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Read This Before Selling Heartland Financial USA, Inc. (NASDAQ:HTLF) 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. 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 Heartland Financial USA, Inc. (NASDAQ:HTLF), you may well want to know whether insiders have been buying or selling.

What Is Insider Selling?

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, 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 it is perfectly logical to keep tabs on what insiders are doing. For example, a Harvard University study found that 'insider purchases earn abnormal returns of more than 6% per year.

Check out our latest analysis for Heartland Financial USA

Heartland Financial USA Insider Transactions Over The Last Year

In the last twelve months, the biggest single purchase by an insider was when Independent Director R. McCoy bought US$100k worth of shares at a price of US$49.41 per share. That means that even when the share price was higher than US$46.25 (the recent price), an insider wanted to purchase shares. It's very possible they regret the purchase, but it's more likely they are bullish about the company. In our view, the price an insider pays for shares is very important. Generally speaking, it catches our eye when insiders have purchased shares at above current prices, as it suggests they believed the shares were worth buying, even at a higher price.

In the last twelve months insiders purchased 3015 shares for US$141k. But insiders sold 1000 shares worth US$49k. Overall, Heartland Financial USA insiders were net buyers last year. You can see the insider transactions (by 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!

NasdaqGS:HTLF Recent Insider Trading, December 4th 2019

There are always plenty of stocks that insiders are buying. So if that suits your style you could check each stock one by one or you could take a look at this free list of companies. (Hint: insiders have been buying them).

Insider Ownership of Heartland Financial USA

Another way to test the alignment between the leaders of a company and other shareholders is to look at how many shares they own. Usually, the higher the insider ownership, the more likely it is that insiders will be incentivised to build the company for the long term. Insiders own 5.8% of Heartland Financial USA shares, worth about US$99m. 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 Heartland Financial USA Insiders?

The fact that there have been no Heartland Financial USA 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 Heartland Financial USA insiders are doubting the company, and they do own shares. Of course, the future is what matters most. So if you are interested in Heartland Financial USA, you should check out this free report on analyst forecasts for the company.

Of course Heartland Financial USA 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 currently account for open market transactions and private dispositions, but not derivative transactions.

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.

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. Thank you for reading.