It's Tuesday, and that means it's time to check the most interesting insider purchases from the past week. After checking through numerous filings using insider-tracking tool Form 4 Oracle, here are my top five from the past seven days:


Closing price 9/12/05

52-week change

Assurant (NYSE:AIZ)



Calavo Growers (NASDAQ:CVGW)



MDC Holdings (NYSE:MDC)



Midway Games (NYSE:MWY)



Party City (NASDAQ:PCTY)



Sources:, Yahoo! Finance.
*Returns adjusted to include the effect of dividend payments.

Let's take a look at three of these companies. First up this week is Party City, a national retailer of party supplies. A quick peek at the latest earnings release doesn't seem too encouraging on the surface: Same-store sales and gross profit both fell. Inventory also made a big rise while sales only edged higher. Yet in spite of this alarmingly bad news, Walker Smith Capital has been loading up on shares. In fact, the Dallas-based hedge fund manager has bolstered its position by almost 800,000 stubs since this time last year, according to the most recent proxy filing. Maybe there's more value here than meets the eye?

Next, let's cover MDC Holdings. The homebuilder is based in my back yard and has delivered very generous returns to shareholders in recent years. (Just check out this chart.) And apparently, founder and CEO Larry Mizel thinks that even better times are ahead. In early August, he exercised options for more than 85,000 shares and, in an unusual twist, held them all. Then he bought 12,565 more on Aug. 31 through his investing arm, Ari Capital Partners. Hmmm.

Finally, yesterday brought news that Lee Cole, CEO of avocado distributor Calavo Growers, added to his 12% stake in the firm by purchasing 30,000 more shares last Thursday and Friday. Ironically, the purchases came after a quarter in which net income was lower on a year-over-year basis. The Associated Press reports that Calavo blamed the shortfall on higher expenses from the relatively new Sarbanes-Oxley compliance regulations. Not good, but apparently not bad enough to keep Cole from collecting on Calavo's tasty 3.4% dividend yield.

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

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Fool contributor Tim Beyers usually 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 Fool profile, which is here. The Motley Fool has an ironclad disclosure policy.