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Should You Take Comfort From Insider Transactions At Capita plc (LON:CPI)?

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It is not uncommon to see companies perform well in the years after insiders buy shares. 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 before you buy or sell Capita plc (LON:CPI), you may well want to know whether insiders have been buying or selling.

What Is Insider Selling?

Most investors know that it is quite permissible for company leaders, such as directors of the board, to buy and sell stock in the company. However, such insiders must disclose their trading activities, and not trade on inside information.

We would never suggest that investors should base their decisions solely on what the directors of a company have been doing. 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'.

See our latest analysis for Capita

The Last 12 Months Of Insider Transactions At Capita

Notably, that recent purchase by Tim Weller is the biggest insider purchase of Capita shares that we've seen in the last year. That means that an insider was happy to buy shares at above the current price of UK£0.39. While their view may have changed since the purchase was made, this does at least suggest they have had confidence in the company's future. To us, it's very important to consider the price insiders pay for shares. Generally speaking, it catches our eye when an insider has purchased shares at above current prices, as it suggests they believed the shares were worth buying, even at a higher price. Tim Weller was the only individual insider to buy during the last year.

The chart below shows insider transactions (by companies and individuals) over the last year. If you want to know exactly who sold, for how much, and when, simply click on the graph below!

insider-trading-volume
insider-trading-volume

There are plenty of other companies that have insiders buying up shares. You probably do not want to miss this free list of growing companies that insiders are buying.

Insider Ownership

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. Usually, the higher the insider ownership, the more likely it is that insiders will be incentivised to build the company for the long term. From what we can see in our data, insiders own only about UK£324k worth of Capita shares. We might be missing something but that seems like very low insider ownership.

So What Do The Capita Insider Transactions Indicate?

It's certainly positive to see the recent insider purchase. We also take confidence from the longer term picture of insider transactions. But we don't feel the same about the fact the company is making losses. While the overall levels of insider ownership are below what we'd like to see, the history of transactions imply that Capita insiders are reasonably well aligned, and optimistic for the future. So these insider transactions can help us build a thesis about the stock, but it's also worthwhile knowing the risks facing this company. In terms of investment risks, we've identified 1 warning sign with Capita and understanding it should be part of your investment process.

But note: Capita may not be the best stock to buy. So take a peek at this free list of interesting companies with high ROE 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.

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.

Have feedback on this article? Concerned about the content? Get in touch with us directly. Alternatively, email editorial-team (at) simplywallst.com.