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 12/16/08

Total Value Purchased

52-Week Change

Akamai Technologies (Nasdaq: AKAM  )

$14.90

$1,012,121

(55.9%)

Chico's FAS (NYSE: CHS  )

$3.77

$37,441

(60.3%)

Forrester Research (Nasdaq: FORR  )

$23.20

$21,470

(12.1%)

Fuel Tech (Nasdaq: FTEK  )

$10.20

$219,132

(43.9%)

OYO Geospace (Nasdaq: OYOG  )

$17.80

$449,041

(75%)

Sources: Yahoo! Finance, Form 4 Oracle.

Clean-up your portfolio with this cleantech winner
No doubt, "cleantech" is going to be hot in 2009. More than $2.6 billion in private equity investment flowed into the sector during the third quarter, and there's no sign of a let-up. Even in Europe, where venture capital investment has generally come to a standstill, energy investments rose to record levels in Q3.

And yet, amid all this talk of a green revolution, I'm hearing little about taming existing pollution problems. An area where CAPS investor bgpr believes that Fuel Tech can help, as noted in a November pitch:

We are already using a lot of coal to generate electricity. If we want independence from foreign oil we must continue to burn coal. If we want to be "green" we must burn coal efficiently. FTEK has technology and expertise to help us become more efficient. Every month or so they add new utility customers worldwide. They are just starting in China. Growth potential huge as China is also becoming a huge energy importer.

Most of those following Fuel Tech in our 120,000-strong Motley Fool CAPS community agree. They rate this a four-star stock that's ready to pop:

Metric

Fuel Tech

CAPS stars (5 max)

****

Total ratings

1,027

Bullish ratings

992

Percent Bulls

96.6%

Bearish ratings

35

Percent Bears

3.4%

Bullish pitches

180

Bearish pitches

9

Data current as of Dec. 17, 2008.

So, apparently, do the insiders. Three separate executives bought shares last week, led by senior vice president John Graham, who added 15,000 shares to his direct stake. Joining him in the buying spree was board member Charles Grinnell and CEO Johnny Norris Jr.

My guess is they'll be rewarded -- but not soon. In November, Fuel Tech reported strong Q3 earnings growth but reduced its fourth-quarter guidance due a spending slowdown.

Akamai Attacked?
Investors have long suspected that Rule Breakers recommendation Akamai would suffer from new content delivery offerings from AT&T and Amazon (Nasdaq: AMZN  ) . Yesterday, Google (Nasdaq: GOOG  ) gave skeptics more reason to crow.

Legal counsel Richard Whitt described a plan to create an Akamai-like edge network for YouTube in defending his company against charges that it was backing away from earlier support of network neutrality. Akamai is rumored to be among those delivering Gootube streams.

Frankly, I don't see this hurting Akamai nearly as much as the bears think. Nor, it seems, does former CEO and current chairman George Conrades. He's joined co-founder Tom Leighton in committing more than $1 million to buy shares.

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:

Fool contributor Tim Beyers is slowly improving his CAPS score. Thankfully, he's doing better as an analyst for Rule Breakers, which counts Akamai and Google among its list of recommendations. Amazon is a Stock Advisor selection. OYO Geospace is a Hidden Gems pick.

Tim had stock and options positions in Google and a stock position in Akamai 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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