Who's Buying Now?

It's time once again for our weekly check of the most interesting insider purchases. After reading through numerous filings using insider tracking tool Form 4 Oracle, here are my top five today.

The week's buying

Company

Closing Price 2/14/08

Total Value Purchased

52-Week Change

CAPS Rating
(5 Max)

Cirrus Logic (NASDAQ:CRUS)

$5.11

$499,835

(38.0%)

***

MIPS Technologies (NASDAQ:MIPS)

$3.86

$45,819

(59.8%)

***

MVC Capital (NYSE:MVC)

$15.16

$375,000

(7.1%)

*****

Wachovia  (NYSE:WB)

$33.66

$1,831,831

(41.9%)

**

Wright Express (NYSE:WXS)

$30.48

$695,453

10.6%

****

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

A logical choice
I can't remember when tech stocks were this cheap. But some techies are cheaper than others. For example, Silicon Motion, my Valentine's Day pick, trades at 10.3 times the current year's earnings.

Chipmaking peer Cirrus Logic, trading for 20.2 times 2008 estimates, isn't nearly as cheap. But if some our best stock pickers are to be believed, that's a price worth paying. Here's how CAPS All-Star NeroSagetrade put it last month:

Cirrus Logic is most attractive from a paper perspective, especially the $2.56 in cash per share with zero debt. I am also digging the fact that George Soros's fund has taken a 5.16% stake in the company. ... [T]hat's a big name backing a smaller company and I love it. ... Historically low valuations on all levels with a huge cash position should mean little downside is left here.

Not everyone in our 83,000-strong Motley Fool CAPS community is as bullish as Nero, but a fair number see upside ahead:

Metric

Cirrus Logic

CAPS stars (5 max)

***

Total ratings

71

Bullish ratings

62

Bull ratio

87.3%

Bearish ratings

9

Bear ratio

12.7%

Bullish pitches

7

Bearish pitches

1

Data current as of 2/14/08.

Insiders have a favorable outlook, too. Three different board members and executives have bought shares since the beginning of the month. Former Novellus executive Robert Smith, a Cirrus director since 1990, put roughly half a million dollars in personal wealth on the line on Monday.

Talk about impressive.

My personal take is that this business is in the right market (audio entertainment) at the right time. Its chips are often in home theater systems, set-top boxes, and other consumer devices. Insiders know that, and they're betting hundreds of thousands of dollars on the opportunity that the market will keep growing.

I'm inclined to join them. Cirrus joins my CAPS watch list today.

Welcome back, Wachovia
Banker Wachovia last appeared in this column on Nov. 21. What's happened since? First, the stock has fallen by another 12%. Second, insiders resumed their buying.

Last Thursday, board members John Baker and Lanty Smith teamed up to spend more than $1.8 million to boost their respective stakes. What makes this move interesting is that, while Citigroup's (NYSE: C  ) CEO for Latin America, Manuel Medina-Mora, was buying shares of his company in January, executives at Morgan Stanley (NYSE: MS  ) and Merrill Lynch, whose stocks have also plunged, have remained on the sidelines.

There's your update. See you back here next week, when we dig through more insider filings in search of the next home run stock.

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