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 we’ll take a look at whether insiders have been buying or selling shares in Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT).
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.
We don’t think shareholders should simply follow insider transactions. But it is perfectly logical to keep tabs on what insiders are doing. For example, a Harvard University study found that ‘insider purchases earn abnormal returns of more than 6% per year.’
The Last 12 Months Of Insider Transactions At Microsoft
CEO & Director Satya Nadella made the biggest insider sale in the last 12 months. That single transaction was for US$36m worth of shares at a price of US$109 each. That means that an insider was selling shares at around the current price of US$97.40. They could have a variety of motivations for selling, but it’s still not particularly encouraging to see. Arguably, insider selling at around current prices should give us reason to reflect on whether the stock is fully valued at the moment.
Over the last year we saw more insider selling of Microsoft shares, than buying. The average sell price was around US$109. We don’t gain much confidence from insider selling near the recent share price. But we don’t put too much weight on the insider selling, since sellers could have personal reasons. You can see a visual depiction of insider transactions 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 are like me, then you will not want to miss this free list of growing companies that insiders are buying.
Insiders at Microsoft Have Sold Stock Recently
Over the last three months, we’ve seen significant insider selling at Microsoft. In total, insiders sold US$8.4m worth of shares in that time, and we didn’t record any purchases whatsoever. Overall this makes us a bit cautious, but it’s not the be all and end all.
I like to look at how many shares insiders own in a company, to help inform my view of how aligned they are with insiders. A high insider ownership often makes company leadership more mindful of shareholder interests. It’s great to see that Microsoft insiders own 1.4% of the company, worth about US$11b. I like to see this level of insider ownership, because it increases the chances that management are thinking about the best interests of shareholders.
So What Does This Data Suggest About Microsoft Insiders?
Insiders haven’t bought Microsoft stock in the last three months, but there was some selling. Despite some insider buying, the longer term picture doesn’t make us feel much more positive. 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 Microsoft, you should check out this free report on analyst forecasts for the company.
Of course, you might find a fantastic investment by looking elsewhere. So take a peek at this free list of interesting 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 email@example.com.