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Eaton Corporation plc (NYSE:ETN) insiders sold US$4.0m worth of stock suggesting impending weakness.

Over the past year, many Eaton Corporation plc (NYSE:ETN) insiders sold a significant stake in the company which may have piqued investors' interest. When evaluating insider transactions, knowing whether insiders are buying versus if they selling is usually more beneficial, as the latter can be open to many interpretations. However, when multiple insiders sell stock over a specific duration, shareholders should take notice as that could possibly be a red flag.

While insider transactions are not the most important thing when it comes to long-term investing, we would consider it foolish to ignore insider transactions altogether.

Check out our latest analysis for Eaton

Eaton Insider Transactions Over The Last Year

Over the last year, we can see that the biggest insider sale was by the insider, April Boise, for US$1.2m worth of shares, at about US$139 per share. So it's clear an insider wanted to take some cash off the table, even below the current price of US$163. We generally consider it a negative if insiders have been selling, especially if they did so below the current price, because it implies that they considered a lower price to be reasonable. However, while insider selling is sometimes discouraging, it's only a weak signal. This single sale was just 43% of April Boise's stake.

Over the last year we saw more insider selling of Eaton shares, than buying. You can see a visual depiction of insider transactions (by companies and individuals) over the last 12 months, below. By clicking on the graph below, you can see the precise details of each insider transaction!

insider-trading-volume
insider-trading-volume

If you like to buy stocks that insiders are buying, rather than selling, then you might just love this free list of companies. (Hint: insiders have been buying them).

Insiders At Eaton Have Sold Stock Recently

The last three months saw significant insider selling at Eaton. Specifically, Executive VP & CFO Thomas Okray ditched US$1.1m worth of shares in that time, and we didn't record any purchases whatsoever. In light of this it's hard to argue that all the insiders think that the shares are a bargain.

Insider Ownership

For a common shareholder, it is worth checking how many shares are held by company insiders. A high insider ownership often makes company leadership more mindful of shareholder interests. Eaton insiders own about US$231m worth of shares (which is 0.4% of the company). This kind of significant ownership by insiders does generally increase the chance that the company is run in the interest of all shareholders.

So What Does This Data Suggest About Eaton Insiders?

An insider sold Eaton shares recently, but they didn't buy any. And our longer term analysis of insider transactions didn't bring confidence, either. But it is good to see that Eaton is growing earnings. While insiders do own a lot of shares in the company (which is good), our analysis of their transactions doesn't make us feel confident about the company. So while it's helpful to know what insiders are doing in terms of buying or selling, it's also helpful to know the risks that a particular company is facing. Every company has risks, and we've spotted 2 warning signs for Eaton you should know about.

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.

Have feedback on this article? Concerned about the content? Get in touch with us directly. Alternatively, email editorial-team (at) simplywallst.com.

This article by Simply Wall St is general in nature. We provide commentary based on historical data and analyst forecasts only using an unbiased methodology and our articles are not intended to be financial advice. 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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