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Have Insiders Been Selling Wells Fargo & Company (NYSE:WFC) Shares?

Simply Wall St

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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 we'll take a look at whether insiders have been buying or selling shares in Wells Fargo & Company (NYSE:WFC).

Do Insider Transactions Matter?

Most investors know that it is quite permissible for company leaders, such as directors of the board, to buy and sell stock on the market. However, rules govern insider transactions, and certain disclosures are required.

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 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 Wells Fargo

Wells Fargo Insider Transactions Over The Last Year

The Senior EVP of Payments, Avid Modjtabai, made the biggest insider sale in the last 12 months. That single transaction was for US$5.9m worth of shares at a price of US$58.71 each. While insider selling is a negative, to us, it is more negative if the shares are sold at a lower price. The silver lining is that this sell-down took place above the latest price (US$45.29). So it is hard to draw any strong conclusion from it.

In the last twelve months insiders netted US$8.6m for 153k shares sold. In the last year Wells Fargo insiders didn't buy any company stock. You can see a visual depiction of insider transactions (by individuals) over the last 12 months, below. If you click on the chart, you can see all the individual transactions, including the share price, individual, and the date!

NYSE:WFC Recent Insider Trading, June 14th 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 Wells Fargo Have Sold Stock Recently

The last quarter saw substantial insider selling of Wells Fargo shares. In total, Senior Executive Vice President of Wholesale Banking Petros Pelos dumped US$1.3m 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 insiders think that the shares are a bargain.

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. I reckon it's a good sign if insiders own a significant number of shares in the company. It's great to see that Wells Fargo insiders own 0.1% of the company, worth about US$268m. 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 Wells Fargo Insiders?

An insider sold stock recently, but they haven't been buying. And even if we look to the last year, we didn't see any purchases. But it is good to see that Wells Fargo is growing earnings. The company boasts high insider ownership, but we're a little hesitant, given the history of share sales. Therefore, you should should definitely take a look at this FREE report showing analyst forecasts for Wells Fargo.

Of course Wells Fargo 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 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.