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Should You Take Comfort From Insider Transactions At Medibank Private Limited (ASX:MPL)?

Simply Wall St

We've lost count of how many times insiders have accumulated shares in a company that goes on to improve markedly. Unfortunately, there are also plenty of examples of share prices declining precipitously after insiders have sold shares. So before you buy or sell Medibank Private Limited (ASX:MPL), you may well want to know whether insiders have been buying or selling.

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 equally, we would consider it foolish to ignore insider transactions altogether. 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.

Check out our latest analysis for Medibank Private

The Last 12 Months Of Insider Transactions At Medibank Private

In the last twelve months, the biggest single purchase by an insider was when Independent Non-Executive Director Michael Wilkins bought AU$75k worth of shares at a price of AU$2.93 per share. That implies that an insider found the current price of AU$3.42 per share to be enticing. 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. While we always like to see insider buying, it's less meaningful if the purchases were made at much lower prices, as the opportunity they saw may have passed. In this case we're pleased to report that the insider purchases were made at close to current prices.

While Medibank Private 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. By clicking on the graph below, you can see the precise details of each insider transaction!

ASX:MPL Recent Insider Trading, October 21st 2019

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. A high insider ownership often makes company leadership more mindful of shareholder interests. From our data, it seems that Medibank Private insiders own 0.1% of the company, worth about AU$9.1m. Overall, this level of ownership isn't that impressive, but it's certainly better than nothing!

So What Do The Medibank Private Insider Transactions Indicate?

There haven't been any insider transactions in the last three months -- that doesn't mean much. On a brighter note, the transactions over the last year are encouraging. We'd like to see bigger individual holdings. However, we don't see anything to make us think Medibank Private insiders are doubting the company. 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.

But note: Medibank Private 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.

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.

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. Thank you for reading.