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How Much Are Norfolk Southern Corporation (NYSE:NSC) Insiders Taking Off The Table?

Simply Wall St

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We've lost count of how many times insiders have accumulated shares in a company that goes on to improve markedly. 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 Norfolk Southern Corporation (NYSE:NSC).

What Is Insider Selling?

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.

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. As Peter Lynch said, 'insiders might sell their shares for any number of reasons, but they buy them for only one: they think the price will rise.'

View our latest analysis for Norfolk Southern

Norfolk Southern Insider Transactions Over The Last Year

In the last twelve months, the biggest single sale by an insider was when the Chairman, James Squires, sold US$619k worth of shares at a price of US$205 per share. That means that even when the share price was slightly below the current price of US$206, an insider wanted to cash in some shares. As a general rule we consider it to be discouraging when insiders are selling below the current price, because it suggests they were happy with a lower valuation. However, while insider selling is sometimes discouraging, it's only a weak signal. We note that the biggest single sale was only 2.4% of James Squires's holding.

We note that in the last year insiders divested 9844 shares for a total of US$1.9m. Insiders in Norfolk Southern didn't buy any shares in the last year. You can see the insider transactions (by individuals) over the last year depicted in the chart below. By clicking on the graph below, you can see the precise details of each insider transaction!

NYSE:NSC Recent Insider Trading, July 15th 2019

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

Insiders at Norfolk Southern Have Sold Stock Recently

Over the last three months, we've seen significant insider selling at Norfolk Southern. In total, insiders sold US$1.1m worth of shares in that time, and we didn't record any purchases whatsoever. In light of this it's hard to argue that all the insiders think that the shares are a bargain.

Does Norfolk Southern 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. Norfolk Southern insiders own about US$65m worth of shares. That equates to 0.1% of the company. 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 Norfolk Southern Insiders?

Insiders sold stock recently, but they haven't been buying. 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! Therefore, you should should definitely take a look at this FREE report showing analyst forecasts for Norfolk Southern.

Of course Norfolk Southern 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 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.