Insider Buys Gone Wild

Unlike all those sexy coeds making inebriated, spur-of-the-moment decisions in front of a rolling camera, this guy-gone-wild knew exactly what he was going to do. He even told us his plan in a March 3 press release. Still, the swiftness with which Tom Ward, the chairman/CEO of oil and gas upstart SandRidge Energy (NYSE: SD  ) , made good on his commitment to purchase $100 million worth of shares on the open market is astonishing.

While he said he'd conduct the purchases "during 2008," it appears that Ward snatched all the shares he sought over a roughly two-week span in May. Talk about going on a share-buying bender. Spring break! Whooo!

It's a good thing that SandRidge's point man -- a founder of Chesapeake Energy (NYSE: CHK  ) -- got his shopping done early. The shares have been on an absolute tear, rising more than 80% year to date through Tuesday. So much for Haynesville hopefuls like Petrohawk Energy (NYSE: HK  ) and Bakken buccaneers like Brigham Exploration (Nasdaq: BEXP  ) totally stealing the spotlight. There's room for all sorts of E&Ps on the mania train.

We are hitting what appears to me to be a manic phase in the energy markets. There's some real junk in energy microcap land that has soared between 500% and 1,000% just since January. When any old story stock will fly, it's time to give the exit an eye. I'm sure I'll have more to say on this as valuations get even wackier.

Getting back to SandRidge, I recently got a bit uncomfortable with the share price run-up and ended my Motley Fool CAPS outperform call on the company (along with other big winners like Northern Oil & Gas (AMEX: NOG  ) ). With the slate of hedges currently in place, SandRidge doesn't benefit proportionally with surging natural gas prices. This will prove handy when people remember that commodities aren't a one-way trade, but for now, the enthusiasm seems excessive.

Perhaps I'm wrong and SandRidge is just getting warmed up. However you feel, I'd love to see your analysis over in CAPS. Maybe you'll persuade me to jump back in.

Related Foolishness:

Chesapeake is an Inside Value selection. Whether it's a red-hot sector like energy or an ice-cold one like health care, this team is constantly scouring all corners of the market for strong values. Check out all past recommendations with a free 30-day trial.

Fool contributor Toby Shute doesn't have a position in any company mentioned. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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  • Report this Comment On June 18, 2008, at 1:21 PM, TexasLonghorns wrote:

    Check out how many MILLIONS of shares Aubrey McClendon has bought of Chesapeake Energy in the last 3 months. More than $100 million worth that SD has bought. When insiders eat their own cooking at these prices I'd say they know something we don't.

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