It is not uncommon to see companies perform well in the years after insiders buy shares. The flip side of that is that there are more than a few examples of insiders dumping stock prior to a period of weak performance. So before you buy or sell South32 Limited (ASX:S32), you may well want to know whether insiders have been buying or selling.
What Is Insider Buying?
Most investors know that it is quite permissible for company leaders, such as directors of the board, to buy and sell stock in the company. However, rules govern insider transactions, and certain disclosures are required.
We would never suggest that investors should base their decisions solely on what the directors of a company have been doing. But it is perfectly logical to keep tabs on what insiders are doing. As Peter Lynch said, 'insiders might sell their shares for any number of reasons, but they buy them for only one: they think the price will rise'.
The Last 12 Months Of Insider Transactions At South32
The Independent Non-Executive Director Wayne Osborn made the biggest insider purchase in the last 12 months. That single transaction was for AU$100k worth of shares at a price of AU$2.07 each. That means that an insider was happy to buy shares at around the current price of AU$2.40. That means they have been optimistic about the company in the past, though they may have changed their mind. While we always like to see insider buying, it's less meaningful if the purchases were made at much lower prices, as the opportunity they saw may have passed. The good news for South32 share holders is that an insider was buying at near the current price. Wayne Osborn was the only individual insider to buy during the last year.
The chart below shows insider transactions (by companies and individuals) over the last year. If you click on the chart, you can see all the individual transactions, including the share price, individual, and the date!
There are always plenty of stocks that insiders are buying. So if that suits your style you could check each stock one by one or you could take a look at this free list of companies. (Hint: insiders have been buying them).
I like to look at how many shares insiders own in a company, to help inform my view of how aligned they are with insiders. A high insider ownership often makes company leadership more mindful of shareholder interests. It appears that South32 insiders own 0.3% of the company, worth about AU$35m. This level of insider ownership is good but just short of being particularly stand-out. It certainly does suggest a reasonable degree of alignment.
So What Does This Data Suggest About South32 Insiders?
It is good to see the recent insider purchase. And an analysis of the transactions over the last year also gives us confidence. But we don't feel the same about the fact the company is making losses. Given that insiders also own a fair bit of South32 we think they are probably pretty confident of a bright future. Of course, the future is what matters most. So if you are interested in South32, you should check out this free report on analyst forecasts for the company.
Of course, you might find a fantastic investment by looking elsewhere. So take a peek at this free list of interesting companies.
For the purposes of this article, insiders are those individuals who report their transactions to the relevant regulatory body. We currently account for open market transactions and private dispositions, but not derivative transactions.
When trading South32 or any other investment, use the platform considered by many to be the Professional's Gateway to the Worlds Market, Interactive Brokers. You get the lowest-cost* trading on stocks, options, futures, forex, bonds and funds worldwide from a single integrated account.
This article by Simply Wall St is general in nature. It does not constitute a recommendation to buy or sell any stock, and does not take account of your objectives, or your financial situation. We aim to bring you long-term focused analysis driven by fundamental data. Note that our analysis may not factor in the latest price-sensitive company announcements or qualitative material. Simply Wall St has no position in any stocks mentioned.
*Interactive Brokers Rated Lowest Cost Broker by StockBrokers.com Annual Online Review 2020
Have feedback on this article? Concerned about the content? Get in touch with us directly. Alternatively, email email@example.com.