It is not uncommon to see companies perform well in the years after insiders buy shares. Unfortunately, there are also plenty of examples of share prices declining precipitously after insiders have sold shares. So shareholders might well want to know whether insiders have been buying or selling shares in Facebook, Inc. (NASDAQ:FB).
What Is Insider Selling?
It is perfectly legal for company insiders, including board members, to buy and sell stock in a company. 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 equally, we would consider it foolish to ignore insider transactions altogether. 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'.
Facebook Insider Transactions Over The Last Year
In the last twelve months, the biggest single sale by an insider was when the Chief Financial Officer, David Wehner, sold US$345k worth of shares at a price of US$271 per share. So it's clear an insider wanted to take some cash off the table, even below the current price of US$370. When an insider sells below the current price, it suggests that they considered that lower price to be fair. That makes us wonder what they think of the (higher) recent valuation. However, while insider selling is sometimes discouraging, it's only a weak signal. We note that the biggest single sale was only 2.7% of David Wehner's holding. David Wehner was the only individual insider to sell over the last year.
You can see the insider transactions (by companies and individuals) over the last year depicted in the chart 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).
Insider Ownership of Facebook
Many investors like to check how much of a company is owned by 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. It's great to see that Facebook insiders own 15% of the company, worth about US$161b. Most shareholders would be happy to see this sort of insider ownership, since it suggests that management incentives are well aligned with other shareholders.
What Might The Insider Transactions At Facebook Tell Us?
There haven't been any insider transactions in the last three months -- that doesn't mean much. It's heartening that insiders own plenty of stock, but we'd like to see more insider buying, since the last year of Facebook insider transactions don't fill us with confidence. 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.
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.
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