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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 Ferguson plc (LON:FERG).
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 would never suggest that investors should base their decisions solely on what the directors of a company have been doing. But equally, we would consider it foolish to ignore insider transactions altogether. For example, a Harvard University study found that 'insider purchases earn abnormal returns of more than 6% per year.'
The Last 12 Months Of Insider Transactions At Ferguson
In the last twelve months, the biggest single purchase by an insider was when Group Chief Executive & Executive Director John Martin bought UK£492k worth of shares at a price of UK£49.17 per share. So it's clear an insider wanted to buy, at around the current price, which is UK£54.65. Of course they may have changed their mind. But this suggests they are optimistic. We do always like to see insider buying, but it is worth noting if those purchases were made at well below today's share price, as the discount to value may have narrowed with the rising price. The good news for Ferguson share holders is that an insider was buying at near the current price. The only individual insider to buy over the last year was John Martin.
You can see a visual depiction of insider transactions (by 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!
Ferguson is not the only stock that insiders are buying. For those who like to find winning investments this free list of growing companies with recent insider purchasing, could be just the ticket.
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. We usually like to see fairly high levels of insider ownership. Ferguson insiders own about UK£15m worth of shares. That equates to 0.1% 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.
What Might The Insider Transactions At Ferguson Tell Us?
It doesn't really mean much that no insider has traded Ferguson shares in the last quarter. On a brighter note, the transactions over the last year are encouraging. Insiders own shares in Ferguson and we see no evidence to suggest they are worried about the 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.
But note: Ferguson 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.
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If you spot an error that warrants correction, please contact the editor at email@example.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.