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 before you buy or sell Universal Corporation (NYSE:UVV), 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 on the market. However, rules govern insider transactions, and certain disclosures are required.
We don't think shareholders should simply follow insider transactions. But logic dictates you should pay some attention to whether insiders are buying or selling shares. For example, a Harvard University study found that 'insider purchases earn abnormal returns of more than 6% per year.'
Universal Insider Transactions Over The Last Year
Over the last year, we can see that the biggest insider sale was by the Executive Officer, Robert Peebles, for US$433k worth of shares, at about US$59.56 per share. That means that even when the share price was slightly below the current price of US$60.54, an insider wanted to cash in some shares. When an insider sells below the current price, it suggests that they considered that lower price to be fair. That makes us wonder what they think of the (higher) recent valuation. However, while insider selling is sometimes discouraging, it's only a weak signal. We note that the biggest single sale was only 35.5% of Robert Peebles's holding.
We note that in the last year insiders divested 26919 shares for a total of US$1.6m. Insiders in Universal didn't buy any shares in 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!
If you are like me, then you will not want to miss this free list of growing companies that insiders are buying.
Universal Insiders Are Selling The Stock
Over the last three months, we've seen significant insider selling at Universal. In total, insiders sold US$649k 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.
Insider Ownership of Universal
I like to look at how many shares insiders own in a company, to help inform my view of how aligned they are with insiders. A high insider ownership often makes company leadership more mindful of shareholder interests. Insiders own 1.4% of Universal shares, worth about US$21m. 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 Universal Tell Us?
Insiders haven't bought Universal stock in the last three months, but there was some selling. And even if we look to the last year, we didn't see any purchases. While insiders do own shares, they don't own a heap, and they have been selling. We're in no rush to buy! Along with insider transactions, I recommend checking if Universal is growing revenue. This free chart of historic revenue and earnings should make that easy.
Of course Universal 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 email@example.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.