We've lost count of how many times insiders have accumulated shares in a company that goes on to improve markedly. On the other hand, we'd be remiss not to mention that insider sales have been known to precede tough periods for a business. So before you buy or sell Canadian Utilities Limited (TSE:CU), you may well want to know whether insiders have been buying or selling.
What Is Insider Selling?
It's quite normal to see company insiders, such as board members, trading in company stock, from time to time. However, such insiders must disclose their trading activities, and not trade on inside information.
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 Harvard University study found that 'insider purchases earn abnormal returns of more than 6% per year'.
Canadian Utilities Insider Transactions Over The Last Year
In the last twelve months, the biggest single sale by an insider was when the insider, Robert Booth, sold CA$536k worth of shares at a price of CA$33.00 per share. So what is clear is that an insider saw fit to sell at around the current price of CA$31.99. We generally don't like to see insider selling, but the lower the sale price, the more it concerns us. In this case, the big sale took place at around the current price, so it's not too bad (but it's still not a positive).
All up, insiders sold more shares in Canadian Utilities than they bought, over the last year. You can see a visual depiction of insider transactions (by companies and individuals) over the last 12 months, below. If you click on the chart, you can see all the individual transactions, including the share price, individual, and the date!
If you like to buy stocks that insiders are buying, rather than selling, then you might just love this free list of companies. (Hint: insiders have been buying them).
For a common shareholder, it is worth checking how many shares are held by company insiders. Usually, the higher the insider ownership, the more likely it is that insiders will be incentivised to build the company for the long term. Canadian Utilities insiders own about CA$86m worth of shares. That equates to 1.0% of the company. While this is a strong but not outstanding level of insider ownership, it's enough to indicate some alignment between management and smaller shareholders.
What Might The Insider Transactions At Canadian Utilities Tell Us?
There haven't been any insider transactions in the last three months -- that doesn't mean much. Our analysis of Canadian Utilities insider transactions leaves us cautious. But it's good to see that insiders own shares in the company. So these insider transactions can help us build a thesis about the stock, but it's also worthwhile knowing the risks facing this company. At Simply Wall St, we've found that Canadian Utilities has 3 warning signs (1 is concerning!) that deserve your attention before going any further with your analysis.
If you would prefer to check out another company -- one with potentially superior financials -- then do not miss this free list of interesting companies, that have HIGH return on equity 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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