Are Insiders Cautious About Equity Residential (NYSE:EQR) Shares?

Equity Residential is an S&P 500 company focused on the acquisition, development and management of rental apartment properties in urban and high-density suburban coastal gateway markets where today’s renters want to live, work and play. Equity Residential’s insiders have divested from 31.95k shares in the large-cap stock within the past three months. Generally, insiders selling shares in their own firm sends a bearish signal. A two-decade research published in The MIT Press (1998) showed that stocks following insider selling declined 2.7% relative to the market. However, it may not be sufficient to base your investment decision merely on these signals. Today we will evaluate whether these decisions are bolstered by analysts’ expectations of future growth as well as recent share price movements.

See our latest analysis for Equity Residential

Who Are The Insiders?

NYSE:EQR Insider Trading August 30th 18
NYSE:EQR Insider Trading August 30th 18

There were more Equity Residential insiders that have sold shares than those that have bought. In total, individual insiders own over 4.59 million shares in the business, which makes up around 1.2% of total shares outstanding.

Insiders that have recently trimmed down their holdings are:
Name Management Board Total Annual Compensation
Alan George US$3.2m

Does Selling Activity Reflect Future Growth?

NYSE:EQR Future Profit August 30th 18
NYSE:EQR Future Profit August 30th 18

Analysts’ expectations for earnings over the next 3 years of -18.4% provides negative outlook for the business, consistent with the signal company insiders are sending with their net selling activity. Digging deeper into the line items, Equity Residential is believed to experience a limited level of revenue growth next year, which impacts its earnings expectation resulting in a negative growth rate of -7.9%. This indicates cost growth has outstripped revenue which is unsustainable. Selling activities by insiders seem to be consistent with this pessimistic future prospect. Or they may simply deem the current share price is well-above its intrinsic value, providing an opportune time to sell.

Did Insiders Sell On Share Price Volatility?

An alternative reason for recent trades could be insiders taking advantage of the share price volatility. Volatility provides an opportunity to trade on market inefficiencies when the stock is under-priced compared to the stock’s intrinsic value. Within the past three months, Equity Residential’s share price traded at a high of $67.93 and a low of $60.42. This suggests a trivial share price movement, with a change of 12.43%. This may mean insiders’ motivation to trade may not be driven by the share price but rather other factors such as their belief in company growth or their personal portfolio diversification needs.

Next Steps:

Equity Residential’s net selling activity tells us the stock has fallen out of favour with some insiders as of late, reinforced by the negative earnings growth expectations, even if the low share price volatility did not warrant exploiting any mispricing. However it’s crucial to note that insider divesting may have nothing to do with their views on the company’s future performance. Moreover, while insider selling can be a useful prompt, following the lead of an insider, however, will never replace diligent research. I’ve put together two fundamental aspects you should further examine:

  1. Financial Health: Does Equity Residential have a healthy balance sheet? Take a look at our free balance sheet analysis with six simple checks on key factors like leverage and risk.
  2. Other High Quality Alternatives : Are there other high quality stocks you could be holding instead of Equity Residential? Explore our interactive list of high quality stocks to get an idea of what else is out there you may be missing!

NB: Figures in this article are calculated using data from the last twelve months, which refer to the 12-month period ending on the last date of the month the financial statement is dated. This may not be consistent with full year annual report figures.

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.