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Have Insiders Been Selling Abbott Laboratories (NYSE:ABT) Shares?

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 Abbott Laboratories (NYSE:ABT), you may well want to know whether insiders have been buying or selling.

What Is Insider Buying?

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.

We don't think shareholders should simply follow insider transactions. 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 Abbott Laboratories

The Last 12 Months Of Insider Transactions At Abbott Laboratories

The insider, Brian Blaser, made the biggest insider sale in the last 12 months. That single transaction was for US$1.3m worth of shares at a price of US$78.25 each. That means that even when the share price was below the current price of US$85.56, an insider wanted to cash in some shares. As a general rule we consider it to be discouraging when insiders are selling below the current price, because it suggests they were happy with a lower valuation. However, while insider selling is sometimes discouraging, it's only a weak signal. It is worth noting that this sale was only 11% of Brian Blaser's holding.

Over the last year, we can see that insiders have bought 5455 shares worth US$397k. On the other hand they divested 82703 shares, for US$6.4m. Over the last year we saw more insider selling of Abbott Laboratories shares, than buying. 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!

NYSE:ABT Recent Insider Trading, August 20th 2019

I will like Abbott Laboratories better if I see some big insider buys. While we wait, check out this free list of growing companies with considerable, recent, insider buying.

Insiders at Abbott Laboratories Have Sold Stock Recently

The last three months saw significant insider selling at Abbott Laboratories. Specifically, Independent Director Sally Blount ditched US$219k worth of shares in that time, and we didn't record any purchases whatsoever. This may suggest that some insiders think that the shares are not cheap.

Does Abbott Laboratories Boast High 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. I reckon it's a good sign if insiders own a significant number of shares in the company. Abbott Laboratories insiders own 0.8% of the company, currently worth about US$1.2b based on the recent share price. This kind of significant ownership by insiders does generally increase the chance that the company is run in the interest of all shareholders.

What Might The Insider Transactions At Abbott Laboratories Tell Us?

An insider sold stock recently, but they haven't been buying. Despite some insider buying, the longer term picture doesn't make us feel much more positive. But since Abbott Laboratories is profitable and growing, we're not too worried by this. 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. Therefore, you should should definitely take a look at this FREE report showing analyst forecasts for Abbott Laboratories.

Of course Abbott Laboratories 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.