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Read This Before Buying Equity Residential (NYSE:EQR) Shares

Simply Wall St

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 Equity Residential (NYSE:EQR).

Do Insider Transactions Matter?

Most investors know that it is quite permissible for company leaders, such as directors of the board, to buy and sell stock in the company. 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 it is perfectly logical to keep tabs on what insiders are doing. 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 Equity Residential

Equity Residential Insider Transactions Over The Last Year

In fact, the recent sale by Alan George was the biggest sale of Equity Residential shares made by an insider individual in the last twelve months, according to our records. That means that an insider was selling shares at below the current price (US$81.15). 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. It is worth noting that this sale was only 25.2% of Alan George's holding.

In the last twelve months insiders netted US$4.5m for 60605 shares sold. Equity Residential insiders didn't buy any shares over 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:EQR Recent Insider Trading, August 16th 2019

If you like to buy stocks that insiders are buying, rather than selling, then you might just love this free list of companies. (Hint: insiders have been buying them).

Equity Residential Insiders Are Selling The Stock

Over the last three months, we've seen significant insider selling at Equity Residential. In total, insiders dumped US$2.4m worth of shares in that time, and we didn't record any purchases whatsoever. This may suggest that some insiders think that the shares are not cheap.

Insider Ownership

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. I reckon it's a good sign if insiders own a significant number of shares in the company. Equity Residential insiders own about US$346m worth of shares (which is 1.1% of the company). Most shareholders would be happy to see this sort of insider ownership, since it suggests that management incentives are well aligned with other shareholders.

So What Do The Equity Residential Insider Transactions Indicate?

Insiders haven't bought Equity Residential 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. But it is good to see that Equity Residential is growing earnings. The company boasts high insider ownership, but we're a little hesitant, given the history of share sales. 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.

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.

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.