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Need To Know: National Oilwell Varco, Inc. (NYSE:NOV) Insiders Have Been Selling Shares

Simply Wall St

We often see insiders buying up shares in companies that perform well over the long term. 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 National Oilwell Varco, Inc. (NYSE:NOV).

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 in the 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 equally, we would consider it foolish to ignore insider transactions altogether. 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'.

Check out our latest analysis for National Oilwell Varco

The Last 12 Months Of Insider Transactions At National Oilwell Varco

Over the last year, we can see that the biggest insider sale was by the VP, Corporate Controller & Chief Accounting Officer, Scott Duff, for US$424k worth of shares, at about US$28.02 per share. While we don't usually like to see insider selling, it's more concerning if the sales take place at a lower price. The good news is that this large sale was at well above current price of US$21.04. So it may not tell us anything about how insiders feel about the current share price.

We note that in the last year insiders divested 42515 shares for a total of US$940k. In the last year National Oilwell Varco insiders didn't buy any company stock. The chart below shows insider transactions (by individuals) over the last year. If you click on the chart, you can see all the individual transactions, including the share price, individual, and the date!

NYSE:NOV Recent Insider Trading, October 8th 2019

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

National Oilwell Varco Insiders Are Selling The Stock

Over the last three months, we've seen significant insider selling at National Oilwell Varco. Specifically, insiders ditched US$516k worth of shares in that time, and we didn't record any purchases whatsoever. Overall this makes us a bit cautious, but it's not the be all and end all.

Does National Oilwell Varco 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. A high insider ownership often makes company leadership more mindful of shareholder interests. It appears that National Oilwell Varco insiders own 0.3% of the company, worth about US$27m. 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 National Oilwell Varco Tell Us?

Insiders sold stock recently, but they haven't been buying. And there weren't any purchases to give us comfort, over the last year. While insiders do own shares, they don't own a heap, and they have been selling. We'd think twice before buying! 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.