Put five Fools in a room, ask them how they invest, and you'll likely get five different answers. Some like growth, others value, or small caps, or dividends, or, well, you get the picture.

Yet, while our styles differ, we all want excellent, engaged managers running the companies we own. We like it even more when these managers are also owners -- investors like you and me who, in trying times like these, are willing to buy as others sell. That's why I write this column weekly.

The week's buying
So which rich executives are buying now? Have a look, courtesy of our friends at Form 4 Oracle:


Closing Price Feb. 11, 2009

Total Value Purchased

52-Week Return

Bank of America (NYSE:BAC)




General Mills (NYSE:GIS)




Motorola (NYSE:MOT)




Verizon (NYSE:VZ)




Western Union (NYSE:WU)




Sources: Yahoo! Finance, Form 4 Oracle.

Too early to hang up on Motorola?
Would you buy a business that's cutting stuff and bleeding cash? Motorola Co-CEOs Greg Brown and Sanjay Jha would. Last Thursday and Friday, they combined to purchase 725,000 shares. Brown, in particular, upped his direct stake by more than 30%.

It's a refreshing story. EMC's (NYSE:EMC) insiders last week were selling -- in very large chunks -- shortly after the company announced a round of layoffs. And they're still dumping: Mark Lewis, president of the content management and archiving division, sold 100,000 shares, or 15% of his direct stake, on Tuesday.

You could argue that Brown and Jha have better reasons to sell. Motorola reported negative free cash flow for 2008 -- its first year of bleeding cash since 2000. Returns on invested capital also turned negative. Competition, meanwhile, is fiercer than ever. Apple's (NASDAQ:AAPL) iPhone is eating everything, including the BlackBerry's once-precious fruit.

"They are done like dinner. RAZR is no longer popular. They need to establish another product that is popular or else the iPhone and Blackberry are going to drive them into the ground. I wouldn't say they have a good chance of going out of business but they are going to suffer in the next couple of months," according to Motley Fool CAPS investor WakeJKirk.

What's a Motorola investor to do? Proceed with caution, based on the opinions in our CAPS community of 125,000 investors:



CAPS stars (5 max)


Total ratings


Percent Bulls


Percent Bears


Bullish pitches

303 of 417

Note: Data current as of Feb. 12, 2009.

How do the bulls respond? Snorting, as you'd expect. CAPS investor inastrangeland explains in this pitch from November:

This is an easy one, with over $7B in cash, a business that without handsets is earning 10% pretax profit on $15B in revenue would b e worth well over $4 right now, not just in the future. This stock is getting hammered because the analysts treat [Motorola] like a one trick pony and don't give any value to the other businesses that make up over 2/3s of the revenue and are very profitable.

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.

For related Foolishness:

Fool contributor Tim Beyers is slowly improving his CAPS score. Thankfully, he's doing better as an analyst for Rule Breakers. Western Union is an Inside Value pick. Apple is a Stock Advisor selection. Bank of America is a former Income Investor choice. Try any of these Foolish services free for 30 days.

Tim didn't own shares in any of the stocks mentioned in this article at the time of publication. Check out his portfolio holdings and Foolish writings, or connect with him on Twitter as @milehighfool. The Motley Fool is also on Twitter as @TheMotleyFool. Its disclosure policy knew a rich executive once. She never bought anything.