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Read This Before Buying Green Plains Inc. (NASDAQ:GPRE) Shares

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. On the other hand, we'd be remiss not to mention that insider sales have been known to precede tough periods for a business. So before you buy or sell Green Plains Inc. (NASDAQ:GPRE), you may well want to know whether insiders have been buying or selling.

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 on the market. However, rules govern insider transactions, and certain disclosures are required.

We don't think shareholders should simply follow insider transactions. 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.'

View our latest analysis for Green Plains

Green Plains Insider Transactions Over The Last Year

The President, Todd Becker, made the biggest insider sale in the last 12 months. That single transaction was for US$1.5m worth of shares at a price of US$16.88 each. That means that even when the share price was below the current price of US$17.51, an insider wanted to cash in some shares. When an insider sells below the current price, it suggests that they considered that lower price to be fair. That makes us wonder what they think of the (higher) recent valuation. 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 12.1% of Todd Becker's stake.

In the last twelve months insiders netted US$4.1m for 258k shares sold. Green Plains insiders didn't buy any shares over the last year. You can see a visual depiction of insider transactions (by individuals) over the last 12 months, below. By clicking on the graph below, you can see the precise details of each insider transaction!

NasdaqGS:GPRE Recent Insider Trading, April 9th 2019

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

Green Plains Insiders Are Selling The Stock

The last quarter saw substantial insider selling of Green Plains shares. In total, insiders sold US$782k worth of shares in that time, and we didn't record any purchases whatsoever. Overall this makes us a bit cautious, but it's not the be all and end all.

Insider Ownership

Looking at the total insider shareholdings in a company can help to inform your view of whether they are well aligned with common shareholders. I reckon it's a good sign if insiders own a significant number of shares in the company. Green Plains insiders own about US$42m worth of shares. That equates to 5.8% of the company. While this is a strong but not outstanding level of insider ownership, it's enough to indicate some alignment between management and smaller shareholders.

So What Do The Green Plains Insider Transactions Indicate?

Insiders sold Green Plains shares recently, but they didn't buy any. 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. So we'd only buy after careful consideration. Therefore, you should should definitely take a look at this FREE report showing analyst forecasts for Green Plains.

Of course, you might find a fantastic investment by looking elsewhere. So take a peek at this free list of interesting companies.

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.