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Stocks trading at low prices may appear attractive, but it’s important to steer clear of value traps (i.e. stocks trading at low valuations because they are mired by bearish activity). Finding other data points that support the investment can help protect against this possibility when looking at low-priced stocks.

We ran a screen on stocks trading under $5 for those with significant net insider buying over the last six months.‪

Interactive Chart: Press Play to compare changes in analyst ratings over the last two years for the top six stocks mentioned below. Analyst ratings sourced from Zacks Investment Research.‬

We also created a price-weighted index of the stocks mentioned below, and monitored the performance of the list relative to the S&P 500 index over the last month. To access a complete analysis of this list's recent performance, click here.


(Click to enlarge)

Do you think these stocks are value traps, or low-priced opportunities to buy? Use this list as a starting-off point for your own analysis.

List sorted by net insider purchases as a percent of share float.

1. GTX Inc. (GTXI): Engages in the discovery, development, and commercialization of small molecules to treat cancer, osteoporosis and bone loss, muscle loss, and other serious medical conditions. Market cap of $241.74M. Price at $3.85. Net insider shares purchased over the last six months at 6.98M, which is 32.92% of the company's 21.20M share float. The stock is a short squeeze candidate, with a short float at 13.88% (equivalent to 15.45 days of average volume). It's been a rough couple of days for the stock, losing 13.09% over the last week.

2. Pacific Sunwear of California Inc. (PSUN): Operates as a retailer rooted in the action sports, fashion, and music influences of the California lifestyle. Market cap of $82.78M. Price at $1.24. Net insider shares purchased over the last six months at 10.33M, which is 28.80% of the company's 35.86M share float. This is a risky stock that is significantly more volatile than the overall market (beta = 2.49). The stock is a short squeeze candidate, with a short float at 15.17% (equivalent to 8.13 days of average volume). It's been a rough couple of days for the stock, losing 10.14% over the last week.

3. ZIOPHARM Oncology, Inc. (ZIOP): Focuses on the development and commercialization of in-licensed cancer drugs in North America. Market cap of $320.11M. Price at $4.68. Net insider shares purchased over the last six months at 4.34M, which is 7.57% of the company's 57.30M share float. The stock is a short squeeze candidate, with a short float at 12.93% (equivalent to 13.18 days of average volume). It's been a rough couple of days for the stock, losing 9.13% over the last week. The stock has had a good month, gaining 10.38%.

4. ATS Corporation (ATSC): Provides software and systems development, systems integration, information sharing and assurance, information technology (IT) infrastructure and outsourcing, and IT and business consulting services primarily to government agencies in the United States. Market cap of $74.49M. Price at $3.25. Net insider shares purchased over the last six months at 460.17K, which is 7.43% of the company's 6.19M share float. The stock has had a good month, gaining 11.3%.

5. Threshold Pharmaceuticals Inc. (THLD): Engages in the discovery and development of drugs targeting the microenvironment of solid tumors for patients living with cancer. Market cap of $76.04M. Price at $1.55. Net insider shares purchased over the last six months at 1.97M, which is 7.07% of the company's 27.81M share float. The stock has gained 22.05% over the last year.

6. Synta Pharmaceuticals Corp. (SNTA): Focuses on the discovery, development, and commercialization of small molecule drug candidates for treating severe medical conditions, including cancer and chronic inflammatory diseases. Market cap of $175.72M. Price at $3.55. Net insider shares purchased over the last six months at 1.55M, which is 5.17% of the company's 29.92M share float. This is a risky stock that is significantly more volatile than the overall market (beta = 2.43). The stock is a short squeeze candidate, with a short float at 10.99% (equivalent to 22.61 days of average volume). It's been a rough couple of days for the stock, losing 9.21% over the last week. The stock has had a good month, gaining 12.7%.

7. MannKind Corp. (MNKD): Focuses on the discovery, development, and commercialization of therapeutic products for diabetes and cancer. Market cap of $394.22M. Price at $3.01. Net insider shares purchased over the last six months at 3.48M, which is 4.39% of the company's 79.31M share float. The stock is a short squeeze candidate, with a short float at 30.32% (equivalent to 24.05 days of average volume). The stock is currently stuck in a downtrend, trading 5.45% below its SMA20, 7.12% below its SMA50, and 18.07% below its SMA200. The stock has performed poorly over the last month, losing 14.97%.

