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 buy for only one: They think the price is going to go up!

Today, I've highlighted two insiders who have made big purchases of their own company's stock in the past 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. I then paired 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 Transactions

CAPS Rating
(out of 5)

Synta Pharmaceuticals (Nasdaq: SNTA) Bruce Kovner, director $5.0 million ***
EXCO Resources (NYSE: XCO) WL Ross & Co., 10% owner $2.1 million ****

Source: FinViz.com.

Although following the lead of insiders can be profitable, we still recommend you do further due diligence to determine whether these stocks are a good fit for your own portfolio. This isn't a list of stocks to sell or buy, just the inside track on companies you might want to check out further.

You can bank on it
Without any products on the market, development-stage biotech Synta Pharmaceuticals hopes ganetespib will be the catalyst that puts it on the map for treating cancer, including tumors of the lung, colon, pancreas, breast, prostate, and eye. In the meantime, it's going to need to survive by offering stock on the open market, which investors don't like as it dilutes their holdings. Its stock fell recently after it offered 7 million shares at $4.40 each, for which it hopes to receive about $28.6 million.

In the past, it has formed partnerships with established pharmaceuticals like Roche and GlaxoSmithKline. The latter partnership failed; while the former remains in effect, Synta needs to achieve various development milestones before it will receive additional money.

The CAPS community has faith, as 91% of those rating the drug developer think it will outperform the broad market indexes. Let us know in the comments section below or on the Synta Pharmaceuticals CAPS page if it will ride out the storm, then add it to your watchlist to see how it plays out.

Feeling gaseous
Natural gas producers are reeling from the plunge in prices as drillers continue to exploit new sources and deploy new technologies to access hitherto unreachable deposits. Independent explorer EXCO Resources saw its shares drop 58% from their highs; they're down roughly 20% in the last month alone. Quicksilver Resources (NYSE: KWK) finds itself in a similar dire situation as analysts believe it will need to shut some wells to rein in its expenses while bolstering its tenuous capital position to survive. The other alternative will be finding a larger partner to buy them out. Ultra Petroleum (NYSE: UPL), which has a good chance of burning bright this year, has already teamed up with EXCO in the Marcellus shale region.

Last August, Wilbur Ross (CEO of WL Ross & Co.) made some big purchases of stock that had EXCO requiring him to enter into a standstill agreement and pinky-swear he wouldn't buy the company or work with someone else to do so.

CAPS member jw68 is counting on EXCO to ultimately report earnings that surprise the market, a point CAPS All-Stars wouldn't disagree with, as 96% of those rating the gas explorer believe it will beat the Street. Add EXCO Resources to your watchlist and let us know in the comments section below if you think it's only a matter of time before natural gas recovers.

On the inside track
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This article represents the opinion of the writer, who may disagree with the “official” recommendation position of a Motley Fool premium advisory service. We’re motley! Questioning an investing thesis -- even one of our own -- helps us all think critically about investing and make decisions that help us become smarter, happier, and richer.