It is not uncommon to see companies perform well in the years after insiders buy shares. 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 before you buy or sell Western Asset Mortgage Capital Corporation (NYSE:WMC), you may well want to know whether insiders have been buying or selling.
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, most countries require that the company discloses such transactions to the market.
Insider transactions are not the most important thing when it comes to long-term investing. 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'.
Western Asset Mortgage Capital Insider Transactions Over The Last Year
Over the last year, we can see that the biggest insider purchase was by President Jennifer Murphy for US$100k worth of shares, at about US$9.98 per share. So it's clear an insider wanted to buy, even at a higher price than the current share price (being US$9.62). While their view may have changed since the purchase was made, this does at least suggest they have had confidence in the company's future. In our view, the price an insider pays for shares is very important. It is generally more encouraging if they paid above the current price, as it suggests they saw value, even at higher levels.
Western Asset Mortgage Capital insiders may have bought shares in the last year, but they didn't sell any. 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!
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.
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. From looking at our data, insiders own US$2.3m worth of Western Asset Mortgage Capital stock, about 0.4% of the company. We consider this fairly low insider ownership.
What Might The Insider Transactions At Western Asset Mortgage Capital Tell Us?
There haven't been any insider transactions in the last three months -- that doesn't mean much. However, our analysis of transactions over the last year is heartening. We'd like to see bigger individual holdings. However, we don't see anything to make us think Western Asset Mortgage Capital insiders are doubting the company. 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.
But note: Western Asset Mortgage Capital 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 firstname.lastname@example.org. 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.