Stock Quotes in this Article: FCX NBR PNRA ACRX SWY

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

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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.

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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 five stocks whose insiders have been doing some big buying per SEC filings.

Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold

One integrated mining player that insiders are buying up a huge amount of stock in here is Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold (FCX), which deals in the mining of copper, gold and molybdenum. Insiders are buying this stock into weakness, since shares are off by 17.5% so far in 2013.

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Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold has a market cap of $27.5 billion and an enterprise value of $50.2 billion. This stock trades at a cheap valuation, with a trailing price-to-earnings of 9.95 and a forward price-to-earnings of 8.92. Its estimated growth rate for this year is -23.9%, and for next year it's pegged at 27.8%. This is not a cash-rich company, since the total cash position on its balance sheet is $3.29 billion and its total debt is $21.22 billion. This stock currently sports a dividend yield of 4.3%.

A director just bought 517,350 shares, or about $14.82 million worth of stock, at $28.64 per share.

From a technical perspective, FCX is currently trending below both its 50-day and 200-day moving averages, which is bearish. This stock has been downtrending over the last five month, with shares dropping from its high of $33 to its recent low of $26.07 a share. Shares of FCX recently formed a double bottom chart pattern at $26.04 to $26.07 a share. Following that bottom, this stock has trended higher to $30.14 a share, but it just failed to hold above its 50-day at $28.60 a share.

If you're bullish on FCX, then I would look for long-biased trades as long as this stock is trending above some near-term support levels at $27 to $26 and then once it takes out its 50-day at $28.60 a share with high volume. Look for a sustained move or close above its 50-day with volume that hits near or above its three-month average action of 17.31 million shares. If we get that move soon, then FCX will set up to re-test or possibly take out its next major overhead resistance levels at $30.14 to $32 a share.

Nabors Industries

Another energy player that insiders are scooping up a large amount of stock in here is Nabors Industries (NBR), which is a global land drilling contractor and land well-servicing and workover contractor. Insiders are buying this stock into moderate weakness, since shares are off by 8.4% over the last six months.

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Nabors Industries has a market cap of $4.5 billion and an enterprise value of $7.8 billion. This stock trades at a cheap valuation, with a trailing price-to-earnings of 22.65 and a forward price-to-earnings of 12.49. Its estimated growth rate for this year is -51.4%, and for next year it's pegged at 43.5%. This is not a cash-rich company, since the total cash position on its balance sheet is $607.96 million and its total debt is $4.08 billion. This stock currently sports a dividend yield of 1.1%.

A director just bought 120,000 shares, or about $1.79 million worth of stock, at $14.79 per share. Another director also just bought 7,000 shares, or about $103,000 worth of stock, at $14.78 per share.

From a technical perspective, NBR is currently trending below both its 50-day and 200-day moving averages, which is bearish. This stock has found some buying interest over the last four months whenever it's pulled back to $14.50 to $14.30 a share. This stock has tested those levels twice during the month of July, and buyers have stepped in. Shares of NBR are now starting to move within range of triggering a near-term breakout trade.

If you're in the bull camp on NBR, then look for long-biased trades as long as this stock is trending above $14.34 and then once it breaks out above some near-term overhead resistance levels at $15.76 to $16.26 a share with high volume. Look for a sustained move or close above those levels with volume that registers near or above its three-month average action of 4.09 million shares. If that breakout triggers soon, then NBR will set up to re-test or possibly take out its next major overhead resistance levels at $17 to $17.40 a share. Any high-volume move above those levels will then put $18.24 to $19 within range for shares of NBR.

Panera Bread

One casual dining player that insiders are active in here is Panera Bread (PNRA), which is a national bakery-cafe concept with 1,652 company-owned and franchise-operated bakery-cafe locations in 44 states, the District of Columbia and Ontario, Canada. Insiders are buying this stock into modest strength, since shares are up 5.2% so far in 2013.

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Panera Bread has a market cap of $4.8 billion and an enterprise value of $4.5 billion. This stock trades at a reasonable valuation, with a trailing price-to-earnings of 26.28 and a forward price-to-earnings of 21.32. Its estimated growth rate for this year is 15.8%, and for next year it's pegged at 15.1%. This is a cash-rich company, since the total cash position on its balance sheet is $341.06 million and its total debt is zero.

The CFO just bought 1,500 shares, or about $252,000 worth of stock, at $168.58 per share.

From a technical perspective, PNRA is currently trending below both its 50-day and 200-day moving averages, which is bearish. This stock recently gapped down big from $187.50 to its low of $165.55 a share with heavy downside volume. That move has now pushed shares of PNRA into oversold territory, since its current relative strength index reading is 25.59. Oversold can always get more oversold, but it's also an area where a stock can experience a powerful rebound higher from.

