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Below are lists of the top 10 mainly open-market insider purchases and sales filed at the Securities and Exchange Commission Thursday, May 17, 2012 as ranked by dollar value.

On Today's Tables:

Another insider purchase at Hess (NYSE:HES) has made this integrated energy firm's insider profile solidly bullish.

Director Ernst Von Metzsch increased his HES holdings by 19% with the 20,000 share purchase he filed yesterday. That optimism was previously reflected by Director John Mullin and Chairman John Hess, who both increased their holdings substantially with purchases in the past several weeks.

With HES now trading for less than book value, and the stock back down to a price that has represented long-term technical support in the past, this is another worthwhile stock to consider bottom feeding on.

Randal Kirk is at it again with another big buy of Halozyme Therapeutics (NASDAQ:HALO). We stated our bullish case for Halozyme's shares in our April 30 column titled: "A Halo Comes Off". And the insider backing of this beaten-down biotech has only strengthened since then.

Mr. Kirk has irrefutably bought the weakness in HALO with a near $8 million purchase of the stock that increases his holdings by a substantial 36.9%. That's quite a statement of confidence that future FDA dealings are not likely to disappoint.

Also comforting is that long-time Halozyme Director Kenneth Kelley also stepped up with a purchase of nearly $150k worth of HALO back on May 14th. That was Mr. Kelley's first open-market purchase of HALO since he became an insider at the firm in 2004, and he was last seen flipping his options for a risk-free profit way back in 2007.

Other noteworthy insider trades on today's tables include:

Two insiders selling at NVR (NYSE:NVR);
SPH Group still buying Steel Excel (SXCL.PK);
Several insiders buying the weakness at Basic Energy Services (NYSE:BAS).

About InsiderInsights' Top Trades Tables

Company executives and directors are in the best position to assess the attractiveness of their firms' shares, and here is how many of them are voting their wallets!

Please note, however, that these are factual lists, not buy and sell recommendations. Dollar value is only one metric to assess the importance of an insider transaction, and further analysis of a stock's full insider history may not indicate a significant insider signal.

But at Insider Insights, we find significant insider signals just about every day using screens like these to determine where we should focus our subsequent fundamental and technical analysis. And while stocks don't (and shouldn't) move up or down based on insider activity alone, insiders tend to be good indicators of when real stock-moving events like earnings surprises, corporate actions, and new products may be in the offing.

So use these regular columns as the initial research tools they are meant to be, and come to InsiderInsights.com to analyze a company's or insider's full insider history. Also feel free to email with any questions on our proprietary insider data, and how it is best analyzed.


Insider Purchases
#:Filer NameInsider TitlesCompany NameTickerTrans
Type
Dollar ValueShares TradedTrans Date
To
Ave Trans
Price
Direct
Holdings
Indirect
Holdings
1Kirk Randal JDIR,BOHalozyme TherapeuticsHALOB$7,951,4031,071,4985/17/12$7.50---3,977,445
2Cascade InvestmentBORepublic ServicesRSGB$5,348,811209,3465/15/12$25.5569,065,832---
3Red Mountain CapitalBOStrSTRIB$3,401,793779,8025/17/12$4.27---4,942,011
4Cascade InvestmentBOAutonationANB$2,240,26164,3405/15/12$34.8215,657,077---
5Webster Steven ADIRBasic Energy ServicesBASB$2,046,613175,0005/17/12$10.75766,070---
6Von Metzsch Ernst HDIRHessHESB$916,76020,0005/16/12$45.79---10,000
7SPH GroupBOSteel ExcelSXCL.PKB$797,43028,2005/16/12$28.304,569,409---
8Brandon Joseph PatrickVPAlleghanyYB$447,9711,3505/16/12$327.9514,350---
9Parente Charles EDIRW P Carey & CoWPCB$432,90010,0005/15/12$43.2956,082---
10NGP Energy Technology IIBOGse SystemsGVPAB$370,324148,2615/16/12$2.502,616,525---

Source: InsiderInsights.com | Key to Insider Title and Transaction Type Codes


Insider Sales
#:Filer NameInsider TitlesCompany NameTickerTrans
Type
Dollar ValueShares TradedTrans Date
To
Ave Trans
Price
Direct
Holdings
Indirect
Holdings
1Heilbronn CharlesDIRUlta Salon CosmeticsULTAJS*$652,532,9928,050,0005/15/12$81.06---0
2Apollo Management GpBOCharter CommunicationsCHTRS$12,542,661191,3235/17/12$63.99---32,119,176
3Johnson Manuel HDIRNVRNVRS$8,205,80010,0005/16/12$820.581,048---
4Singh AlokDIRValidus HoldingsVRS$7,801,441237,9095/15/12$32.79---1,632,591
5Saville Paul CCEONVRNVRS$5,742,8706,9005/16/12$832.30130,916---
6Weisser AlbertoCEO,DIRBungeBGAS$5,554,18090,0005/15/12$62.2175,090---
7Taylor Wayne KentCB,CEO,BOTexas RoadhouseTXRHS$3,424,705188,7935/16/12$18.146,612,591---
8Steele MiltonPR,PTFMCFMCS$2,204,88821,1505/15/12$104.25---79,239
9Desai HkCB,DIRQlogicQLGCS$1,517,250100,0005/16/12$15.00220,344---
10Richardson Christopher COGrand Canyon EducationLOPES$1,414,32078,4895/17/12$18.00---194,086

Source: InsiderInsights.com | Key to Insider Title and Transaction Type Codes

Source: Top Insider Trades On May 17: Buying At Hess And Halozyme