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Are Insiders Selling Essex Property Trust, Inc. (NYSE:ESS) Stock?

Simply Wall St

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 before you buy or sell Essex Property Trust, Inc. (NYSE:ESS), you may well want to know whether insiders have been buying or selling.

What Is Insider Selling?

It is perfectly legal for company insiders, including board members, to buy and sell stock in a company. However, rules govern insider transactions, and certain disclosures are required.

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.

Check out our latest analysis for Essex Property Trust

The Last 12 Months Of Insider Transactions At Essex Property Trust

In the last twelve months, the biggest single sale by an insider was when the President, Michael Schall, sold US$778k worth of shares at a price of US$290 per share. So it's clear an insider wanted to take some cash off the table, even below the current price of US$328. 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. This single sale was just 6.6% of Michael Schall's stake.

Over the last year, we note insiders sold 6685 shares worth US$1.9m. Essex Property Trust 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. If you click on the chart, you can see all the individual transactions, including the share price, individual, and the date!

NYSE:ESS Recent Insider Trading, October 16th 2019

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

Does Essex Property Trust Boast High Insider Ownership?

Looking at the total insider shareholdings in a company can help to inform your view of whether they are well aligned with common shareholders. A high insider ownership often makes company leadership more mindful of shareholder interests. Essex Property Trust insiders own 1.8% of the company, currently worth about US$401m 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.

So What Does This Data Suggest About Essex Property Trust Insiders?

The fact that there have been no Essex Property Trust 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 Essex Property Trust insider transactions don't fill us with confidence. Therefore, you should should definitely take a look at this FREE report showing analyst forecasts for Essex Property Trust.

But note: Essex Property Trust may not be the best stock to buy. So take a peek at this free list of interesting companies with high ROE 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.