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It is not uncommon to see companies perform well in the years after insiders buy shares. Unfortunately, there are also plenty of examples of share prices declining precipitously after insiders have sold shares. So we'll take a look at whether insiders have been buying or selling shares in GMS Inc. (NYSE:GMS).
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 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'.
The Last 12 Months Of Insider Transactions At GMS
Over the last year, we can see that the biggest insider purchase was by insider Ronald Ross for US$1.3m worth of shares, at about US$16.43 per share. Although we like to see insider buying, we note that this large purchase was at significantly below the recent price of US$30.76. While it does suggest insiders consider the stock undervalued at lower prices, this transaction doesn't tell us much about what they think of current prices.
In the last twelve months GMS insiders were buying shares, but not selling. The average buy price was around US$13.94. We don't deny that it is nice to see insiders buying stock in the company. But we must note that the investments were made at well below today's share price. You can see the insider transactions (by companies and individuals) over the last year depicted in the chart below. If you click on the chart, you can see all the individual transactions, including the share price, individual, and the date!
There are plenty of other companies that have insiders buying up shares. You probably do not want to miss this free list of growing companies that insiders are buying.
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. GMS insiders own about US$17m worth of shares. That equates to 1.3% of the company. 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 Do The GMS Insider Transactions Indicate?
The fact that there have been no GMS insider transactions recently certainly doesn't bother us. However, our analysis of transactions over the last year is heartening. Overall we don't see anything to make us think GMS insiders are doubting the company, and they do own shares. So while it's helpful to know what insiders are doing in terms of buying or selling, it's also helpful to know the risks that a particular company is facing. At Simply Wall St, we've found that GMS has 4 warning signs (1 can't be ignored!) that deserve your attention before going any further with your analysis.
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.
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. We aim to bring you long-term focused analysis driven by fundamental data. Note that our analysis may not factor in the latest price-sensitive company announcements or qualitative material. Simply Wall St has no position in any stocks mentioned.
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