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 9/5/06

Total value of stock purchased

52-week change

Aetna (NYSE: AET  )

$36.16

$1,111,015

(12%)

Beacon Roofing Supply (Nasdaq: BECN  )

$18.81

$527,124

(13%)

Coachmen Industries (NYSE: COA  )

$10.36

$49,173

(23%)

Compass Minerals (NYSE: CMP  )

$27.41

$105,814

12%

Green Mountain Coffee (Nasdaq: GMCR  )

$38.76

$11,385

6%

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

Green Mountain summit
Coffee lovers who also happen to be investors tend to identify most with Starbucks Coffee (Nasdaq: SBUX  ) or Peet's Coffee and Tea (Nasdaq: PEET  ) . That's natural. Gourmet coffee is a West Coast sort of thing, and Starbucks (in Seattle) and Peet's (in Berkeley, Calif.) are as West Coast as you can get.

Green Mountain Coffee, on the other hand, is a lesser-known bean jockey based in Vermont that also happens to make darn good organic brew. But it's largely ignored; institutions don't even own 50% of the outstanding shares. Those that do, however, are very interesting.

Two in particular have caught my eye: Bridgeway and Royce. Both shops have produced winners for the Motley Fool Champion Funds portfolio. And each has micro cap funds with small but meaningful stakes in Green Mountain Coffee.

Why? Good question, Fool. Green Mountain, after all, has seen cash flow get tighter since upping to 41% its stake in Keurig, which makes single-cup brewing systems. Plus, as Foolish friend Alyce Lomax points out, its latest quarter went down like a day-old cup o' joe. The underperformance comes at a terrible time; Green Mountain recently agreed to spend $104 million to acquire Keurig outright.

Nevertheless, some Green Mountain insiders are buying stock in the face of adversity. Most recent among the list is Richard McCreary, who picked up a few shares on Friday. But his meager commitment pales compared to the ongoing buying by board member Bill Davis, who has a long history in the food-service business and who has spent more than $730,000 on shares so far in 2006.

Time will tell if any of these bets will pay off, but I think there's reason to be optimistic. After all, compared both to Peet's and its industry, Green Mountain boasts noticeably higher gross and operating margins. Plus, while the shares trade for what seems like a stratospheric price-to-earnings-to-growth ratio of 1.90, the industry average is 2.01. Meanwhile, Peet's trades for a PEG of 2.19 and Starbucks checks in at 1.87. Perhaps I'm overly caffeinated at the moment, but that smells intriguing.

Don't put me in yet, Coachmen
When Coachmen Industries revealed last month that it would be slicing its dividend by 50%, chairman William Johnson declared that the company's "best days lie ahead." It seemed a ludicrous statement at the time. But maybe not so much anymore.

Johnson was one of three insiders to buy stock in the RV builder last week. Joining him were new CEO Richard Lavers, who acquired 900 stubs, and board member John Goebel, who purchased 3,000 shares. Give the trio credit for putting their money where Johnson's mouth is. That's at least something, though nowhere near enough for me to forget that Coachmen barely manages a 7% gross margin in an industry that averages 17%. Ouch.

That's all for this week. See you back here next Wednesday, when we dig through more insider deals in search of the next home run stock.

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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. Get the skinny on all of the stocks in his portfolio by checking Tim's Foolprofile. The Motley Fool'sdisclosure policyis a strong buy.


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