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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 shareholders might well want to know whether insiders have been buying or selling shares in Equus Total Return, Inc. (NYSE:EQS).
Do Insider Transactions Matter?
It's quite normal to see company insiders, such as board members, trading in company stock, from time to time. 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 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 Equus Total Return
Over the last year, we can see that the biggest insider purchase was by CEO & Director John Hardy for US$3.8m worth of shares, at about US$1.17 per share. So it's clear an insider wanted to buy, even at a higher price than the current share price (being US$1.16). It's very possible they regret the purchase, but it's more likely they are bullish about the company. To us, it's very important to consider the price insiders pay for shares. As a general rule, we feel more positive about a stock when an insider has bought shares at above current prices, because that suggests they viewed the stock as good value, even at a higher price. John Hardy was the only individual insider to buy during 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!
Equus Total Return is not the only stock insiders are buying. So take a peek at this free list of growing companies with insider buying.
Another way to test the alignment between the leaders of a company and other shareholders is to look at how many shares they own. A high insider ownership often makes company leadership more mindful of shareholder interests. Equus Total Return insiders own about US$6.0m worth of shares. That equates to 38% of the company. This level of insider ownership is good but just short of being particularly stand-out. It certainly does suggest a reasonable degree of alignment.
So What Do The Equus Total Return Insider Transactions Indicate?
The fact that there have been no Equus Total Return insider transactions recently certainly doesn't bother us. However, our analysis of transactions over the last year is heartening. Insiders own shares in Equus Total Return and we see no evidence to suggest they are worried about the future. While we like knowing what's going on with the insider's ownership and transactions, we make sure to also consider what risks are facing a stock before making any investment decision. Be aware that Equus Total Return is showing 5 warning signs in our investment analysis, and 3 of those don't sit too well with us...
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.
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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