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Have Insiders Been Selling American Tower Corporation (REIT) (NYSE:AMT) Shares?

Simply Wall St

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 we'll take a look at whether insiders have been buying or selling shares in American Tower Corporation (REIT) (NYSE:AMT).

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 would never suggest that investors should base their decisions solely on what the directors of a company have been doing. But it is perfectly logical to keep tabs on what insiders are doing. 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'.

Check out our latest analysis for American Tower Corporation (REIT)

The Last 12 Months Of Insider Transactions At American Tower Corporation (REIT)

The insider, William Hess, made the biggest insider sale in the last 12 months. That single transaction was for US$3.7m worth of shares at a price of US$187 each. That means that even when the share price was below the current price of US$227, 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. Please do note, however, that sellers may have a variety of reasons for selling, so we don't know for sure what they think of the stock price. We note that the biggest single sale was only 27% of William Hess's holding.

We note that in the last year insiders divested 36725 shares for a total of US$6.9m. American Tower Corporation (REIT) insiders didn't buy any shares over the last year. The chart below shows insider transactions (by individuals) over the last year. By clicking on the graph below, you can see the precise details of each insider transaction!

NYSE:AMT Recent Insider Trading, October 23rd 2019

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).

American Tower Corporation (REIT) Insiders Are Selling The Stock

The last three months saw some American Tower Corporation (REIT) insider selling. Director Robert Hormats only netted US$23k selling shares, in that period. It's not great to see insider selling, nor the lack of recent buyers. But the selling simply isn't sufficiently substantial to be of much use as a signal.

Insider Ownership

Many investors like to check how much of a company is owned by insiders. A high insider ownership often makes company leadership more mindful of shareholder interests. American Tower Corporation (REIT) insiders own about US$292m worth of shares (which is 0.3% of the company). Most shareholders would be happy to see this sort of insider ownership, since it suggests that management incentives are well aligned with other shareholders.

So What Does This Data Suggest About American Tower Corporation (REIT) Insiders?

We did not see any insider buying in the last three months, but we did see selling. But given the selling was modest, we're not worried. It's great to see high levels of insider ownership, but looking back at the last year, we don't gain confidence from the American Tower Corporation (REIT) insiders selling. 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.

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.