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Who Has Been Selling Hess Corporation (NYSE:HES) Shares?

Seth Doty

We often see insiders buying up shares in companies that perform well over the long term. 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 shareholders might well want to know whether insiders have been buying or selling shares in Hess Corporation (NYSE:HES).

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, 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 Harvard University study found that ‘insider purchases earn abnormal returns of more than 6% per year.’

See our latest analysis for Hess

The Last 12 Months Of Insider Transactions At Hess

In the last twelve months, the biggest single sale by an insider was when CEO & Director John Hess sold US$4.2m worth of shares at a price of US$44.32 per share. So we know that an insider sold shares at around the present share price of US$42.39. They could have a variety of motivations for selling, but it’s still not particularly encouraging to see. Arguably, insider selling at around current prices should give us reason to reflect on whether the stock is fully valued at the moment.

In the last twelve months insiders purchased 5.68k shares for US$275k. On the other hand they divested 214.20k shares, for US$10m. All up, insiders sold more shares in Hess than they bought, over the last year. They sold for an average price of about US$48.26. We don’t gain much confidence from insider selling near the recent share price. Since insiders sell for many reasons, we wouldn’t put too much weight on it. You can see the insider transactions over the last year depicted in the chart below. If you want to know exactly who sold, for how much, and when, simply click on the graph below!

NYSE:HES Insider Trading January 4th 19

For those who like to find winning investments this free list of growing companies with recent insider purchasing, could be just the ticket.

Hess Insiders Are Selling The Stock

The last quarter saw substantial insider selling of Hess shares. In total, Senior Vice President of Production Michael Turner sold US$235k 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.

Does Hess 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. Hess insiders own about US$1.2b worth of shares (which is 9.9% of the company). I like to see this level of insider ownership, because it increases the chances that management are thinking about the best interests of shareholders.

So What Does This Data Suggest About Hess Insiders?

An insider sold Hess shares recently, but they didn’t buy any. Zooming out, the longer term picture doesn’t give us much comfort. While insiders do own a lot of shares in the company (which is good), our analysis of their transactions doesn’t make us feel confident about 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: Hess 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.

To help readers see past the short term volatility of the financial market, we aim to bring you a long-term focused research analysis purely driven by fundamental data. Note that our analysis does not factor in the latest price-sensitive company announcements.

The author is an independent contributor and at the time of publication had no position in the stocks mentioned. For errors that warrant correction please contact the editor at editorial-team@simplywallst.com.