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Need To Know: Hays plc (LON:HAS) Insiders Have Been Selling Shares

Simply Wall St

We often see insiders buying up shares in companies that perform well over the long term. Unfortunately, there are also plenty of examples of share prices declining precipitously after insiders have sold shares. So before you buy or sell Hays plc (LON:HAS), you may well want to know whether insiders have been buying or selling.

What Is Insider Buying?

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 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'.

See our latest analysis for Hays

The Last 12 Months Of Insider Transactions At Hays

In the last twelve months, the biggest single sale by an insider was when the CEO & Executive Director, Alistair Cox, sold UK£1.7m worth of shares at a price of UK£1.57 per share. That means that an insider was selling shares at below the current price (UK£1.60). 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 22% of Alistair Cox's stake.

All up, insiders sold more shares in Hays than they bought, over the last year. You can see the insider transactions (by individuals) over the last year depicted in the chart below. If you want to know exactly who sold, for how much, and when, simply click on the graph below!

LSE:HAS Recent Insider Trading, November 2nd 2019

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

Insiders at Hays Have Bought Stock Recently

We saw some Hays insider buying shares in the last three months. Senior Independent Director Peter Williams bought UK£14k worth of shares in that time. It's great to see that insiders are only buying, not selling. But in this case the amount purchased means the recent transaction may not be very meaningful on its own.

Insider Ownership of Hays

For a common shareholder, it is worth checking how many shares are held by company insiders. I reckon it's a good sign if insiders own a significant number of shares in the company. Insiders own 0.4% of Hays shares, worth about UK£9.9m. This level of insider ownership is good but just short of being particularly stand-out. It certainly does suggest a reasonable degree of alignment.

What Might The Insider Transactions At Hays Tell Us?

We note a that there has been a bit of insider buying recently (but no selling). That said, the purchases were not large. The insider transactions at Hays are not inspiring us to buy. We also note that, as far as we can see, insider ownership is fairly low, compared to other companies. 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 Hays 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.