MGM China, Johnson Electric, CLP, and AV Concept.
Gaming firm MGM China bought back shares for the first time since the stock was listed in June 2011 with 625,000 shares purchased on March 1 at HK$19.03 each. The trade came after an 88 per cent rise in the share price since July 2012 from HK$10.10.
The buyback was made after the company announced a 38.17 per cent gain in year-end profit to HK$4.53 billion on February 20.
The stock closed at HK$19.14 on Friday.
Micromotor manufacturer Johnson Electric resumed buying back at higher prices than its previous acquisitions, with 4.68 million shares purchased from February 25 to March 1 at an average of HK$5.49 each. The trades accounted for 44 per cent of the stock's trading volume.
The stock closed at HK$5.50 on Friday.
The huge insider buy value last week was due to purchases by non-executive chairman Michael Kadoorie and non-executive director Ronald McAulay in utility firm CLP.
The two directors acquired a total of two million shares from February 26 to 27 worth HK$133.3 million at an average of HK$66.66 each. Kadoorie bought 1.2 million shares from February 26 to 27 at an average of HK$66.64 each, which increased his holdings to 460.873 million shares, or 18.24 per cent of the issued capital.
McAulay bought 800,000 shares from February 26 to 27 at an average of HK$66.69 each, raising his stake to 276.212 million shares, or 10.93 per cent.
Robert Halili is managing director of Asia Insider