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Have Insiders Been Selling Telephone and Data Systems, Inc. (NYSE:TDS) Shares?

Ricardo Landis

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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. 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 before you buy or sell Telephone and Data Systems, Inc. (NYSE:TDS), you may well want to know whether insiders have been buying or selling.

Do Insider Transactions Matter?

It is perfectly legal for company insiders, including board members, to buy and sell stock in a company. However, such insiders must disclose their trading activities, and not trade on inside information.

We don’t think shareholders should simply follow insider transactions. But it is perfectly logical to keep tabs on what insiders are doing. For example, a Harvard University study found that ‘insider purchases earn abnormal returns of more than 6% per year.’

View our latest analysis for Telephone and Data Systems

The Last 12 Months Of Insider Transactions At Telephone and Data Systems

In the last twelve months, the biggest single sale by an insider was when Director Kenneth Meyers sold US$2.4m worth of shares at a price of US$29.90 per share. That means that even when the share price was below the current price of US$32.76, an insider wanted to cash in some shares. While their view may have changed since they sold, this isn’t a particularly bullish sign. When an insider sells below the current price, it does tend to make us wonder about the current valuation. Please note, however, that this single sale was 74.6% of Kenneth Meyers’s stake.

Over the last year, we note insiders sold 185.89k shares worth US$5.5m. Over the last year we saw more insider selling of Telephone and Data Systems shares, than buying. The sellers received a price of around US$29.50, on average. We don’t gain much confidence from insider selling near the recent share price. But we don’t put too much weight on the insider selling, since sellers could have personal reasons. 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:TDS Recent Insider Trading, February 25th 2019

For those who like to find winning investments this free list of growing companies with recent insider purchasing, could be just the ticket.

Insiders at Telephone and Data Systems Have Sold Stock Recently

Over the last three months, we’ve seen significant insider selling at Telephone and Data Systems. In total, insiders sold US$2.7m worth of shares in that time, and we didn’t record any purchases whatsoever. In light of this it’s hard to argue that all the directors think that the shares are a bargain.

Insider Ownership of Telephone and Data Systems

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. Telephone and Data Systems insiders own 15% of the company, currently worth about US$543m based on the recent share price. I like to see this level of insider ownership, because it increases the chances that management are thinking about the best interests of shareholders.

What Might The Insider Transactions At Telephone and Data Systems Tell Us?

Insiders haven’t bought Telephone and Data Systems stock in the last three months, but there was some selling. And there weren’t any purchases to give us comfort, over the last year. It is good to see high insider ownership, but the insider selling leaves us cautious. 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 Telephone and Data Systems 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.