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Need To Know: Lincoln Electric Holdings, Inc. (NASDAQ:LECO) Insiders Have Been Selling Shares

Simply Wall St

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 Lincoln Electric Holdings, Inc. (NASDAQ:LECO), you may well want to know whether insiders have been buying or selling.

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, such insiders must disclose their trading activities, and not trade on inside information.

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 Harvard University study found that 'insider purchases earn abnormal returns of more than 6% per year.

View our latest analysis for Lincoln Electric Holdings

The Last 12 Months Of Insider Transactions At Lincoln Electric Holdings

In the last twelve months, the biggest single sale by an insider was when the Independent Director, Hellene Runtagh, sold US$213k worth of shares at a price of US$84.23 per share. So it's clear an insider wanted to take some cash off the table, even below the current price of US$87.07. We generally consider it a negative if insiders have been selling, especially if they did so below the current price, because it implies that they considered a lower price to be reasonable. While insider selling is not a positive sign, we can't be sure if it does mean insiders think the shares are fully valued, so it's only a weak sign. This single sale was just 9.8% of Hellene Runtagh's stake.

We note that in the last year insiders divested 3323 shares for a total of US$283k. Lincoln Electric Holdings insiders didn't buy any shares over the last year. 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!

NasdaqGS:LECO Recent Insider Trading, October 22nd 2019

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

Does Lincoln Electric Holdings 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. We usually like to see fairly high levels of insider ownership. Insiders own 1.5% of Lincoln Electric Holdings shares, worth about US$79m. 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 Lincoln Electric Holdings Insiders?

It doesn't really mean much that no insider has traded Lincoln Electric Holdings shares in the last quarter. We don't take much encouragement from the transactions by Lincoln Electric Holdings insiders. But we do like the fact that insiders own a fair chunk of the company. 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.

If you would prefer to check out another company -- one with potentially superior financials -- then do not miss this free list of interesting companies, that have HIGH return on equity 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.