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Who Has Been Selling Sterling Bancorp (NYSE:STL) 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. 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 Sterling Bancorp (NYSE:STL).

What Is Insider Buying?

It's quite normal to see company insiders, such as board members, trading in company stock, from time to time. 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 logic dictates you should pay some attention to whether insiders are buying or selling shares. 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 Sterling Bancorp

The Last 12 Months Of Insider Transactions At Sterling Bancorp

The Independent Director, James Landy, made the biggest insider sale in the last 12 months. That single transaction was for US$1.1m worth of shares at a price of US$19.36 each. So it's clear an insider wanted to take some cash off the table, even below the current price of US$21.28. We generally consider it a negative if insiders have been selling on market, especially if they did so below the current price, because it implies that they considered a lower price to be reasonable. Please do note, however, that sellers may have a variety of reasons for selling, so we don't know for sure what they think of the stock price. This single sale was just 12.6% of James Landy's stake.

All up, insiders sold more shares in Sterling Bancorp than they bought, over the last year. They sold for an average price of about US$19.81. It's not too encouraging to see that insiders have sold at below the current price. Since insiders sell for many reasons, we wouldn't put too much weight on it. 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!

NYSE:STL Recent Insider Trading, June 30th 2019

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Insiders at Sterling Bancorp Have Sold Stock Recently

The last three months saw significant insider selling at Sterling Bancorp. Specifically, insiders ditched US$291k worth of shares in that time, and we didn't record any purchases whatsoever. In light of this it's hard to argue that all the insiders think that the shares are a bargain.

Insider Ownership of Sterling Bancorp

Many investors like to check how much of a company is owned by insiders. We usually like to see fairly high levels of insider ownership. Sterling Bancorp insiders own about US$83m worth of shares. That equates to 1.9% of the company. 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 Do The Sterling Bancorp Insider Transactions Indicate?

Insiders haven't bought Sterling Bancorp stock in the last three months, but there was some selling. Despite some insider buying, the longer term picture doesn't make us feel much more positive. But since Sterling Bancorp is profitable and growing, we're not too worried by this. Insiders own shares, but we're still pretty cautious, given the history of sales. So we'd only buy after careful consideration. Therefore, you should should definitely take a look at this FREE report showing analyst forecasts for Sterling Bancorp.

Of course Sterling Bancorp 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 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.