Who's Buying Now?

It's a new week, which means it's time to check the most interesting insider purchases.

Unfortunately, Form 4 Oracle shows light buying from the past seven days, which has forced me to cull this week's list to four from our usual five firms.

The week's buying

Company

Closing
Price
4/10/07

Total Value
of Stock
Purchased

52-Week
Change

Hawaiian Holdings (AMEX:HA)

$3.48

$99,400

(26%)

IndyMac Bancorp (NYSE:NDE)

$29.91

$135,198

(27%)

Martek Bioscience (NASDAQ:MATK)

$22.33

$124,730

(25%)

Teppco Partners (NYSE:TPP)

$44.95

$89,200

24%

Sources: Fool.com, Yahoo! Finance, Form 4 Oracle, SEC filings.

An Alt-A alternative for your portfolio
For a former East Coaster like me, there's really only one word that describes how the subprime crisis has dragged down the so-called Alternative-A lenders: wackadoo. But as fellow Fool Emil Lee points out, it's exactly when the loonies are out in force that the biggest investing profits are made.

Trouble is, when it comes to the Alt-A lenders, there's no perfect way to know which firms are oversold and which face still more trouble. That's where insider sentiment comes in. Examining the buying and selling habits of the bigwigs at the big lenders can, in my view, be a worthwhile indicator.

Think about it. Managers who are willing to buy into panic are either (a) morons or (b) better informed than those who are selling. Which strikes you as more likely? Me, too. Here's a brief summary of insider activity at some of the largest public Alt-A lenders from the past four weeks, courtesy of Form 4 Oracle:

Company

Net Change

IndyMac

$2.98 mil

Countrywide Financial (NYSE:CFC)

($12.6 mil)

Washington Mutual (NYSE:WM)

$0 mil

Sources: Yahoo! Finance, Form 4 Oracle.

Call me crazy if you must, but I think it's telling that IndyMac insiders are voting with their wallets just as their peers, along with the market in general, are either paralyzed or headed for the exits. That holds true even for the Fools among us:

Metric

IndyMac

CAPS stars (5 max)

*

Total ratings

173

Bullish ratings

93

Bull ratio

94.5%

Bearish ratings

80

Bear ratio

5.5%

Bullish pitches

22

Bearish pitches

23

Motley Fool CAPS data current as of April 11.

That's a pretty rotten rating. But this time, I sense that the view of the amateur and professional investors participating in CAPS is wrong. Why? The one guy who should know better than anybody else how bad it could get for IndyMac's Alt-A portfolio -- its very own Chief Financial Officer Kevin Scott -- is the most recent insider to buy shares. I'll be adding this stock to my CAPS watch list today.

That's all for now. See you back here next week, when we dig through more insider deals in search of the next home run stock.

Get the inside scoop on stocks of all sizes with related Foolishness:

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Washington Mutual is an Income Investor recommendation.

Fool contributor Tim Beyers, who is ranked 735 out of more than 26,300 in CAPS, usually favors two scoops of ice cream over the inside scoop. Tim didn't own stock in any of the companies mentioned in this story at the time of publication. All of his portfolio holdings can be found at his Fool profile. His thoughts on insider buying, Foolishness, and investing in general may be found in his blog. The Motley Fool's disclosure policy is a strong buy.


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