Watching insiders is like participating in a weeks-long stakeout. You expect something to happen, but you don't know what. So, you settle in, sip your coffee, and wait for clues to solving the big case.

Here, the "case" is direction: Which way is your stock headed? The "clues" come in the form of insider buying and selling action. Have a look at what the action has been like at Akamai Technologies (NASDAQ:AKAM) over the past year.

Business description

Market leading Web Content Delivery Network (CDN) has branched into ad delivery and other web site and e-commerce optimization services.

Recent Price


CAPS Stars (5 max)


Percentage of Shares Owned by Insiders


Net Buying (Selling)*


Last Buyer

George Conrades, Executive Chairman

20,000 shares ($14.35 each) on Dec. 16, 2008

Last Seller

Ronald Graham, director

3,500 shares ($22.50 each) on June 5, 2009


Limelight Networks (NASDAQ:LLNW)

Level 3 Communications (NASDAQ:LVLT)

CAPS Members Bullish on AKAM Also Bullish on

General Electric (NYSE:GE)


CAPS Members Bearish on AKAM Also Bearish on

Citigroup (NYSE:C)

General Motors

Sources: Form 4 Oracle, Capital IQ, and Motley Fool CAPS. (Data current as of June 23, 2009.)
*Open market sales and purchases only, over the past year.

What we're tracking here, and why
Insider buying data can be confusing. Here, I'm concentrating only on buying and selling conducted in the open market. With most of these transactions, insiders control the timing. Other times they're buying or selling under the purview of a 10b5-1 plan. Either way, personal holdings are being bought and sold.

Personal holdings are what matter most -- it's the stock executives hold for investment rather than compensation. Employee stock options are different; they're compensatory in the purest sense. I've stripped out options-related buying and selling from the calculations you see above.

The Foolish view
When it comes to insider action, Akamai's is a Christmas story:  Executives and board members concentrated their purchases in December. Sellers went missing after last June, and then reappeared in May and June.

A troubling sign, you say? I wouldn't, not when the data from Form 4 Oracle shows that buyers outspent sellers by nearly $1.7 million over the past year. By those numbers, Akamai executives are about as bullish as anyone could be.

Our 135,000-strong Motley Fool CAPS All-Star community is also bullish. They give Akamai five of five stars, in spite of emerging competition from (NASDAQ:AMZN) and other firms that want a slice of the CDN pie.

"Akamai processes nearly 20% of the world's Internet traffic and crucial for handling online traffic for any company. Although there is more competition, Akamai's continued expansion of product suite will make the company a leader in this space," wrote CAPS All-Star samdeva in December.

He and others have good reasons to believe. In April, Akamai beat the Street's consensus in reporting first-quarter revenue and earnings. Average Revenue Per User (ARPU) grew to $23,600 and free cash flow improved more than 12% to $67.4 million. Management also announced a $100 million stock repurchase plan, in a recession no less. What's not to like?

Not much, I say. Do you agree? Disagree? Log in to CAPS today and tell us how you would rate Akamai.

And if you want me to take a Foolish peek at the insider action of your favorite stock, email me here, or use the comments box below. I'll write this column as often as you, our readers, demand.

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Fool contributor Tim Beyers had stock and options positions in Google and a stock position in Akamai at the time of publication. Check out Tim's portfolio holdings and Foolish writings, or connect with him on Twitter as @milehighfool. The Motley Fool is also on Twitter as @TheMotleyFool. The Fool's disclosure policy has its eye on you.