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How Much Are Columbia Banking System, Inc. (NASDAQ:COLB) Insiders Taking Off The Table?

Simply Wall St

We've lost count of how many times insiders have accumulated shares in a company that goes on to improve markedly. The flip side of that is that there are more than a few examples of insiders dumping stock prior to a period of weak performance. So we'll take a look at whether insiders have been buying or selling shares in Columbia Banking System, Inc. (NASDAQ:COLB).

Do Insider Transactions Matter?

It's quite normal to see company insiders, such as board members, trading in company stock, from time to time. However, such insiders must disclose their trading activities, and not trade on inside information.

Insider transactions are not the most important thing when it comes to long-term investing. But logic dictates you should pay some attention to whether insiders are buying or selling shares. 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 Columbia Banking System

Columbia Banking System Insider Transactions Over The Last Year

In the last twelve months, the biggest single sale by an insider was when the insider, Andrew McDonald, sold US$122k worth of shares at a price of US$35.06 per share. So it's clear an insider wanted to take some cash off the table, even below the current price of US$36.62. 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 8.8% of Andrew McDonald's stake.

Over the last year, we can see that insiders have bought 940 shares worth US$31k. But insiders sold 7212 shares worth US$265k. In total, Columbia Banking System insiders sold more than they bought over the last year. The chart below shows insider transactions (by individuals) over the last year. If you want to know exactly who sold, for how much, and when, simply click on the graph below!

NasdaqGS:COLB Recent Insider Trading, September 25th 2019

I will like Columbia Banking System better if I see some big insider buys. While we wait, check out this free list of growing companies with considerable, recent, insider buying.

Insiders at Columbia Banking System Have Bought Stock Recently

Over the last three months, we've seen a bit of insider buying at Columbia Banking System. Insiders shelled out US$19k for shares in that time. It's good to see the insider buying, as well as the lack of recent sellers. But the amount invested in the last three months isn't enough for us too put much weight on it, as a single factor.

Insider Ownership of Columbia Banking System

Another way to test the alignment between the leaders of a company and other shareholders is to look at how many shares they own. I reckon it's a good sign if insiders own a significant number of shares in the company. Insiders own 0.9% of Columbia Banking System shares, worth about US$25m. We've certainly seen higher levels of insider ownership elsewhere, but these holdings are enough to suggest alignment between insiders and the other shareholders.

So What Does This Data Suggest About Columbia Banking System Insiders?

Our data shows a little insider buying, but no selling, in the last three months. The net investment is not enough to encourage us much. Our analysis of Columbia Banking System insider transactions leaves us cautious. The modest level of insider ownership is, at least, some comfort. Of course, the future is what matters most. So if you are interested in Columbia Banking System, you should check out this free report on analyst forecasts for the company.

But note: Columbia Banking System may not be the best stock to buy. So take a peek at this free list of interesting companies with high ROE 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.