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 my top five from the past seven days:

The week's buying

Company

Closing price 5/16/06

Total value of stock purchased

52-week change

Dean Foods (NYSE: DF  )

$36.16

$1,155,451

(6%)

Deckers Outdoor (Nasdaq: DECK  )

$37.01

$319.341

73%

Gateway (NYSE: GTW  )

$1.73

$98,000

(39%)

General Electric
(NYSE: GE  )

$34.79

$515,700

(5%)

WebSideStory (Nasdaq: WSSI  )

$13.23

$151,185

19%

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

All Fools on deck
Investing is a fickle game, and you'll never succeed at it if you flinch when the market doesn't agree with your thesis. Take Deckers Outdoor, for example. Since being selected to the Motley Fool Hidden Gems portfolio in September 2004, the stock of the upscale footwear seller best known for its Ugg brand boots has bounced up and down more than a hyperactive 2-year-old on a sugar high.

The darkest times came last October. Hidden Gems co-advisor Bill Mann wrote of deep discounting, management turmoil, and an overdependence on seasonal sales. Accordingly, the stock dipped to less than $20. But then Oprah worked her magic the next month, sales took an upward turn, and new management began work on a transition plan that is beginning to have an impact.

And now it seems some of the new execs want in on the upside that could occur once the transition is completed. CEO Angel Martinez, for example, boosted his stake in the company by more than 37% recently. Meanwhile, CFO Zohar Ziv and Teva president Peter Worley spent roughly $220,000 to open new positions.

But is the stock as comfortable as the shoes? Maybe. Yahoo! Finance puts Deckers' forward P/E at 14.22 with a price-to-earnings-to-growth ratio of 1.07. That's reasonable for a firm that analysts expect to grow at 15% annually for the next five years.

More important to me, however, is Deckers' short interest, which, at 24%, suggests that the stock is being weighted down by bearish sentiment. The shorts could be right, of course; a successful transition is anything but assured. But if they're wrong, look out -- this stock will pop like a champagne cork on New Year's Eve.

How about his firstborn, too?
In the wake of Dell's (Nasdaq: DELL  ) recent troubles, it's interesting to see Gateway's interim CEO, Richard Snyder, snapping up shares of his company. On Monday, he effectively doubled his direct ownership by spending $98,000 to acquire 50,000 stubs.

But I don't consider this too much of a bullish sign. For one thing, it's not a huge risk for Snyder. He's been granted 600,000 stock options that vest over the next two years. His current holdings are a pittance in comparison.

What really gets me, though, is Snyder's employment agreement. I can't imagine he's happy with it. Check out the vacation and sick-time policy. Here's my favorite part:

You will not have a set allotment of vacation time as you must be available at any time, including those times when you are taking time off. At Gateway, those in vice president and higher roles are expected to respond to email, phone calls, and may be required to attend meetings remotely even while on time off.

OK, then. Note to self: Never go to work for Gateway.

That's all for now. See you back here next Wednesday, 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 this related Foolishness:

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Fool contributorTim Beyersusually favors two scoops of ice cream over the inside scoop. Tim didn't own shares in any of the companies mentioned in this story at the time of publication. You can find out what is in his portfolio by checking Tim's Foolprofile. The Motley Fool has an ironcladdisclosure policy.


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