8. American Superconductor Corporation (AMSC): Provides wind turbine designs and electrical control systems primarily in North America, Europe, and the Asia-Pacific. Market cap of $208.06M. Price at $4.09. Net insider shares purchased over the last six months at 1.51M, which is 3.94% of the company's 38.28M share float. The stock is a short squeeze candidate, with a short float at 28.28% (equivalent to 7.89 days of average volume). It's been a rough couple of days for the stock, losing 8.09% over the last week.

9. Star Scientific, Inc. (CIGX): Engages in the development, implementation, and licensing of tobacco curing technology that prevents the formation of carcinogenic toxins present in tobacco and tobacco smoke, primarily the tobacco-specific nitrosamines (TSNA). Market cap of $367.36M. Price at $2.72. Net insider shares purchased over the last six months at 4.04M, which is 3.67% of the company's 110.13M share float. The stock is a short squeeze candidate, with a short float at 15.72% (equivalent to 8.2 days of average volume). It's been a rough couple of days for the stock, losing 11.97% over the last week.

10. Vantage Drilling Company (VTG): Provides offshore contract drilling services to large multinational oil and natural gas companies, government owned oil and natural gas companies, and independent oil and natural gas producers in the United States and internationally. Market cap of $383.67M. Price at $1.32. Net insider shares purchased over the last six months at 5.35M, which is 3.22% of the company's 165.97M share float. It's been a rough couple of days for the stock, losing 8.33% over the last week.

11. US Gold Corporation (UXG): Engages in the exploration for, development of, production, and sale of gold, silver, and other precious metals. Market cap of $659.15M. Price at $4.83. Net insider shares purchased over the last six months at 3.07M, which is 2.85% of the company's 107.72M share float. The stock has had a good month, gaining 21.36%.

12. Star Gas Partners, L.P. (SGU): Operates as a home heating oil distributor and services provider in the United States. Market cap of $333.23M. Price at $4.92. Net insider shares purchased over the last six months at 1.20M, which is 2.02% of the company's 59.43M share float. Offers a good dividend, and appears to have good liquidity to back it up--dividend yield at 6.3%, current ratio at 1.88, and quick ratio at 1.5. The stock has gained 6.26% over the last year.

13. MoSys, Inc. (MOSY): Designs, develops, markets, and licenses embedded memory intellectual property (IP) used by the semiconductor industry and communications, networking, and storage equipment manufacturers. Market cap of $132.48M. Price at $3.48. Net insider shares purchased over the last six months at 505.0K, which is 1.90% of the company's 26.63M share float. The stock is a short squeeze candidate, with a short float at 8.05% (equivalent to 27.18 days of average volume). It's been a rough couple of days for the stock, losing 13.43% over the last week.

14. Deer Consumer Products, Inc. (OTC:DEER): Engages in the design, manufacture, and sale of small home and kitchen electronic appliances. Market cap of $166.61M. Price at $4.96. Net insider shares purchased over the last six months at 350.0K, which is 1.78% of the company's 19.67M share float. The stock is a short squeeze candidate, with a short float at 9.56% (equivalent to 10.88 days of average volume). The stock has lost 56.38% over the last year.

15. China TransInfo Technology Corp. (CTFO): Provides public transportation information technology systems and related technology solutions in China. Market cap of $77.07M. Price at $3.05. Net insider shares purchased over the last six months at 159.89K, which is 1.43% of the company's 11.18M share float. It's been a rough couple of days for the stock, losing 11.85% over the last week.

16. Skilled Healthcare Group, Inc. (SKH): Operates skilled nursing facilities, assisted living facilities, hospices, home health providers, and a rehabilitation therapy business. Market cap of $152.46M. Price at $4.01. Net insider shares purchased over the last six months at 246.10K, which is 1.28% of the company's 19.18M share float. The stock has lost 25.74% over the last year.

17. PharmAthene, Inc. (PIP): Engages in the development and commercialization of medical countermeasures against biological and chemical weapons in the United States. Market cap of $77.65M. Price at $1.61. Net insider shares purchased over the last six months at 430.0K, which is 1.25% of the company's 34.38M share float. The stock is a short squeeze candidate, with a short float at 8.79% (equivalent to 6.79 days of average volume). It's been a rough couple of days for the stock, losing 10.06% over the last week.

18. Ladenburg Thalmann Financial Services Inc. (LTS): Provides a range of financial services primarily to corporate and institutional clients, and high net-worth individuals in the United States. Market cap of $307.34M. Price at $1.68. Net insider shares purchased over the last six months at 957.50K, which is 1.21% of the company's 79.21M share float. It's been a rough couple of days for the stock, losing 8.7% over the last week.

*Insider data sourced from Yahoo! Finance, all other data sourced from Finviz.

Source: 18 Stocks Under $5 Being Bought By Company Insiders