6 Recent CEO Purchases of at Least $100,000

by: The Keating Letter

This week’s edition features six stocks with CEO insider buys of at least $100,000 including three finance companies, two energy companies and a Chinese agricultural company caught up in fraud rumors. As I’ve previously mentioned, I prefer CEO and CFO insider buying to other buyers. Those two positions give a unique look to the day-to-day operations of the company and should provide better clues to performance or a stock mispricing. As always, use this list as a starting point for research.

Below are six stocks with recent CEO buys of at least $100,000:

Helix Energy Solutions (NYSE:HLX): CEO Owen Kratz bought 67,000 shares of company stock on June 20 for a total transaction slightly below $1 million. Helix is a $1.69 billion market cap offshore energy service provider. After this purchase, Kratz owns more than 5 million shares. Shares ran up to 52 week highs in late April after an earnings beat. Since then, the stock is down more than 15%.

Fifth Street Finance (NYSE:FSC): CEO Leonard Tennenbaum continues to buy company shares with a $347,500 purchase on June 21. I previously highlighted Tennenbaum’s purchase from June 14. He also bought shares on May 17 and May 9. On June 21 the company had a five million share common offering at $11.72. It appears that Tennenbaum bought his shares on the open market a little bit cheaper at $11.58. Fifth Street Finance lends money to and invests in small and medium-sized companies along with private equity firms and will use the proceeds for this purpose. Also of note is that hedge fund manager David Einhorn is a significant shareholder.

ATP Oil & Gas (ATPG): ATP is an oil and gas driller with many articles written about them here on Seeking Alpha. Most recently, they closed a $172.5 million offering of a 8% perpetual preferred. CEO Paul Buhlman showed his bullishness by buying nearly $1 million of shares on June 15. His average purchase price was $15.38.

National Penn Bancshares (NASDAQ:NPBC): Six insiders bought shares since June 13. CEO Scott Fainor led the way with a 30,000 share purchase on June 15 for $6.86 per share. National Penn exited TARP in April and appears well positioned going forward. Because of their bailout payback, there has been some chatter about mergers. Shares now trade at 1.1 times book

Resource America (NASDAQ:REXI): Resource America is an asset management company that operates in three business segments: Financial fund management, real estate, and commercial finance. Noted value investors Whitney Tilson, Ruane Cunniff, and Donald Yachtman collectively own nearly 18% of shares. CEO Jonathan Cohen has been buying shares since February. His latest purchase was for 30,000 shares on June 15 for a total purchase of $178,500. The company just announced the sale of their ownership stake in the National Press Building for $16.6 million. The entire company’s market cap is $120 million.

Yongye International (NASDAQ:YONG): Yongye International has had a volatile last month as Chinese small caps have come under closer scrutiny. CEO Wu Zishen bought nearly $3 million of shares on June 14 and 15, which he announced on May 31. That, along with a $50 million investment from Morgan Stanley Private Equity Asia, helped shares recover after a deep drop in mid-May.

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