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Should You Take Comfort From Insider Transactions At Central Petroleum Limited (ASX:CTP)?

Simply Wall St

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 shareholders might well want to know whether insiders have been buying or selling shares in Central Petroleum Limited (ASX:CTP).

What Is Insider Selling?

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.

We would never suggest that investors should base their decisions solely on what the directors of a company have been doing. But it is perfectly logical to keep tabs on what insiders are doing. As Peter Lynch said, 'insiders might sell their shares for any number of reasons, but they buy them for only one: they think the price will rise.

See our latest analysis for Central Petroleum

Central Petroleum Insider Transactions Over The Last Year

In the last twelve months, the biggest single purchase by an insider was when insider Troy Harry bought AU$1.1m worth of shares at a price of AU$0.14 per share. That means that even when the share price was higher than AU$0.13 (the recent price), an insider wanted to purchase shares. Their view may have changed since then, but at least it shows they felt optimistic at the time. In our view, the price an insider pays for shares is very important. As a general rule, we feel more positive about a stock if insiders have bought shares at above current prices, because that suggests they viewed the stock as good value, even at a higher price.

While Central Petroleum insiders bought shares last year, they didn't sell. You can see a visual depiction of insider transactions (by individuals) over the last 12 months, below. If you want to know exactly who sold, for how much, and when, simply click on the graph below!

ASX:CTP Recent Insider Trading, February 12th 2020

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).

Insiders at Central Petroleum Have Bought Stock Recently

There was some insider buying at Central Petroleum over the last quarter. Insiders shelled out AU$65k for shares in that time. It's great to see that insiders are only buying, not selling. However, in this case the amount invested recently is quite small.

Insider Ownership of Central Petroleum

Many investors like to check how much of a company is owned by insiders. A high insider ownership often makes company leadership more mindful of shareholder interests. Insiders own 12% of Central Petroleum shares, worth about AU$11m, according to our data. But they may have an indirect interest through a corporate structure that we haven't picked up on. Whilst better than nothing, we're not overly impressed by these holdings.

What Might The Insider Transactions At Central Petroleum Tell Us?

It is good to see recent purchasing. And the longer term insider transactions also give us confidence. However, we note that the company didn't make a profit over the last twelve months, which makes us cautious. Given that insiders also own a fair bit of Central Petroleum we think they are probably pretty confident of a bright future. If you are like me, you may want to think about whether this company will grow or shrink. Luckily, you can check this free report showing analyst forecasts for its future.

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.

If you spot an error that warrants correction, please contact the editor at editorial-team@simplywallst.com. 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. Simply Wall St has no position in the stocks mentioned.

We aim to bring you long-term focused research analysis driven by fundamental data. Note that our analysis may not factor in the latest price-sensitive company announcements or qualitative material. Thank you for reading.