Stock Quotes in this Article: AMED, APD, FCX, SO, ZIOP

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.

Ziopharm Oncology

One company that insiders are snapping up a huge amount of stock in here is Ziopharm Oncology (ZIOP), which is engaged in the development and commercialization of small molecule and synthetic biology approaches to new cancer therapies. Insiders are buying this stock into weakness, since shares are off by 16.9% so far in 2013.

Ziopharm Oncology has a market cap of $290 million and an enterprise value of $267 million. This stock trades at a premium valuation, with a price-to-sales of 373 and a price-to-book of 81. Its estimated growth rate for this year is 33.6, and for next year it's pegged at 6.2%. This is a cash-rich company, since the total cash position on its balance sheet is $23.63 million and its total debt is zero.

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A director just bought 2.9 million shares, or $10 million worth of stock, at $3.50 per share.

From a technical perspective, ZIOP is currently trending above its 200-day moving average and just below its 50-day moving average, which is neutral trendwise. This stock has been downtrending for the last few weeks, with shares dropping from its high of $5.24 to its recent low of $3.34 a share. During that move, shares of ZIOP have been consistently making lower highs and lower lows, which is bearish technical price action.

If you're bullish on ZIOP, then I would look for long-biased trades as long as this stock is trending above its 200-day at $3.11 or above more near-term support at $3 and then once takes out its 50-day at $3.72 a share with high volume. Look for a sustained move or close above that level with volume that hits near or above its three-month average action of 1.17 million shares. If we get that move soon, then ZIOP will set up to re-test or possibly take out its next major overhead resistance levels at $4.75 to $5.24 a share.

Air Products & Chemicals

Another stock that insiders are loading up on here is Air Products & Chemicals (APD), which is a supplier of hydrogen and helium. It also provides semiconductor materials, refinery hydrogen, natural gas liquefaction, and advanced coatings and adhesives. Insiders are buying this stock into strength, since shares are up 30% so far in 2013.

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Air Products & Chemicals has a market cap of $23 billion and an enterprise value of $28 billion. This stock trades at a fair valuation, with a trailing price-to-earnings of 23.45 and a forward price-to-earnings of 16.92. Its estimated growth rate for this year is 7.1%, and for next year it's pegged at 10.2%. This is not a cash-rich company, since the total cash position on its balance sheet is $450.40 million and its total debt is a whopping $6.27 billion. This stock currently sports a dividend yield of 2.6%.

A director just bought 15,000 shares, or above $1.62 million worth of stock, at $108.07 to $108.54 per share.

From a technical perspective, APD is currently trending above both its 50-day and 200-day moving averages, which is bullish. This stock has been uptrending for the last four months, with shares soaring higher from its low of $89.54 to its recent high of $114.01 a share. During that uptrend, shares of ADP have been making mostly higher lows and higher highs, which is bullish technical price action. That move has now pushed shares of APD within range of triggering a big breakout trade.

If you're in the bull camp on APD, then I would look for long-biased trades as long as this stock is trending above is 50-day at $106.96 to more support at $106.40 and then once it breaks out above some near-term overhead resistance levels at $111.95 to its 52-week high at $114.75 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 1.17 million shares. If we get that move soon, then APD will set up to enter new 52-week-high territory, which is bullish technical price action. Some possible upside targets off that breakout are $130 to $140 a share.

Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold

One basic materials player that insiders are active in here is Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold (FCX), which deals in the mining of copper, gold and molybdenum. Insiders are buying this stock into modest strength, since shares are up 8.9% so far in 2013.

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Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold has a market cap of $38 billion and an enterprise value of $61 billion. This stock trades at a cheap valuation, with a trailing price-to-earnings of 13.64 and a forward price-to-earnings of 11.35. Its estimated growth rate for this year is -20.2%, and for next year it's pegged at 28%. This is not a cash-rich company, since the total cash position on its balance sheet is $2.22 billion and its total debt is big at $21.12 billion. This stock currently sports a dividend yield of 3.4%.

A officer just bought 18,900 shares, or about $701,000 worth of stock, at $37.10 per share.

From a technical perspective, FCX 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 four months, with shares soaring higher from its low of $25.83 to its recent high of $38 a share. During that uptrend, shares of FCX have been consistently making higher lows and higher highs, which is bullish technical price action. That move has now pushed shares of FCX within range of triggering a big breakout trade.

If you're bullish on FCX, then I would look for long-biased trades as long as this stock is trending above $35 or above its 50-day at $33.83, and then once it breaks out above some key overhead resistance levels at $38 to $40.28 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 12.87 million shares. If that breakout triggers soon, then FCX will set up to re-test or possibly take out its next major overhead resistance levels at $45 to $50 a share.

Southern Company

One utilities player that insiders are jumping into here is Southern Company (SO), which provides electric service in four Southeastern states. Insiders are buying this stock into modest weakness, since shares are off by 10.9% so far in 2013.

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Southern Company has a market cap of $36.4 billion and an enterprise value of $36.9 billion. This stock trades at a reasonable valuation, with a trailing price-to-earnings of 22.58 and a forward price-to-earnings of 14.80. Its estimated growth rate for this year is -0.40%, and for next year it's pegged at 4.5%. This stock currently sports a dividend yield of 4.9%.

A director just bought 10,000 shares, or about $411,000 worth of stock, at $41.13 per share.

From a technical perspective, SO is currently trending above its 50-day moving average and below its 200-day moving average, which is neutral trendwise. This stock has been uptrending modestly for the last month, with shares moving higher from its low of $39.87 to its recent high of $42.42 a share. During that uptrend, shares of SO have been consistently making higher lows and higher highs, which is bullish technical price action. That move has now pushed shares of SO within range of triggering a near-term breakout trade.

If you're bullish on SO, then I would look for long-biased trades as long as this stock is trending above its 50-day at $41.02 or above more support at $40.61 and then once it breaks out above some near-term overhead resistance levels at $41.91 to $42.42 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 volume of 4.93 million shares. If that breakout hits, then SO will set up to re-test or possibly take out its next major overhead resistance levels at its 200-day of $43.17 to $45 a share. Any high-volume move above those levels will then give SO a chance to tag $46 to $47 a share.

Amedisys

One final name with some decent insider buying is Amedisys (AMED), which is a health care company engaged in delivering personalized health care services to patients and their families. Insiders are buying this stock into big time strength, since shares up sharply by 48% so far in 2013.

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Amedisys has a market cap of $541 million and an enterprise value of $580 million. This stock trades at a premium valuation, with a forward price-to-earnings of 38.95. Its estimated growth rate for this year is -49.1, and for next year it's pegged at -21.8%. This is not a cash-rich company, since the total cash position on its balance sheet is $30.12 million and its total debt is $74.81 million.

A beneficial owner just bought 29,615 shares, or about $472,000 worth of stock, at $15.94 per share.

From a technical perspective, AMED is currently trending above its 200-day moving average and just below its 50-day moving average, which is neutral trendwise. This stock has been trending sideways and consolidating for the last three months with shares moving between $15.89 on the downside and $18.70 on the upside. Traders should now keep an eye on AMED for any breakout above the upper-end of its recent range.

If you're bullish on AMED, then look for long-biased trades as long as this stock is trending above some near-term support at $15.89, then once it breaks out above some near-term overhead resistance levels $17.22 to $17.75 a share, and then once it takes out more resistance at $18.50 to its 52-week high at $18.70 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 396,818 shares. If that breakout triggers soon, then AMED will set up to enter new 52-week-high territory, which is bullish technical price action. Some possible upside targets off that breakout are $25 to $27 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.