Stocks the Rich Executives Are Buying

Put five Fools in a room, ask them how they invest, and you'll likely get five different answers. Some like growth, others value, or small caps, or dividends, or, well, you get the picture.

Yet, while our styles differ, we all want excellent, engaged managers running the companies we own. We like it even more when these managers are also owners -- investors like you and me who, in trying times like these, are willing to buy as others sell. That's why I write this column weekly.

The week's buying
So which rich executives are buying now? Have a look, courtesy of our friends at Form 4 Oracle:

Company

Closing Price 3/17/09

Total Value Purchased

52-Week Change

AnnTaylor Stores (NYSE: ANN  )

$3.93

$348,000

(81.9%)

Flowers Foods (NYSE: FLO  )

$22.95

$379,260

0.1%

International Paper (NYSE: IP  )

$7.26

$239,880

(73.5%)

Owens Corning (NYSE: OC  )

$7.56

$307,143

(54.9%)

Sequenom (Nasdaq: SQNM  )

$15.02

$53,765

183.4%

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

Could this pink panther turn green?
The Pink Panther is back. Well, OK, two Pink Panthers, if you include the recent Steve Martin remakes of Peter Sellers' celluloid renditions of Inspector Clouseau.

With due respect to Martin -- a comic genius, really -- I'm more interested in Owens Corning, a maker of insulation and other building products that for years used the cartoonish, salmon-colored kitty as a spokesmodel in its television ads.

There's reason to like Owens Corning more today than in years past. Yesterday the Commerce Department said that new construction rose 22% last month. More construction means more building materials, and that's very likely good news for Owens Corning.

So, perhaps, is our president's call to conserve energy and get greener. "Higher energy cost will drive insulation improvements on existing buildings as well as new construction," wrote CAPS investor paraglide in November.

But insulation is only a portion of Owens Corning's business. The company also manufactures composite materials that are being used to build wind turbines. That could become big business; General Electric (NYSE: GE  ) is a leading supplier of turbines and Vestas Wind Systems of Denmark handily beat analysts' 2008 revenue estimates when it reported earnings last month.

Fools increasingly see these and other turbine makers turning to Owens Corning for manufacturing supplies. Yet the three-star rating shows that those who follow the stock in our 130,000-strong Motley Fool CAPS community are treading carefully:

Metric

Owens Corning

CAPS stars (5 max)

***

Total ratings

421

Percent Bulls

95.2%

Percent Bears

4.8%

Bullish pitches

67 out of 68

Data current as of March 18, 2009.

Skepticism could be warranted. The Commerce Department's rosy report shows that multifamily construction -- i.e., condos, apartments -- surged 83%, while single-family home construction was up just 1.1%. The rub? It'll be awhile before Pulte Homes (NYSE: PHM  ) and its peers see a revenue and earnings recovery.

Owens Corning would do better in a robust market for residential construction. But building is building, and any increase in construction should aid sales. Or at least that seems to be what management thinks. Five different insiders have bought shares this month, including chief executive Michael Thaman. On Friday he purchased 25,000 shares at $7.08 apiece. A bullish sign? I'd say so.

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.

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

Fool contributor Tim Beyers is slowly improving his CAPS score. Thankfully, he's doing better as an analyst for Rule Breakers. Try this Foolish service free for 30 days.

Tim didn't own shares in any of the companies mentioned in this article at the time of publication. Check out his portfolio holdings and Foolish writings, or connect with him on Twitter as @milehighfool. The Motley Fool is also on Twitter as @TheMotleyFool. Its disclosure policy knew a rich executive once. She never bought anything.


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