4 Stocks With Heavy Insider Buying

by: Leonid Kanopka

There can be many reasons why insiders might sell their own company's stock: a big personal purchase like a house; cash to fund a charity; and many other reasons.

Whichever the case is, insiders usually buy shares because they think the stock is a bargain and has upside potential. When mutual funds or hedge fund managers (and even everyday investors) see a lot of insider activity, it most definitely triggers a reason to take a second look at the company. Recently, the 4 companies below have seen heavy insider buying.

Icahn Enterprises L.P. (NYSE:IEP) is a diversified holding company. The Company owns subsidiaries, which is engaged in Investment Management, Automotive, Gaming, Railcar, Food Packaging, Metals, Real Estate and Home Fashion. The current market price is $39.11 with a book value of $45.62. This represents a 14.72% upside potential. IEP has a market cap of $3.35B and an enterprise value of $7.67B. The current EPS is 6.49 with a P/E of 6.5x. Despite its wide spread diverse portfolio some of the larger investment IEP holds includes; 76% common stock of Federal-Mogul (NASDAQ:FDML), 62% common stock of Tropicana (OTCQB:TPCA), and roughly 55% common stock of American Railcar Industries (NASDAQ:ARII).

Icahn Enterprises' 52-week price rage is between $35 and $46.97. The 10, 21, and 50 day moving averages are all showing a bullish upward trend. Also, perhaps the most intriguing news is the fact that the chairman of the board reported to have bought 411,755 shares at $36.79 amounting to a total of $15,149,825. I believe this warrants a second look.

Ardea Biosciences, Inc. (RDEA) is a biotechnology company focused on the development of small molecule therapeutics for the treatment of serious diseases. The current market price is $19.43 with a one-year analyst price target of $30.44. This represents a 56.66% upside potential. RDEA has a market cap of $521.93M and an enterprise value of $401.94M. The company has $122.73M cash on its books and $1.10M in total debt putting it in a good position despite its quarterly revenue growth of -48.70% and net income of -$56.40M. On February 1 Ardea Biosciences announced that it intends to offer and sell, subject to market and other conditions, RDEA shares in an underwritten public offering. This should boost price and profits for this company despite analyst opinions.

For fiscal year 2012, analysts estimate that RDEA's earnings per share will decline by 12% to $-3.25. The chart shows a possible trend reversal for this stock, and perhaps best of all, a director just bought 876,828 shares at $17 amounting to a total of $14,906,076, and another director bought 426,470 at $17 amounting to $7,249,990.

Hess Corporation (NYSE:HES) is a global integrated energy company that operates in two segments: Exploration and Production (E&P), and Marketing and Refining (M&R). The current market price is $60.38 with a one-year analyst price target of $80.39. This represents a 33.14% upside potential. HES has a market cap of $20.38B and an enterprise value of $26.08B. The company's net margin has been higher than its Industry average for each of the past five years and its current forward PEG of 0.7 represents a 76% discount to its Oil & Gas Refining & Mktg Industry average. The 52-week price range is between $46.66 and $87.40.

Current EPS is 5.01 and for fiscal year 2012 analysts estimate that HES will earn $6.55, and by 2013 earnings per share are estimated to grow by 19% to $7.79. Continued strengthening of the balance sheet, higher-than-expected price realizations, improved reserve replacement ratios, and improving visibility of production growth profile are not the only pieces of information that make this stock stick out. Perhaps the most intriguing is the fact that the Chairman of the Board and CEO just bought 91,250 shares at $54.79 amounting to roughly $5M.

The Wendy's Company (NYSE:WEN) formerly Wendy's/Arby's Group, Inc., is the parent company of its wholly owned subsidiary holding company Wendy's Restaurants, LLC. The current market price is $4.90 with a one-year analyst price target of $5.78. This represents a 17.96% upside potential. Wendy's has a book value of $5.13 with a market cap of $1.88B and an enterprise value of $2.75B. The 52-week price range is $4.29 and $5.62. Revenues are $1.82B, which is up 1% from last year's $1.79B, however gross margin narrowed 4%. WEN announced on January 30 that it expects same-store sales growth of approximately 2.0% to 3.0% at Wendy's North America company-operated restaurants. In addition, Wendy's company-operated restaurant margin is projected to be 14.0% to 14.5%, an increase of up to 50 basis points.

Even though current EPS is -$0.02, the company's strategic initiatives are expected to improve its performance, margins, and EPS growth. Also, the best new for this company is the immense amount of insider activity. Recently there have been a total of nine directors buying up shares in the $4.75 - $4.87 range. Each director bought a total of 875,000 shares, a total of 7,875,000 shares amounting to roughly $37M.

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