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Have Insiders Been Selling American Eagle Outfitters, Inc. (NYSE:AEO) Shares This Year?

Simply Wall St

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It is not uncommon to see companies perform well in the years after insiders buy shares. 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 American Eagle Outfitters, Inc. (NYSE:AEO).

What Is Insider Buying?

It is perfectly legal for company insiders, including board members, to buy and sell stock in a company. However, most countries require that the company discloses such transactions to the market.

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 Columbia University study found that 'insiders are more likely to engage in open market purchases of their own company’s stock when the firm is about to reveal new agreements with customers and suppliers'.

See our latest analysis for American Eagle Outfitters

The Last 12 Months Of Insider Transactions At American Eagle Outfitters

Over the last year, we can see that the biggest insider sale was by the Executive Chairman of the Board & CEO, Jay Schottenstein, for US$24m worth of shares, at about US$24.13 per share. So we know that an insider sold shares at around the present share price of US$24.04. While insider selling is a negative, to us, it is more negative if the shares are sold 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).

Over the last year, we note insiders sold 1.6m shares worth US$38m. American Eagle Outfitters insiders didn't buy any shares over the last year. 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!

NYSE:AEO Recent Insider Trading, May 3rd 2019

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

Insider Ownership of American Eagle Outfitters

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. It's great to see that American Eagle Outfitters insiders own 6.2% of the company, worth about US$258m. 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 American Eagle Outfitters Insiders?

The fact that there have been no American Eagle Outfitters insider transactions recently certainly doesn't bother us. It's heartening that insiders own plenty of stock, but we'd like to see more insider buying, since the last year of American Eagle Outfitters insider transactions don't fill us with confidence. 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 American Eagle Outfitters may not be the best stock to buy. So you may wish to see this free collection of high quality companies.

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.