If you're bullish on PNRA, then look for long-biased trades as long as this stock is trending above some key near-term support at $165.55, and then once it breaks out above some near-term overhead resistance levels at its 200-day of $171.33 a share to more resistance at $172.50 a share with high volume. Look for a sustained move or close above those levels with volume that hits near or above its three-month average volume of 439,019 shares. If that breakout triggers soon, then PNRA will set up to re-fill some of its previous gap down zone that started at $187.50 a share. Some possible upside targets if PNRA gets into that gap with volume are $175 to $180 a share.

AcelRx Pharmaceuticals

Another stock that insiders are jumping into here in a big way is AcelRx Pharmaceuticals (ACRX), which is involved in the development and commercialization of therapies for the treatment of acute and breakthrough pain. Insiders are buying this stock into major strength, since shares are up a whopping 177% so far in 2013.

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AcelRx Pharmaceuticals has a market cap of $440 million and an enterprise value of $412 million. This stock trades at a premium valuation, with a price-to-sales of 145.48 and a price-to-book of 19.93. Its estimated growth rate for this year is 36.4%, and for next year it's pegged at 14.6%. This is a cash-rich company, since the total cash position on its balance sheet is $48.20 million and its total debt is $14.2 million.

A beneficial owner just bought 850,000 shares, or about $9.9 million worth of stock, at $11.65 per share.

From a technical perspective, ACRX is currently trending above both its 50-day and 200-day moving averages, which is bullish. This stock has been uptrending strong for the last six months, with shares exploding higher from its low of $4.31 to its recent high of $13.50 a share. During that move, this stock has been consistently making higher lows and higher highs, which is bullish technical price action. That move has now pushed shares of ACRX within range of triggering a major breakout trade.

If you're bullish on ACRX, then look for long-biased trades as long as this stock is trending some key near-term support levels at $11.46 to $11.43 a share or above its 50-day at $10.06, and then once it breaks out above some near-term overhead resistance levels at $12.57 to its all-time high at $13.50 a share with high volume. Look for a sustained move or close above those levels with volume that hits near or above its three-month average volume of 637,219 shares. If that breakout hits soon, then ACRX will set up to enter new all-time-high territory above $13.50, which is bullish technical price action. Some possible upside targets off that move are $17 to $20 a share.

Safeway

One more stock with some decent insider buying is Safeway (SWY), which operates a retail food and drug chain in the U.S. and Canada. Insiders are buying this stock into notable strength, since shares are up 43% so far in 2013.

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Safeway has a market cap of $6.21 billion and an enterprise value of $11.35 billion. This stock trades at a cheap valuation, with a trailing price-to-earnings of 11.82 and a forward price-to-earnings of 12.99. Its estimated growth rate for this year is 10.10%, and for next year it's pegged at 83.5%. This is not a cash-rich company, since the total cash position on its balance sheet is $541.80 million and its total debt is $5.69 billion. This stock currently sports a dividend yield of 3.1%.

A director just bought 18,000 shares, or about $461,000 worth of stock, at $25.61 per share.

From a technical perspective, SWY is currently trending above both its 50-day and 200-day moving averages, which is bullish. This stock has been uptrending strong for the last three months, with shares moving higher from its low of $22.08 to its recent high of $27.22 a share. During that move, shares of SWY have been making mostly higher lows and higher highs, which is bullish technical price action. That move has now pushed shares of SWY within range of triggering a major breakout trade.

If you're bullish on SWY, then look for long-biased trades as long as this stock is trending above its 50-day at $24.04 or above more support at $23 and then once it breaks out above some near-term overhead resistance levels at $26.56 to $27.22 a share and then once it clears its 52-week high at $28.42 a share with high volume. Look for a sustained move or close above those levels with volume that hits near or above its three-month average action of 5.41 million shares. If that breakout triggers soon, then SWY will set up to enter new 52-week-high territory, which is bullish technical price action. Some possible upside targets off that breakout are $30 to $35 a share.

To see more stocks with notable insider buying, check out the Stocks With Big Insider Buying portfolio on Stockpickr.

-- Written by Roberto Pedone in Delafield, Wis.

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At the time of publication, author had no positions in stocks mentioned.

Roberto Pedone, based out of Delafield, Wis., is an independent trader who focuses on technical analysis for small- and large-cap stocks, options, futures, commodities and currencies. Roberto studied international business at the Milwaukee School of Engineering, and he spent a year overseas studying business in Lubeck, Germany. His work has appeared on financial outlets including CNBC.com and Forbes.com. You can follow Pedone on Twitter at www.twitter.com/zerosum24 or @zerosum24.