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


Closing price 5/2/06

Total value of stock purchased

52-week change

BioMarin Pharmaceutical (Nasdaq: BMRN  )




Brookfield Homes




Chesapeake Energy




Coca-Cola (NYSE: KO  )




UltralifeBatteries (Nasdaq: ULBI  )




Sources:, Yahoo! Finance, Form 4 Oracle, SEC filings
*Returns adjusted to reflect the impact of dividends.

Coke is it
Sometimes, independent directors have been on the job so long that they might as well be members of the management team. That's how I think of Herb Allen, president and CEO of private investment firm Allen & Company, and a Coca-Cola director since 1982. As such, I hold his purchases of Coke stock with almost the same esteem I would accord to CEO Neville Isdell or chief financial officer Gary Fayard. Almost.

The difference, of course, is that Allen is an investor -- and a very good one at that. Allen is ranked 133rd on Forbes' list of the 400 richest Americans. His $2 billion fortune was partly accumulated by racking up 40% average annual investment returns since the mid-1980s. Sounds to me like the man knows a bargain when he sees one -- perhaps Coke makes the list? Between last Tuesday and Thursday, Allen's firm spent more than $21 million to acquire new shares of stock in the soda sultan.

Motley Fool Inside Value subscribers might find that commitment reassuring. Advisor Philip Durell picked Coke for the January 2005 issue, and the stock has lagged the market since. If Allen, like Philip, sees more upside ahead, I can understand why: According to Capital IQ, Coke's average trailing-12-month P/E of 20 is the company's lowest in more than 13 years.

Good medicine for BioMarin
Ever since I found out that Fossil (Nasdaq: FOSL  ) CEO Kosta Kartsotis was buying shares in the watchmaker he helped found on a 10b5-1 programmed trading plan, I've been on the lookout for more such arrangements.

Well, helloooooo, BioMarin Pharmaceutical.

This biotech, which specializes in treatments for diseases too small for the major pharma firms, has been on a tear ever since Motley Fool Rule Breakers biotech analyst Charly Travers made it a pick for our Stocks 2005 annual. He also endorsed it in this year's Stock Madness contest. (Though he, like yours truly, was treated to a relatively early exit.)

Consistent insider buying at the firm suggests that Charly is correct, but the purchases by CEO Jean Jacques Bienaime interest me most. According to filings with the SEC, Bienaime has been buying on a 10b5-1 plan since at least March. As if that weren't enough, on Monday, he bought another 1,500 shares outside the purview of the 10b5-1 plan. That tells me that either (a) the plan expired with his May 1 purchase, or (b) he believes current prices are simply too juicy to ignore. Improving guidance argues in favor of the latter.

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.

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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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