Trailing herd is a tale of woe

Punters who like piggy-backing director buying - particularly multi-director buying - have discovered that sometimes it can be costly. Very costly.

Punters who like piggy-backing director buying - particularly multi-director buying - have discovered that sometimes it can be costly. Very costly.

Coffey International is the company that provides the cautionary tale.

The specialist consulting group, which provides engineering, environmental and project management services, enjoyed a good-enough earnings record until a few years ago.

Moving into red-ink territory in 2011 and 2012, though, Coffey's scrip was poleaxed.

But in February this year chief John Douglas, who was appointed in March 2011, reported that a loss had become a profit and that the "turnaround remains well on track".

In the days following those bullish tidings, most of the directors bought shares at about 40¢.

But in April, Douglas reported it unlikely that Coffey would achieve its guidance of earnings exceeding or equalling the first-half result.

Result? The scrip went from 30¢ to 19¢.

This week, Douglas had some more news: earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation for the current year were tipped at $18 million to $19 million, rather than about $32 million.

Result? The shares went from 23¢ to 10¢.

Now, in an almost carbon-copy performance of an earlier time, most of the board has loaded up again, paying about 11¢.

On this latest lot of scrip, they're ahead of the game; the shares closed at 15¢ on Friday.

And talking of earnings downgrades, get a load of Boom Logistics chief Brenden Mitchell's sortie into the market. He spent 99 grand, adding to recent director buying.

Donald Mercer and Gregory Robinson stepped up to the gold roulette wheel and were down a few dollars a Newcrest Mining share at week's end.

Among sellers, Edmund Bateman gifted a lot of scrip to family, James Murdoch raised some petty cash, while Gail Kelly put a bit more into Westpac shares than she extracted.

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