We've lost count of how many times insiders have accumulated shares in a company that goes on to improve markedly. 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 we'll take a look at whether insiders have been buying or selling shares in West Fraser Timber Co. Ltd. (TSE:WFT).
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.
Insider transactions are not the most important thing when it comes to long-term investing. But logic dictates you should pay some attention to whether insiders are buying or selling shares. For example, a Columbia University study found that 'insiders are more likely to engage in open market purchases of their own company’s stock when the firm is about to reveal new agreements with customers and suppliers'.
West Fraser Timber Insider Transactions Over The Last Year
In the last twelve months, the biggest single purchase by an insider was when CEO, President & Corporate Director Raymond Ferris bought CA$377k worth of shares at a price of CA$71.43 per share. That means that even when the share price was higher than CA$63.05 (the recent price), an insider wanted to purchase shares. Their view may have changed since then, but at least it shows they felt optimistic at the time. We always take careful note of the price insiders pay when purchasing shares. Generally speaking, it catches our eye when insiders have purchased shares at above current prices, as it suggests they believed the shares were worth buying, even at a higher price.
While West Fraser Timber insiders bought shares during the last year, they didn't sell. The average buy price was around CA$37.69. We don't deny that it is nice to see insiders buying stock in the company. However, we do note that they were buying at significantly lower prices than today's share price. You can see the insider transactions (by companies and individuals) over the last year depicted in the chart below. If you want to know exactly who sold, for how much, and when, simply click on the graph below!
There are plenty of other companies that have insiders buying up shares. You probably do not want to miss this free list of growing companies that insiders are buying.
Does West Fraser Timber Boast High Insider Ownership?
Another way to test the alignment between the leaders of a company and other shareholders is to look at how many shares they own. I reckon it's a good sign if insiders own a significant number of shares in the company. West Fraser Timber insiders own about CA$94m worth of shares. That equates to 2.2% of the company. We've certainly seen higher levels of insider ownership elsewhere, but these holdings are enough to suggest alignment between insiders and the other shareholders.
So What Do The West Fraser Timber Insider Transactions Indicate?
The fact that there have been no West Fraser Timber insider transactions recently certainly doesn't bother us. However, our analysis of transactions over the last year is heartening. Insiders do have a stake in West Fraser Timber and their transactions don't cause us concern. So these insider transactions can help us build a thesis about the stock, but it's also worthwhile knowing the risks facing this company. To assist with this, we've discovered 1 warning sign that you should run your eye over to get a better picture of West Fraser Timber.
But note: West Fraser Timber may not be the best stock to buy. So take a peek at this free list of interesting companies with high ROE and low debt.
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.
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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.
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