Should You Be Worried About Insider Transactions At Walmart Inc. (NYSE:WMT)?

We often see insiders buying up shares in companies that perform well over the long term. 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 Walmart Inc. (NYSE:WMT), you may well want to know whether insiders have been buying or selling.

What Is Insider Buying?

It is perfectly legal for company insiders, including board members, to buy and sell stock in a company. However, such insiders must disclose their trading activities, and not trade on inside information.

We would never suggest that investors should base their decisions solely on what the directors of a company have been doing. But equally, we would consider it foolish to ignore insider transactions altogether. 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 Walmart

Walmart Insider Transactions Over The Last Year

Over the last year, we can see that the biggest insider sale was by Executive VP & CFO Brett Biggs for US$1.8m worth of shares, at about US$96.14 per share. So we know that an insider sold shares at around the present share price of US$90.77. While their view may have changed since the sale, this is not a particularly positive fact. 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 note insiders sold 84.59k shares worth US$7.8m. In total, Walmart insiders sold more than they bought over the last year. The average sell price was around US$91.83. It’s not ideal to see that insiders have sold at around the current price. While some insiders have decided to take some money off the table, we wouldn’t put too much weight on this fact. 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:WMT Insider Trading December 18th 18
NYSE:WMT Insider Trading December 18th 18

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

Walmart Insiders Are Selling The Stock

The last quarter saw substantial insider selling of Walmart shares. In total, insiders dumped US$1.7m worth of shares in that time, and we didn’t record any purchases whatsoever. This may suggest that some insiders think that the shares are not cheap.

Insider Ownership of Walmart

Another way to test the alignment between the leaders of a company and other shareholders is to look at how many shares they own. We usually like to see fairly high levels of insider ownership. It’s great to see that Walmart insiders own 1.0% of the company, worth about US$2.7b. Most shareholders would be happy to see this sort of insider ownership, since it suggests that management incentives are well aligned with other shareholders.

So What Do The Walmart Insider Transactions Indicate?

Insiders sold Walmart shares recently, but they didn’t buy any. And even if we look to the last year, we didn’t see any purchases. The company boasts high insider ownership, but we’re a little hesitant, given the history of share sales. Of course, the future is what matters most. So if you are interested in Walmart, you should check out this free report on analyst forecasts for the company.

Of course Walmart may not be the best stock to buy. So you may wish to see this free collection of high quality companies.

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.