U.S. Markets closed

Read This Before Selling Olympic Steel, Inc. (NASDAQ:ZEUS) Shares

Simply Wall St

We often see insiders buying up shares in companies that perform well over the long term. 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 we'll take a look at whether insiders have been buying or selling shares in Olympic Steel, Inc. (NASDAQ:ZEUS).

What Is Insider Selling?

It is perfectly legal for company insiders, including board members, to buy and sell stock in a 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 equally, we would consider it foolish to ignore insider transactions altogether. 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 Olympic Steel

The Last 12 Months Of Insider Transactions At Olympic Steel

In the last twelve months, the biggest single purchase by an insider was when CEO & Director Richard Marabito bought US$101k worth of shares at a price of US$18.95 per share. That means that even when the share price was higher than US$10.75 (the recent price), an insider wanted to purchase shares. Their view may have changed since then, but at least it shows they felt optimistic at the time. We always take careful note of the price insiders pay when purchasing shares. As a general rule, we feel more positive about a stock if insiders have bought shares at above current prices, because that suggests they viewed the stock as good value, even at a higher price.

Happily, we note that in the last year insiders bought 12745 shares for a total of US$219k. In the last twelve months Olympic Steel insiders were buying shares, but not selling. The chart below shows insider transactions (by individuals) over the last year. If you want to know exactly who sold, for how much, and when, simply click on the graph below!

NasdaqGS:ZEUS Recent Insider Trading, September 2nd 2019

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.

Olympic Steel Insiders Bought Stock Recently

We saw some Olympic Steel insider buying shares in the last three months. Independent Director Ralph Della Ratta bought US$25k worth of shares in that time. We like it when there are only buyers, and no sellers. But in this case the amount purchased means the recent transaction may not be very meaningful on its own.

Does Olympic Steel Boast High 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. A high insider ownership often makes company leadership more mindful of shareholder interests. Insiders own 18% of Olympic Steel shares, worth about US$21m. 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 Does This Data Suggest About Olympic Steel Insiders?

Insider purchases may have been minimal, in the last three months, but there was no selling at all. The net investment is not enough to encourage us much. But insiders have shown more of an appetite for the stock, over the last year. Insiders own shares in Olympic Steel and we see no evidence to suggest they are worried about the future. 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.