Famed money manager Peter Lynch gave us the inside scoop on how to look at insider transactions. Executives can sell their stock for any reason, he said, but they only buy for one: They think the price is going to go up!

Below we highlight a handful of insiders who are making big purchases of their own company's stock in the last week. These aren't executives getting big chunks of shares from option grants. Rather, they're insiders putting their own money on the line buying shares at market prices. We'll then pair that information with insights from the members of Motley Fool CAPS to see if they think the stock has the same prospects the insiders do.


Insider, Position

Market Value of 

CAPS Rating
(out of 5)

Noble Energy
William Vankleef, director

$0.9 million


Six Flags Entertainment
John Duffy, CFO

$1.7 million


US Gold
Robert McEwen, CEO

$19.8 million


Source: wsj.com; Motley Fool CAPS.

Although following the lead of insiders can be profitable, we still recommend you do further due diligence to determine whether these stocks make a good addition to your own portfolio. So this isn't a list of stocks to buy, but just the inside track on companies you might want to check out further.

Who asked you?
The very fact that Noble Energy was finally issued a permit to continue its drilling in the Gulf of Mexico nearly a year after the Macondo well disaster underscores just how difficult it will be for drillers to help the region recover. And it bears repeating this is just a permit to resume the drilling Noble had begun, not for new exploration.

The Obama administration's "permitorium," even if it is thawing -- and one permit does not a thaw make -- may have already damaged the region's economy for some time to come as oil companies yanked rigs out of the Gulf and moved them elsewhere. Anadarko Petroleum (NYSE: APC) canceled its three contracts last year for the Gulf, and Diamond Offshore (NYSE: DO) moved assets out as well.

These are not rigs and service equipment you just up and move around easily. The big players like ExxonMobil might readily come back, but the smaller players may have had to abandon the field just to survive. Noble, though, gets a competitive advantage here as the first in, along with Ensco, which will actually drill the well.

Wall Street is unanimous in believing Noble will outperform the market and the CAPS All-Star community is decidedly bullish as well. Let us know on the Noble Energy CAPS page whether it's past high time for the Obama administration to open up the Gulf of Mexico for business again.

A bun in the oven
A big purchase by Six Flags Entertainment's CFO before its earnings report a couple of weeks ago might have been even a more bullish signal for the company's future, but anytime someone sinks a million or so into company stock on the open market you have to sit up and take notice.

The theme park operator has been working to restructure itself after it sought bankruptcy protection a few years ago, but the company also thinks it's gotten off the roller-coaster ride and announced a $60 million buyback plan. A recession and tougher competition from Cedar Fair (NYSE: FUN) and other entertainment diversions for limited discretionary dollars made theme park operators tumble into trouble. Great Wolf Resorts still hasn't seen its way to the funhouse exit.

Highly rated CAPS All-Star TMFDeej figures Six Flags has an experienced turnaround management team, valuable assets, an achievable profit number, and compensation packages generally aligned with shareholder interests. While the dozen or so CAPS members that have thus far weighed in are a little more cautious in their outlook, the All-Stars are solid in their support.

Ride the theme park operator higher on the Six Flags Entertainment CAPS page or add it to your watchlist if you think it still might turn into a house of horrors.

A transforming event
Gold bug Rob McEwen, CEO of US Gold and the genius who turned Goldcorp (NYSE: GG) into the shining miner it is today, wasn't exactly a buyer on the open market for his company's shares. But the $20 million he was willing to put to work on his company in a privately negotiated transaction still speaks volumes for what he sees as this company's future. A couple of other insiders waded into the shallow end of the tailings pond, too.

Gold hit record highs last week, but I'm not sure it's peaked just yet. While the U.S jobs market looks decidedly better than it has in a long time, a Gallup survey suggests unemployment is back well over 10% if you take out seasonal variations. And the unrest in the Middle East is a major wildcard for gold prices and oil. Rising oil prices just might cripple the economy again so now might have been a great time for McEwen to bet big on his gold producer.

With 93% of the more than 600 CAPS members rating U.S. Gold to outperform the broad market averages, it's clear they think this junior miner could make it up to the big leagues one day. Let us know on the U.S. Gold CAPS page whether you think McEwen's bought at the top or just on the miner's next leg higher.

On the inside track
Following the insiders can be a path to profits, but it pays to start your own research on these stocks on Motley Fool CAPS. Read a company's financial reports, scrutinize key data and charts, and examine the comments your fellow investors have made, all from a stock's CAPS page. Sign up today for the completely free service, and tell us whether its worth trading on this inside information.

The Fool owns shares of Diamond Offshore Drilling, Ensco, and ExxonMobil. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. 

Fool contributor Rich Duprey does not have a financial position in any of the stocks mentioned in this article. You can see his holdings here. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.