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Are Insiders Selling Acceleron Pharma Inc. (NASDAQ:XLRN) Stock?

Simply Wall St

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We've lost count of how many times insiders have accumulated shares in a company that goes on to improve markedly. 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 Acceleron Pharma Inc. (NASDAQ:XLRN).

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 on the market. 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 equally, we would consider it foolish to ignore insider transactions altogether. 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 Acceleron Pharma

The Last 12 Months Of Insider Transactions At Acceleron Pharma

The Director, Jean George, made the biggest insider sale in the last 12 months. That single transaction was for US$486k worth of shares at a price of US$41.17 each. So we know that an insider sold shares at around the present share price of US$40.86. While we don't usually like to see insider selling, it's more concerning if the sales take price at a lower price. In this case, the big sale took place at around the current price, so it's not too bad (but it's still not a positive). Jean George was the only individual insider to sell shares in the last twelve months.

You can see the insider transactions (by individuals) over the last year depicted in the chart below. By clicking on the graph below, you can see the precise details of each insider transaction!

NasdaqGM:XLRN Recent Insider Trading, July 15th 2019

If you are like me, then you will not want to miss this free list of growing companies that insiders are buying.

Acceleron Pharma Insiders Are Selling The Stock

There was substantially more insider selling, than buying, of Acceleron Pharma shares over the last three months. We note Jean George cashed in US$486k worth of shares. On the other hand we note Director Joseph Zakrzewski bought US$190k worth of shares, as previously mentioned. Because the selling vastly outweighs the buying, we'd say this is a somewhat bearish sign.

Insider Ownership

Another way to test the alignment between the leaders of a company and other shareholders is to look at how many shares they own. I reckon it's a good sign if insiders own a significant number of shares in the company. Acceleron Pharma insiders own about US$26m worth of shares. That equates to 1.2% 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.

So What Do The Acceleron Pharma Insider Transactions Indicate?

The stark truth for Acceleron Pharma is that there has been more insider selling than insider buying in the last three months. Zooming out, the longer term picture doesn't give us much comfort. While insiders do own shares, they don't own a heap, and they have been selling. We're in no rush to buy! Therefore, you should should definitely take a look at this FREE report showing analyst forecasts for Acceleron Pharma.

Of course Acceleron Pharma 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 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.