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Did Tocagen Inc. (NASDAQ:TOCA) Insiders Buy Up More Shares?

Simply Wall St

It is not uncommon to see companies perform well in the years after insiders buy shares. On the other hand, we'd be remiss not to mention that insider sales have been known to precede tough periods for a business. So shareholders might well want to know whether insiders have been buying or selling shares in Tocagen Inc. (NASDAQ:TOCA).

What Is Insider Selling?

It's quite normal to see company insiders, such as board members, trading in company stock, from time to time. However, such insiders must disclose their trading activities, and not trade on inside information.

Insider transactions are not the most important thing when it comes to long-term investing. But logic dictates you should pay some attention to whether insiders are buying or selling shares. For example, a Harvard University study found that 'insider purchases earn abnormal returns of more than 6% per year.'

View our latest analysis for Tocagen

Tocagen Insider Transactions Over The Last Year

In the last twelve months, the biggest single purchase by an insider was when Chairman Faheem Hasnain bought US$200k worth of shares at a price of US$5.30 per share. That means that even when the share price was higher than US$4.36 (the recent price), an insider wanted to purchase shares. 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. Generally speaking, it catches our eye when insiders have purchased shares at above current prices, as it suggests they believed the shares were worth buying, even at a higher price.

Happily, we note that in the last year insiders bought 58000 shares for a total of US$266k. In the last twelve months Tocagen insiders were buying shares, but not selling. The average buy price was around US$4.59. I'd consider this a positive as it suggests insiders see value at around the current price. 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!

NasdaqGS:TOCA Recent Insider Trading, August 16th 2019

Tocagen is not the only stock insiders are buying. So take a peek at this free list of growing companies with insider buying.

Insiders at Tocagen Have Bought Stock Recently

Over the last quarter, Tocagen insiders have spent a meaningful amount on shares. Overall, four insiders shelled out US$266k for shares in the company -- and none sold. This is a positive in our book as it implies some confidence.

Does Tocagen Boast High Insider Ownership?

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 6.6% of Tocagen shares, worth about US$6.9m, according to our data. Whilst better than nothing, we're not overly impressed by these holdings.

So What Does This Data Suggest About Tocagen Insiders?

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. We would certainly prefer see higher levels of insider ownership but analysis of the insider transactions suggests that Tocagen insiders are expecting 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 Tocagen may not be the best stock to buy. So you may wish to see this free collection of high quality 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.

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.