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We've lost count of how many times insiders have accumulated shares in a company that goes on to improve markedly. 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 we'll take a look at whether insiders have been buying or selling shares in Assured Guaranty Ltd. (NYSE:AGO).
What Is Insider Buying?
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 don't think shareholders should simply follow insider transactions. But logic dictates you should pay some attention to whether insiders are buying or selling shares. For example, a Columbia 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'.
The Last 12 Months Of Insider Transactions At Assured Guaranty
Over the last year, we can see that the biggest insider purchase was by insider Andrew Feldstein for US$1.7m worth of shares, at about US$21.50 per share. We do like to see buying, but this purchase was made at well below the current price of US$39.47. Because it occurred at a lower valuation, it doesn't tell us much about whether insiders might find today's price attractive.
Assured Guaranty insiders may have bought shares in the last year, but they didn't sell any. Their average price was about US$28.52. We don't deny that it is nice to see insiders buying stock in the company. But we must note that the investments were made at well below today's share price. You can see a visual depiction of insider transactions (by companies and individuals) 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!
There are always plenty of stocks that insiders are buying. So if that suits your style you could check each stock one by one or you could take a look at this free list of companies. (Hint: insiders have been buying them).
Does Assured Guaranty Boast High Insider Ownership?
Another way to test the alignment between the leaders of a company and other shareholders is to look at how many shares they own. Usually, the higher the insider ownership, the more likely it is that insiders will be incentivised to build the company for the long term. Assured Guaranty insiders own about US$153m worth of shares (which is 4.8% of the company). 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 Assured Guaranty Insiders?
There haven't been any insider transactions in the last three months -- that doesn't mean much. But insiders have shown more of an appetite for the stock, over the last year. With high insider ownership and encouraging transactions, it seems like Assured Guaranty insiders think the business has merit. So while it's helpful to know what insiders are doing in terms of buying or selling, it's also helpful to know the risks that a particular company is facing. To help with this, we've discovered 2 warning signs (1 doesn't sit too well with us!) that you ought to be aware of before buying any shares in Assured Guaranty.
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.
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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