Who's Buying Now?

It's time to check the most interesting insider purchases for the week. After reading through numerous filings using insider tracking tool Form 4 Oracle, here are my top five today.

The week's buying

Company

Closing Price Feb. 6

Total Value Purchased

52-Week Change

CAPS Rating (5 max)

Actuate (NASDAQ:ACTU)

$4.77

$589,300

(12.0%)

*****

Amicus Therapeutics (NASDAQ:FOLD)

$10.15

$4,906,864

(29.7%)*

**

Micrel (NASDAQ:MCRL)

$5.99

$156,678

(41.8%)

***

MVC Capital (NYSE:MVC)

$14.70

$194,696

(2.9%)

*****

Unisys (NYSE:UIS)

$4.08

$560,294

(55.0%)

*

Sources: Fool.com, Yahoo! Finance, Form 4 Oracle, SEC filings.
*Amicus Therapeutics began trading on May 31, 2007.

These are, after all, business intelligence experts
Mr. Market sure is cranky, isn't he? Top stocks are losing big. But it's days like yesterday that create big buying opportunities. And not just for Joe and Jane Oddlot. Insiders, too.

Many have been buying this week, including the top two executives at Actuate, which specializes in software for monitoring the sort of business metrics that investors crave. Think sales performance, inventory management, customer retention, etc.

More commonly, what Actuate does is referred to as "business intelligence" (BI), and it's a massive opportunity. So big, in fact, that the two biggest players in the industry were acquired for significant premiums last year. IBM (NYSE: IBM  ) paid $5 billion for Cognos and SAP spent $6.8 billion on Business Objects.

I've long been a fan of Actuate for two reasons. First, because it provides a specific type of BI called analytics, which can be used for predicting the outcome of strategic business moves. Second, because Actuate trades for just 14.5 times this year's earnings and is expected to grow earnings by 20% per year, resulting in what I believe is an unreasonably cheap 0.73 PEG ratio.

Apparently, an overwhelming majority of those who've rated the stock in our 83,000-strong Motley Fool CAPS community agree:

Metric

Actuate

CAPS stars (5 max)

******

Total ratings

341

Bullish ratings

335

Bull ratio

98.2%

Bearish ratings

6

Bear ratio

1.8%

Bullish pitches

52

Bearish pitches

1

Note: Data current as of Feb. 7, 2008.

One more thing. While the majority of us Fools, and, apparently, Actuate's insiders, see this stock as cheap, there could very well exist a margin of safety in the way of a potential buyout offer from Oracle (Nasdaq: ORCL  ) . The database deacon has publicly made BI a priority since its deal for Hyperion Solutions roughly one year ago.

That's one of the principal reasons why Actuate is on my CAPS scorecard today. It's also why I'm closely watching the stock for my real-money portfolio.

What to see in MVC
I'm less knowledgeable about asset manager MVC. But I'll take a serious look at any company that fellow Fool Bill Mann recommends. Bill picked MVC for Motley Fool Hidden Gems last spring, but it hasn't been a stellar performer since.

Insiders apparently see that as an opportunity. At least 10 of them have bought shares since Bill's pick. This week, five of those buyers added to their positions, including board member Gerald Hellerman, who put more than $103,000 in real wealth on the line.

That's too interesting to ignore; MVC joins my CAPS watch list today.

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.

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