We've lost count of how many times insiders have accumulated shares in a company that goes on to improve markedly. The flip side of that is that there are more than a few examples of insiders dumping stock prior to a period of weak performance. So we'll take a look at whether insiders have been buying or selling shares in Zendesk, Inc. (NYSE:ZEN).
What Is Insider Buying?
It is perfectly legal for company insiders, including board members, to buy and sell stock in a company. However, rules govern insider transactions, and certain disclosures are required.
Insider transactions are not the most important thing when it comes to long-term investing. But equally, we would consider it foolish to ignore insider transactions altogether. For example, a Harvard University study found that 'insider purchases earn abnormal returns of more than 6% per year'.
Zendesk Insider Transactions Over The Last Year
The Chief Accounting Officer, Ying Liu, made the biggest insider sale in the last 12 months. That single transaction was for US$394k worth of shares at a price of US$90.34 each. That means that even when the share price was below the current price of US$106, an insider wanted to cash in some shares. As a general rule we consider it to be discouraging when insiders are selling below the current price, because it suggests they were happy with a lower valuation. Please do note, however, that sellers may have a variety of reasons for selling, so we don't know for sure what they think of the stock price. It is worth noting that this sale was 58% of Ying Liu's holding.
Insiders in Zendesk didn't buy any shares in the last year. You can see the insider transactions (by companies and individuals) over the last year depicted in the chart below. If you want to know exactly who sold, for how much, and when, simply click on the graph below!
I will like Zendesk better if I see some big insider buys. While we wait, check out this free list of growing companies with considerable, recent, insider buying.
Zendesk Insiders Are Selling The Stock
The last quarter saw substantial insider selling of Zendesk shares. In total, Chief Marketing Officer Jeffrey Titterton dumped US$281k 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.
For a common shareholder, it is worth checking how many shares are held by company insiders. A high insider ownership often makes company leadership more mindful of shareholder interests. It's great to see that Zendesk insiders own 1.3% of the company, worth about US$155m. 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 Zendesk Insider Transactions Indicate?
An insider sold stock recently, but they haven't been buying. And even if we look at 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. So these insider transactions can help us build a thesis about the stock, but it's also worthwhile knowing the risks facing this company. Every company has risks, and we've spotted 3 warning signs for Zendesk you should know about.
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.
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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This article by Simply Wall St is general in nature. It does not constitute a recommendation to buy or sell any stock, and does not take account of your objectives, or your financial situation. We aim to bring you long-term focused analysis driven by fundamental data. Note that our analysis may not factor in the latest price-sensitive company announcements or qualitative material. Simply Wall St has no position in any stocks mentioned.
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