5 Stocks Insiders Love Right Now

Tickers in this article: ANGI CLR ESSX HALO HES

WINDERMERE, Fla. (Stockpickr) - Corporate insiders sell their own companies' stock for a number of reasons.

They might need the cash for a big personal purchase such as a new house or yacht, or they might need the cash to fund a charity. Sometimes they sell as part of a planned selling program that they have put in place for diversification purposes, which allows them to sell stock in stages instead of selling all at one price.

Other times they sell because they think their stock is overvalued and the risk/reward is no longer attractive. Some even dump their own stock because they have inside knowledge that a competitor is eating their lunch and stealing market share.

But insiders usually buy their own shares for one reason: They think the stock is a bargain and has tremendous upside.

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The key word in that last statement is "think." Just because a corporate insider thinks his or her stock is going to trade higher, that doesn't mean it will play out that way. Insiders can have all the conviction in the world that their stock is a buy, but if the market doesn't agree with them, the stock could end up going nowhere. Also, I say "usually" because sometimes insiders are loaned money by the company to buy their own stock. Those loans are often sweetheart deals and shouldn't be viewed as organic insider buying.

At the end of the day, its large institutional money managers running big mutual funds and hedge funds that drive stock prices, not insiders. That said, many of these savvy stock operators will follow insider buying activity when they agree with the insider that the stock is undervalued and has upside potential. This is why it's so important to always be monitoring insider activity, but it's twice as important to make sure the trend of the stock coincides with the insider buying.

Recently, a number of companies' corporate insiders have bought large amounts of stock. These insiders are finding some value in the market, which warrants a closer look at these stocks. Here's a look at some stocks where insiders have been doing some big buying in per SEC filings.

Continental Resources

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One stock that insiders are snapping up here is Continental Resources , an independent crude oil and natural gas exploration and production player with operations in the North, South and East regions of the U.S. Insiders are buying this stock into some slight strength here since shares are up over 12% so far in 2012.

Continental Resources has a market cap of $13.4 billion and an enterprise value of $15.7 billion. This stock trades at a reasonable valuation, with a trailing price-to-earnings of 21.28 and a forward price-to-earnings of 16.37. Its estimated growth rate for this year is 29.6%, and for next year it's pegged at 30.9%. This is not a cash-rich company, since the total cash position on its balance sheet is $42.68 million and its total debt is $1.89 billion.

The CEO and chairman of the board just bought 100,000 shares, or around $7.16 million worth of stock, at $71.21 to $71.51 per share.

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From a technical perspective, CLR is currently trading below its 50-day moving average and above its 200-day moving average, which is neutral trendwise. This stock has been downtrending for the past three months from a high of $97.19 to a recent low of $70.22 a share. That low occurred right after CLR bounced right near its 200-day moving average of $70.61, and it's now trading at around $75.30 a share.

If you're in the bull camp on CLR, then I would only look for long-biased trades once this stock triggers a break out above some near-term overhead resistance at $80 a share with high-volume. Look for volume on that move that's near or well above its three-month average action of 1.3 million shares. If we get that move, then I would add to any long positions cone CLR takes out its 50-day moving average at $83.11 with volume. Target a run back toward its May high of $91.82 a share or possibly higher.

I would simply avoid CLR or look for short-biased trades if it fails to trigger that breakout, and then drops below its 200-day and some near-term support at $70.22 with high volume. A high-volume move below those levels should setup CLR to re-test its next significant support level at $61.61 a share. Essex Rental

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Another stock that insiders are buying up is Essex Rental , which provides cranes, including lattice-boom crawler cranes, truck cranes and rough terrain cranes, tower cranes and other lifting equipment, for use in a range of construction projects. Insiders are buying this stock into some modest strength since shares are up 14% so far in 2012.

Essex Rental has a market cap of $83 million and an enterprise value of $296 million. This stock trades at a reasonable valuation, with a price-to-sales of 0.84 and a price-to-book of 0.97. Its estimated growth rate for this year is 12.5%, and for this year it's pegged at 57.1%. This is not a cash-rich company, since the total cash position on its balance sheet is $7.83 million and its total debt is $227.28 million.

The CEO and president just bought 172,000 shares, or $507,000 worth of stock, at $2.95 per share.

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From a technical perspective, ESSX is currently trading right at its 200-day moving average and below its 50-day moving average, which is bearish. This stock has been trading range bound for the past three months and change, between $2.80 on the downside and $4.31 on the upside. On Tuesday, ESSX bounced higher by 7.6% to $3.39 a share with volume above both its 50-day and 200-day moving averages, but closed right below its 200-day.

If you're bullish on ESSX, then I would look for long-biased trades once it manages to close above both its 200-day and 50-day moving averages with high-volume. Look for volume on that move that's near or above its three-month average action of 60,994 shares. If we get that action soon, I would then add to any long positions once ESSX takes out some near-term overhead resistance at $3.90 to $4.31 a share with high-volume. If ESSX can sustain a trend above all of those levels, then it could hit its next significant resistance prices at $4.89 to $5.50 in the near future.

I would simply avoid any long trades in ESSX if fails to sustain a high-volume trend above both its 200-day and 50-day moving averages, or if it ever takes out $2.80 a share with high-volume. Angie's List

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A computer services player that insiders are jumping into right now is Angie's List , which operates a consumer-driven solution for its members to research, hire, rate and review local professionals for critical needs, such as home, health care and automotive services. Insiders are snapping up shares of this stock into weakness since it's down by over 20% so far in 2012.

