Insider buying is no perfect indicator. But it's hard not to get interested when an insider who bet successfully once buys again. That's what we have at Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) today.
Walt Disney (NYSE:DIS) chief executive Bob Iger, a member of Apple's audit committee for a year now, increased his stake by 35% when he purchased 1,780 shares for between $561.66 and $565.09 each last week, according to documents filed with the SEC.
The timing is certainly interesting -- we've plenty of data that says now is a great time to buy -- but history is even more so. Iger bought his first shares shortly after joining Apple's board. Specifically, 2,670 shares at prices between $374.02 and $375.95. That position is up a minimum of 49%, easily beating the market's 17% return over the same period.
I'd call that lucky if it wasn't Bob Iger were talking about here. You know, the same guy who orchestrated Disney's $4 billion buyout of Marvel only to see its studio division go on to deliver one of the top-grossing films of all time in Marvel's The Avengers.
Iger also helped orchestrate Disney's acquisition of Pixar in 2006 and its more recent purchase of Lucasfilm, home to the beloved Star Wars franchise. Iger has a history of buying well. Disney shareholders have benefited as a result: The House of Mouse earned 10.1% on its available capital in fiscal 2012, up sharply from the 7.7% it earned in 2006, at the beginning of Iger's tenure as CEO.
And if wasn't impressive enough, Iger's record gets better when you put it in context. Chief competitors Time Warner (NYSE:TWX) and News Corp. (NASDAQ:FOX) have yet to crack double-digit returns on capital despite their own improvements in recent years.
But is this really so surprising? History proves Iger to be a superior investor leading a Tier 1 company. Earning higher than industry average returns on capital is what superior investors do best. Right now, he seems to think buying Apple is the way to achieve such returns for him and his family. I'm inclined to agree.