Read This Before Buying W.W. Grainger, Inc. (NYSE:GWW) Shares

We’ve lost count of how many times insiders have accumulated shares in a company that goes on to improve markedly. Unfortunately, there are also plenty of examples of share prices declining precipitously after insiders have sold shares. So before you buy or sell W.W. Grainger, Inc. (NYSE:GWW), you may well want to know whether insiders have been buying or selling.

Do Insider Transactions Matter?

Most investors know that it is quite permissible for company leaders, such as directors of the board, to buy and sell stock on the market. However, most countries require that the company discloses such transactions to the market.

We would never suggest that investors should base their decisions solely on what the directors of a company have been doing. But logic dictates you should pay some attention to whether insiders are buying or selling shares. For example, a Colombia 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’.

Check out our latest analysis for W.W. Grainger

The Last 12 Months Of Insider Transactions At W.W. Grainger

In the last twelve months, the biggest single sale by an insider was when VP, Controller & Principal Accounting Officer Eric Tapia sold US$519k worth of shares at a price of US$338 per share. That means that an insider was selling shares at around the current price of US$272. They might be selling for a variety of reasons, but it’s hard to argue this is a bullish sign. We generally tread carefully if insiders have been selling on market, even if they sold slightly above the current price.

Over the last year we saw more insider selling of W.W. Grainger shares, than buying. They sold for an average price of about US$339. We don’t gain confidence from insider selling below the recent share price. Since insiders sell for many reasons, we wouldn’t put too much weight on it. You can see a visual depiction of insider transactions over the last 12 months, below. By clicking on the graph below, you can see the precise details of each insider transaction!

NYSE:GWW Insider Trading December 24th 18
NYSE:GWW Insider Trading December 24th 18

I will like W.W. Grainger better if I see some big insider buys. While we wait, check out this free list of growing companies with considerable, recent, insider buying.

Insider Ownership

Many investors like to check how much of a company is owned by insiders. A high insider ownership often makes company leadership more mindful of shareholder interests. W.W. Grainger insiders own 19% of the company, currently worth about US$2.9b based on the recent share price. This kind of significant ownership by insiders does generally increase the chance that the company is run in the interest of all shareholders.

So What Do The W.W. Grainger Insider Transactions Indicate?

The fact that there have been no W.W. Grainger insider transactions recently certainly doesn’t bother us. It’s great to see high levels of insider ownership, but looking back at the last year, we don’t gain confidence from the W.W. Grainger insiders selling. If you are like me, you may want to think about whether this company will grow or shrink. Luckily, you can check this free report showing analyst forecasts for its future.

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.

To help readers see past the short term volatility of the financial market, we aim to bring you a long-term focused research analysis purely driven by fundamental data. Note that our analysis does not factor in the latest price-sensitive company announcements.

The author is an independent contributor and at the time of publication had no position in the stocks mentioned. For errors that warrant correction please contact the editor at editorial-team@simplywallst.com.