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Insider stock buys hit 4-year high: Report

As markets have fallen, insider buying has surged while stock sales by executives and directors have fallen, according to a new report.

NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- Throughout the recent market turmoil, executives and directors of public companies have invested heavily in their own companies, according to a news report late Tuesday.

Total insider buying in the United States reached $252 million in August, the highest level since 2003, according to the Financial Times. The month normally averages $186 million in such trades.

Some market sectors that have fallen the most in recent weeks, such as banking and insurance, also saw the most buying activity, the paper said.

In the U.S., stock buys by management at S&P 500 banks, lenders and insurance companies hit a 12-year-high according to Bloomberg data quoted in the news report.

Meanwhile, insider sales have dropped correspondingly, to $2.9 billion compared to a four-year monthly average of $4 billion average, the paper reported.

In the past, markets have risen about 12 months after periods of strong insider buying, according to the Financial TimesTop of page