Are These Large Insider Purchases Sending Us A Signal To Buy?

by: Brian Gorban

One strategy that has shown over time though to be effective in beating the market, regardless of the economy, is tracking insider buying. The premise is simple in that insiders are just like the rest of the public in how they desire to make more money and as a result when these people who arguably have the best view into a company's operations and future prospects purchase shares we can join them on the way higher. The following are stocks that have recently had notable insider buying of at least $1 million and seems poised to move higher as the fundamentals and/or future prospects look compelling. As a caveat, please only consider this as a starting point in your investment research as these are only the opinions of the blogger:

Energy giant and Dow component Exxon Mobil (NYSE:XOM) is truly a world-wide company with operations around the globe. Moreover, having a market capitalization at approximately $400 billion and annual revenues over $425 billion make it one of the largest corporations in the world. The company is sitting right near its $93.67 52-week high, but Vice President & Controller Patrick Mulva sees the stock continuing to move higher. On March 13, Mr. Mulva bought a sizeble 11,000 shares at $89 per share equating to almost $1 million worth of stock. This strong insider purchase is always encouraging and looking closer we see the company has some nice fundamentals. The company has greatly exceeded consensus estimates the last two quarters. The stock trades at a relatively cheap 9x trailing P/E and .9x price to sales ratio. Lastly and perhaps most importantly, the company has a consistently growing 2.6% dividend yield. I'm a big fan though of diversification and if looking to do so, I think fellow energy behemoth Chevron (NYSE:CVX) is worth a look.

Chevron is no slouch in size as well with a market capitalization exceeding $225 billion and annual revenues in excess of $220 billion. The company has done well exceeding consensus estimates in two of the last three quarters. The stock also trades at a relatively cheap 9x P/E and 1x price to sales ratio. Lastly, it has an equally impressive and consistently growing 3.0% dividend yield. I think splitting a position between these two well-managed firms makes sense to take away specific company risk.

Akamai Technologies (NASDAQ:AKAM) provides content delivery and cloud infrastructure services. The company got slammed on its most recent quarterly earnings report and now sits well below its $42.53 52-week high. CEO Thomson Leighton sees the stock moving higher buying on March 13 30,000 shares at $34.75 equating to over $1 million worth of stock. This is very encouraging and looking closer at the fundamentals, the stock seems to be a solid buy. Operationally, Akamai has exceeded consensus estimates in each of the last four quarters. The company trades at a reasonable 16x forward P/E while having very nice operating margins near 25%. Lastly, the company has a pristine, debt-free balance sheet and approximately $2.50/share in net cash. If looking to diversify this position, I think fellow competitor Level 3 Communications (NASDAQ:LVLT) is worth a look.

Level 3 is far bigger in size than Akamai having annual revenues at approximately $6.5 billion while Akamai is at approximately $1.4 billion. However, Akamai gets a strong nod by being considerably profitable while Level 3 continues to churn losses due to mainly to a sizable debt load. However, Level 3 looks to finally see brighter days ahead by becoming cash-flow positive in its most recent quarter. Moreover, the company is benefiting greatly by refinancing its debt at reduced rates due to the very low interest rate environment. Lastly, the company has some well-respected value names as major holders, including Southeastern Asset Management and Fairfax Financial Holdings, indicating that brighter days are ahead.

Well-known luxury retailer Tiffany (NYSE:TIF) sells everything from fine jewelry to leather goods. The company's stock has been volatile the past year, but currently sits right near its $74.20 52-week high. Major shareholder Qatar Investment Authority sees the stock continuing to move higher. The investment authority on March 12-13 bought an astounding 640,000 shares collectively at an average price of $68.65 equating to $44 million worth of stock. This is definitely positive and looking closer we see the company is trading at a fair/slightly pricey 21x trailing and 19.5x forward P/E. The company has whiffed though at consensus analyst estimates in each of the last four quarters, which is not a positive and trades at a rather high 11x enterprise value to EBITDA ratio. The company does have a nice 1.8% dividend yield and this very strong insider purchase is encouraging, but at its current rather lofty valuations, I cannot get behind it at this time.

Disclosure: I have no positions in any stocks mentioned, and no plans to initiate any positions within 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.