Angie's List has a market cap of $733 million and an enterprise value of $674 million. This stock trades at a premium valuation, with a price-to-sales of 7.19 and a price-to-book of 22.22. Its estimated growth rate for this year is 39.4%, and for next year it's pegged at 57.7%. This is a cash-rich company, since the total cash position on its balance sheet is $84.57 million and its total debt 14.83 million. When you back out the debt, Angie's List has a total of $69.74 million of cash on its books.

A beneficial owner just bought 230,799 shares, or around $2.99 million worth of stock, at $13.00 per share. A director also just bought 38,461 shares, or around $500,000 worth of stock, at $13 per share.

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From a technical perspective, ANGI is currently trading below its 50-day moving average, which is bearish. This stock has been downtrending hard for the past two months, with shares dropping from a high of $19.82 to a recent low of $12.25 a share. During that move lower, shares of ANGI have consistently made lower highs and lower lows, which is bearish technical price action. On Tuesday, ANGI dropped below some near-term support at $12.88 to $12.81 a share with heavy volume.

If you're bullish on ANGI, I would only look for long-biased trades if this stock can manage to find some high-volume buying interest near its all-time low of $10.77 a share. That $10.77 area is the lowest ANGI has traded since it IPOed back in late 2011. The way this stock is trending right now, it looks destine to re-test that level very soon. If buyers step in around $10.77 with upside volume that's near or above 283,016 shares, then it could be a good area to get long the stock. Halozyme Therapeutics

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Another name that insiders are snapping up a large amount of stock in is biotechnology and drugs player Halozyme Therapeutics , which engages in the research, development and commercialization of recombinant human enzymes that transiently modify tissue under the skin to facilitate injection of other therapies or correct diseased tissue structures for clinical benefits. Insiders are loading up on this stock into some mild weakness since shares are off by around 14% so far in 2012.

Halozyme Therapeutics has a market cap of $871 million and an enterprise value of $781 million. This stock trades at a premium valuation, with a price-to-sales of 16.05 and a price-to-book of 11.09. Its estimated growth rate for this year is -215.8%, and for next year it's pegged at 20%. This is a cash-rich company, since the total cash position on its balance sheet is $116.61 million and its total debt is zero.

A beneficial owner and director just bought 1.1 million shares, or around $7.95 million worth of stock, at $7.35 to $7.50 per share.

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From a technical perspective, HALO is currently trading below both its 50-day and 200-day moving averages, which is bearish. This stock has been destroyed by the sellers in the last two months and change, with shares dropping from a high of $13.50 to a recent low of $7.71 a share. Shares of HALO also gapped down huge in mid-April from over $11 to $7.51 a share with monster volume.

If you're a bullish on HALO, I would look only look for long-biased trades if this stock can manage to trigger a breakout above some near-term overhead resistance at $8.45, and then above its 200-day moving average of $8.93 a share with high-volume. Look for volume on that move that's near or well above its three-month average action of 1,097,330 shares. If we get that action soon, then HALO can attempt to fill some of that gap and potentially trade back above $10 to $11 a share rather quickly. Keep in mind that in order for HALO to challenge that gap it also needs to clear its gap-down day high of $9.20 a share.

I would simply avoid HALO or look for short-biased trades if it fails to trigger that breakout, and then drops below some near-term support at $7.50 to $.7.17 a share with heavy volume. If those support levels are taken out with volume, then HALO could easily drop towards its next significant prior support levels at $6 to $5.50 a share.

Halozyme shows up on a list of 3 Stocks to Buy for Less Than What Insiders Paid. Hess

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The last name to look at with notable insider buying is oil and gas operations player Hess . This is a global integrated energy company that operates in two segments: exploration and production (E&P) and marketing and refining (M&R). Insiders are dipping into this stock into some decent weakness since shares are off by 19% so far in 2012.

Hess has a market cap of $15.4 billion and an enterprise value of $22.14 billion. This stock trades at a cheap valuation, with a trailing price-to-earnings of 11.81 and a forward price-to-earnings of 6. Its estimated growth rate for this year is 9.5%, and for next year it's pegged at 18.5%. This is not a cash-rich company, since the total cash position on its balance sheet is $396 million and its total debt is a whopping $6.98 billion.

A director just bought 20,000 shares, or about $916,000 worth of stock, at $45.79 per share.

From a technical perspective, HES is currently trading below both its 50-day and 200-day moving averages, which is bearish. This stock has been downtrending hard for the last three months, with shares plunging from a high of $67.75 to a recent low of $44.10 a share. During that move lower, shares of HES have consistently made lower highs and lower lows, which is bearish technical price action. That move has now pushed HES into oversold territory since its current relative strength index reading is 31.54.

If you're bullish on HES, one could look for an oversold snapback bounce in this stock as long as it holds that recent low of $44.10 a share. Look for any upside strength above Tuesday's high of $46.88 a share with volume that's near or above its three-month average action of 4,768,490 shares. If we get that action, then look for HES to take out $50 to $52 a share and possibly bounce towards its 50-day moving average of $54.60 a share.

I would avoid this stock or look for short-biased trades if that bounce never materializes, and then HES takes out $44.10 with heavy volume. A high-volume move below $44.10 would push this stock into new 52-week low territory and likely lead to lower prices.

To see more stocks with notable insider buying, including MagicJack VocalTec , Basic Energy Services and Northeast Bancorp , check out the Stocks With Big Insider Buying portfolio on Stockpickr.

-- Written by Roberto Pedone in Winderemere, Fla.

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Tickers in this article: ANGI CLR ESSX HALO HES