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The buying fell for a third straight week while the selling among directors was low for a fifth straight week based on filings to the stock exchange during a holiday-shortened, two-day

week of trading last week.

Thirteen companies recorded 37 purchases worth HK$25 million versus two firms with four disposals worth HK$5.8 million. The figures were sharply down from the previous week’s five-day totals of 36 companies, 170 purchases and HK$313 million on the buying side and six firms, 37 disposals and HK$65.3 million on the selling side.

While the buying by directors fell last week, the buyback activity rebounded with 18 companies posting 53 repurchases worth HK$294 million. The two-day totals were comparable to the previous week’s five-day totals of 23 firms, 111 trades and HK$190 million.

Despite the very short trading week, there were several significant trades last week with buybacks in Bolina Holding and Johnson Electric and a rare insider buy in Vinda International. The purchases were made following falls in the companies’ share prices.

Branded products developer, producer and distributor Bolina recorded its first buybacks since July 2014 with 12.63 million shares purchased from January 29 to Friday at HK$1.77 to HK$1.89 each or an average of HK$1.83 each. The trades, which accounted for 57 per cent of the stock’s trading volume, were made on the back of a 20 per cent drop in the share price since November from HK$2.29. The counter is also down since January last year, when it was trading at HK$3.15. The group previously acquired 5.83 million shares from March to July 2014 at HK$3.01 to HK$2.76 each or an average of HK$2.85 each. The repurchases since March 2014 are the company’s first buybacks since listing in July 2012. The group’s last buyback prices were lower than the initial public offering price of HK$2.15. The stock closed at HK$1.89 on Friday.

Electronic components manufacturer Johnson Electric resumed buying back at lower than its acquisition prices from August 2014 to December last year with 38,000 shares purchased on Friday at HK$22.85 each. The trade was made on the back of a 14 per cent drop in the share price since January from HK$26.55. The group previously acquired 348,000 shares from November 12 to December 10 last year at HK$24.80 to HK$28.30 each, or an average of HK$26.59 each, and 14.26 million shares from August to December 2014 at HK$28.90 to HK$29.95, or an average of HK$29.81 each. Before the repurchases since 2014, the company acquired 8.52 million shares from February to November 2013 at HK$4.83 to HK$5.80 each, or an average of HK$5.34 each, and 86.07 million shares from August 2011 to November 2012 at HK$3.65 to HK$4.99 each, or an average of HK$4.27 each. Investors should note that the stock rose by an average of 10 per cent six months after the group bought shares based on 142 filings since 2011. The stock recorded a price gain six months afterwards on 70 per cent of those filings. The stock closed at HK$22.90 on Friday.

Chief executive Johann Christoph Michalski recorded his first on-market buy in personal care products manufacturer and distributor Vinda International since joining the board in April 2008 with 39,000 shares purchased on February 1 at HK$12.58 each. The trade increased his holdings by 18 per cent to 259,000 shares or 0.03 per cent of the issued capital. The acquisition was made on the back of a 35 per cent drop in the share price since July last year from HK$19.26. Despite the fall in the share price, the counter is still up since July 2013 from HK$7.26. The purchase was also made after the company announced late last month a 47 per cent drop in year-end profit to HK$314.441 million. He previously sold 400,000 shares in November 2011 at HK$9.70 each. Michalski was appointed chief executive in October last year but had served as a non-executive director since April 2008. Investors should note that Invesco Hong Kong became a substantial shareholder (for the second time since April 2010) on January 13 following the purchase of 1.25 million shares at HK$12.32 each, which boosted its stake to 50.808 million shares or 5.09 per cent. Invesco previously reported a disposal-related filing in December 2012 of 2.18 million shares at HK$10.30 each, which lowered its interest to 4.89 per cent. The stock closed at HK$11.42 on Friday.

Robert Halili is managing director of Asia Insider