Who's Buying Now?

It's a new week, which means it's time to check the most interesting insider purchases. After reading through numerous filings using insider tracking tool Form 4 Oracle, here are this week's top five.

The week's buying

Company

Closing Price 7/10/07

Total Value Purchased

52-Week Change

Apollo Group (NASDAQ:APOL)

$60.82

$157,095

25%

Carriage Services (NYSE:CSV)

$8.41

$21,795

79%

Casual Male Retail Group (NASDAQ:CMRG)

$10.17

$10,108

(14%)

Kayne Anderson MLP (NYSE:KYN)

$34.20

$264,117

33%

Prospect Capital (NASDAQ:PSEC)

$18.34

$744,289

14%

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

A fancy price for Casual Male?
For anyone who thinks they've got the market figured out, have I got a stock for you: Casual Male. Since May, the leading retailer of men's plus-sized clothes has enjoyed a big and tall legal victory and a striking first-quarter earnings report.

And what of the stock? It's down 14% over the past 52 weeks, with much of that decline coming when Q1 net income missed analyst estimates by a penny.

Fools, too, have turned coattail. Have a look at how the professional and amateur stock pickers in our Motley Fool CAPS investor-intelligence database rate Casual Male:

Metric

Casual Male

CAPS stars (5 max)

**

Total ratings

40

Bullish ratings

34

Bull ratio

85.0%

Bearish ratings

6

Bear ratio

15.0%

Bullish pitches

8

Bearish pitches

2

Data current as of July 11, 2007.

Two stars? Sorry, I don't see it. Return on capital has been on the rise since 2005. Gross margin is expanding faster than America's collective waistline. And owner earnings topped $33.5 million in the last 12 months alone. Pretty impressive for a firm that commands just $439 million in market cap, wouldn't you say?

I would. And so would CAPS All-Star jtallenmd, who in February proclaimed Casual Male's intrinsic value to be "at least $24." I'd agree, except that he may be lowballing it. Assuming 17% dilution for each of the next five years and 22.5% cash flow growth over the same period, Casual Male is worth more than $32 a share, by my math.

One insider with a handle on numbers seems to agree. On Thursday, senior vice president and controller Sheri Knight opened a direct position in Casual Male by purchasing 1,000 shares on the open market.

So, who's right? Bears or bulls? Between the valuation and the insider buying, I'm inclined to side with the snorters. Look for Casual Male to make an appearance in my CAPS portfolio today.

Carriage Services off its deathbed
For Carriage Services, the last year has seen death warmed over. The stock is up 79% since last summer. Yet investors, on the whole, remain neutral on the death care provider.

All except insiders, that is. On Friday, three separate board members opened their wallets to purchase shares. And on June 27, CEO Melvin Payne spent more than $188,000 to pad his position in the stock.

This isn't the first time Carriage Services has appeared in this column. The stock debuted here in February, when insiders had shelled out more than $512,000 at prices below $6.74 a stub. Still, it wasn't my top pick at the time. Peer Service Corp. (NYSE: SCI  ) was. Oops.

I'd love to rectify that today but, with a somewhat steep 1.50 PEG ratio, I can't justify adding Carriage Services to my CAPS portfolio at its current price. My watch list will have to do.

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.

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Fool contributor Tim Beyers, ranked 2,860 out of more than 50,000 participants in CAPS, holds no stock in any of the companies mentioned above. Check out Tim's holdings on his Fool profile, or read his blog. The Motley Fool's disclosure policy has the inside scoop.


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