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Have Insiders Been Selling Barrett Business Services, Inc. (NASDAQ:BBSI) Shares?

Simply Wall St

It is not uncommon to see companies perform well in the years after insiders buy shares. On the other hand, we'd be remiss not to mention that insider sales have been known to precede tough periods for a business. So shareholders might well want to know whether insiders have been buying or selling shares in Barrett Business Services, Inc. (NASDAQ:BBSI).

What Is Insider Buying?

Most investors know that it is quite permissible for company leaders, such as directors of the board, to buy and sell stock in the company. However, most countries require that the company discloses such transactions to the market.

We don't think shareholders should simply follow insider transactions. But equally, we would consider it foolish to ignore insider transactions altogether. 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'.

View our latest analysis for Barrett Business Services

Barrett Business Services Insider Transactions Over The Last Year

The insider, Gregory Vaughn, 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$80.98 each. That means that an insider was selling shares at slightly below the current price (US$87.13). 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 16.8% of Gregory Vaughn's holding.

In the last twelve months insiders netted US$2.7m for 34619 shares sold. In the last year Barrett Business Services insiders didn't buy any company stock. You can see the insider transactions (by individuals) over the last year depicted in the chart below. If you click on the chart, you can see all the individual transactions, including the share price, individual, and the date!

NasdaqGS:BBSI Recent Insider Trading, September 2nd 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).

Barrett Business Services Insiders Are Selling The Stock

The last quarter saw substantial insider selling of Barrett Business Services shares. Specifically, insiders ditched US$297k worth of shares in that time, and we didn't record any purchases whatsoever. Overall this makes us a bit cautious, but it's not the be all and end all.

Does Barrett Business Services Boast High 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. Usually, the higher the insider ownership, the more likely it is that insiders will be incentivised to build the company for the long term. It appears that Barrett Business Services insiders own 4.6% of the company, worth about US$30m. 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 Does This Data Suggest About Barrett Business Services Insiders?

Insiders sold stock recently, but they haven't been buying. Looking to the last twelve months, our data doesn't show any insider buying. But it is good to see that Barrett Business Services is growing earnings. Insiders own shares, but we're still pretty cautious, given the history of sales. We'd think twice before buying! Of course, the future is what matters most. So if you are interested in Barrett Business Services, you should check out this free report on analyst forecasts for the company.

Of course Barrett Business Services 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.