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Did WPP plc (LON:WPP) Insiders Buy Up More Shares?

Simply Wall St

We often see insiders buying up shares in companies that perform well over the long term. 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 WPP plc (LON:WPP).

What Is Insider Selling?

Most investors know that it is quite permissible for company leaders, such as directors of the board, to buy and sell stock in the company. However, such insiders must disclose their trading activities, and not trade on inside information.

We would never suggest that investors should base their decisions solely on what the directors of a company have been doing. But logic dictates you should pay some attention to whether insiders are buying or selling shares. 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 WPP

WPP Insider Transactions Over The Last Year

In the last twelve months, the biggest single purchase by an insider was when Non-Executive Director Jacques Alfred Aigrain bought UK£206k worth of shares at a price of UK£9.86 per share. That means that an insider was happy to buy shares at above the current price of UK£9.19. 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.

While WPP 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!

LSE:WPP Recent Insider Trading, October 18th 2019

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

Insiders at WPP Have Bought Stock Recently

Over the last quarter, WPP insiders have spent a meaningful amount on shares. Specifically, Non-Executive Director Jacques Alfred Aigrain bought UK£206k worth of shares in that time, and we didn't record any sales whatsoever. That shows some optimism about the company's future.

Does WPP Boast High Insider Ownership?

Looking at the total insider shareholdings in a company can help to inform your view of whether they are well aligned with common shareholders. A high insider ownership often makes company leadership more mindful of shareholder interests. Insiders own 0.1% of WPP shares, worth about UK£17m. While this is a strong but not outstanding level of insider ownership, it's enough to indicate some alignment between management and smaller shareholders.

What Might The Insider Transactions At WPP Tell Us?

It's certainly positive to see the recent insider purchase. We also take confidence from the longer term picture of insider transactions. Given that insiders also own a fair bit of WPP we think they are probably pretty confident of a bright future. Of course, the future is what matters most. So if you are interested in WPP, you should check out this free report on analyst forecasts for the company.

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.

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.