Many investors are unsure as to what the market's next move will be as the Dow now is back at 14,000 and the NASDAQ at 3,200. One strategy though, that has shown to be effective over time in beating the market no matter how high or low it may be is tracking insider buying. The premise behind this strategy is simple in that insiders arguably have the best view into a company's operations and future prospects. So when these people purchase shares, that is a very bullish signal. The following are stocks that have recently had notable insider buying of at least $200,000 and if the fundamentals and/or future prospects look compelling as well then perhaps we should buy their stock as well? As a caveat, please only consider this as a starting point in your investment research as these are only the opinions of a blogger:
Akamai Technologies (NASDAQ:AKAM) provides content delivery services and infrastructure solutions for internet-related products. The stock was recently sitting near its $42.53 52-week high until it got clobbered on a disappointing revenue forecast. Nevertheless, CEO Thomson Leighton sees it as a buying opportunity buying a sizeable 50,000 shares on February 8. This equates to just over $1.75 million worth of stock. I'm always wary of a company that is operationally showing a sign of distress like Akamai recently has done. However, the sterling balance sheet, strong history of growth, and impressive insider buying by the CEO himself has me making an exception. With absolutely no debt and approximately $2.50/share in net cash, along with annual free cash flow in excess of $300 million, Akamai is still sitting pretty. Add in the relatively low 15x forward P/E and fantastic 23% operating margins and I think Akamai is worth a good look.
VMware (NYSE:VMW) is an absolute giant in the cloud computing space with over $4.5 billion in annual revenue and a market capitalization exceeding well over $30 billion. Like Akamai, VMware too got clobbered on a recent disappointing earnings report. Moreover, like Akamai, there was thereafter very strong insider buying as major shareholder EMC (EMC) gobbled up a massive 253,314 shares collectively from February 7-8. This equates to just under $20 million worth of stock. While the company has come down considerably in price, I still see it as a little too richly priced for my blood, trading at a 21x forward P/E and over 23x enterprise value/EBITDA. If you're interested in this company, I think buying EMC as an indirect holding makes more sense.
EMC is a juggernaut focused mainly on the data storage space with over $21.5 billion in annual revenue and a market capitalization in excess of $50 billion. Besides being a major shareholder of VMW with well over 42 million shares as shown on the SEC Form 4 filing, the company itself has a thriving business with the ongoing growth of internet usage around the globe. Moreover, with a much more reasonable 12x forward P/E and 8.5x enterprise value/EBITDA valuation, investors get to pay a much more reasonable price than buying VMware directly.
Aetna (NYSE:AET) is a well-known company in the health benefits arena with well over $36 billion in annual sales and a market capitalization at approximately $17 billion. The company has done well recently sitting right near its $51.14 52-week high, leading one to think the company may not be cheap. Executive Vice President Karen Rohan seems to think otherwise, scooping up 4,035 shares on February 6- equating to approximately $200,000 worth of stock. This is significant as these are the only shares she now owns. So looking at the company's fundamentals, we see that Ms. Rohan is perhaps intrigued by the still relatively cheap valuations. The company trades at just .5x enterprise value/revenue, 9x forward P/E, and just over 5x enterprise value/EBITDA. Moreover, the company has a consistently growing 1.6% dividend yield, which is relatively good in this very low interest rate environment, and with just a 15% payout ratio, investors can reasonably expect that to continue. I think Ms. Rohan is correct in buying Aetna.
Opko Health (NYSEMKT:OPK) is an early stage biopharmaceutical company based out of Miami, Florida. With paltry annual revenues at approximately $37 million and financial statements filled with red ink, one would understandably question how the stock is right near its $7.22 52-week high. Simply put, investors see a promising pipeline with Chairman, CEO, and major shareholder Dr. Philip Frost as the right man at the helm. Moreover, Dr. Frost is eating his own cooking, buying a massive 110,000 shares on February 8. This equates to approximately $700,000 worth of stock. This stock is simply not for the conservative investor as it pays no dividend and has no earnings, but can continue to generate big gains if things stay on track and the company can get some favorable reviews from the FDA.
Disclosure: I have no positions in any stocks mentioned, but may initiate a long position in AET, AKAM, EMC, OPK over the next 72 hours. I wrote this article myself, and it expresses my own opinions. I am not receiving compensation for it (other than from Seeking Alpha). I have no business relationship with any company whose stock is mentioned in this article.