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When looking at insider purchases, CEO and CFO buying is a better indicator than board purchases. Since management is dealing with day to day matters, they have a better idea of what may be a positive catalyst for the stock. These are great indicators because insiders only make purchases on the open market if they think the share price will go up in the future, or because they want to convince you that they think it will. While they’re certainly susceptible to poor timing and emotional responses like any other investors, these lists are a great starting point for research.

Below are seven stocks that have seen insider buying by their CEOs in the last week:

  1. Axcelis Technologies (NASDAQ:ACLS): Axcelis manufactures and services ion implantation and dry strip equipment used in the fabrication of semiconductors. Their customers include chipmakers like Samsung (OTC:SSNLF) and Advanced Micro Devices (NASDAQ:AMD). They are facing increased competition which is hurting their margins. Their balance sheet is a better story, though, with $0.50 in cash and little long term debt. CEO Mary Puma bought 10,000 shares on February 4, and now owns nearly 300,000 shares. Two directors and the CFO bought shares on the 4th as well.
  2. Bank Mutual Corp. (NASDAQ:BKMU): I highlighted Bank Mutual in my column about insider buying in companies hitting 52 week lows. To read that column, please click here. BKMU continues to bounce around their lows despite their 2.7% dividend. Their CEO bought shares on February 1.
  3. MidWest One Financial Group (NASDAQ:MOFG): CEO Charles Funk picked up 1,000 shares of this $125 million Iowa bank on February 1. He currently owns about 47,000 shares. Additionally, two directors purchased shares in the last week as well. On January 27, the bank announced full year EPS of $1.07. Net interest margin increased and mortgage origination and loan servicing fees increased dramatically. Book value stands at $18.39 and price to book is 0.8.
  4. NL Industries (NYSE:NL): I wrote about NL Industries in last week’s update. You can find that article by clicking here. Since then, CEO Harold Simmons has picked up another 16,000 shares at $13 on February 7.
  5. NeoPhotonics (NYSE:NPTN): NeoPhotonics is a Chinese integrated circuit manufacturer who had an IPO on February 2. The IPO was priced at $11 and shares have already skyrocketed above $17. In the morning of the IPO, they sold additional shares at $14 and CEO Jenks Storrs and the CFO picked up 1,000 shares each.
  6. Old Republic International (NYSE:ORI): For the first time in nearly two years, CEO Aldo Zucaro bought shares on the open market. He purchased 5,000 shares on February 1 for $12.20. Old Republic is primarily a mortgage and title insurer and the weak housing market has taken its toll on the company. The company reported earnings on January 27 with 2010 EPS at $0.13, an improvement of $0.55 over 2009. Their book value is $16.16, putting their P/B at 0.8. The dividend yield is an impressive 5.6% and they seem to have the ability to continue it at this level.
  7. Vical Inc. (NASDAQ:VICL): Vical is a $142 million biopharma engaged in the development of treatments using its DNA delivery technology. They have a number of drugs at different stages of development and testing. The stock traded near $4 in September, but poor results from a clinical trial and a secondary offering priced at $2.25 cut the legs out of the share price. CEO Vijay Samant picked up 500 shares on February 4 for $1,000. You have to wonder why it was even worth the trouble. He currently owns 526,000 shares.

Disclosure: I have no positions in any stocks mentioned, and no plans to initiate any positions within the next 72 hours.