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Should You Be Worried About Insider Transactions At International Paper Company (NYSE:IP)?

Simply Wall St

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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 we'll take a look at whether insiders have been buying or selling shares in International Paper Company (NYSE:IP).

What Is Insider Selling?

It's quite normal to see company insiders, such as board members, trading in company stock, from time to time. However, such insiders must disclose their trading activities, and not trade on inside information.

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.'

Check out our latest analysis for International Paper

The Last 12 Months Of Insider Transactions At International Paper

The Senior VP & CFO, Timothy Nicholls, made the biggest insider sale in the last 12 months. That single transaction was for US$2.1m worth of shares at a price of US$46.67 each. That means that an insider was selling shares at around the current price of US$42.55. While insider selling is a negative, to us, it is more negative if the shares are sold at a lower price. We note that this sale took place at around the current price, so it isn't a major concern, though it's hardly a good sign.

We note that in the last year insiders divested 138k shares for a total of US$6.8m. International Paper 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!

NYSE:IP Recent Insider Trading, July 12th 2019

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

International Paper Insiders Are Selling The Stock

The last three months saw significant insider selling at International Paper. Specifically, insiders ditched US$279k 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

Looking at the total insider shareholdings in a company can help to inform your view of whether they are well aligned with common shareholders. 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 0.3% of International Paper shares, worth about US$56m. 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 International Paper Insiders?

Insiders haven't bought International Paper stock in the last three months, but there was some selling. And even if we look to the last year, we didn't see any purchases. Insiders own shares, but we're still pretty cautious, given the history of sales. So we'd only buy after careful consideration. Of course, the future is what matters most. So if you are interested in International Paper, you should check out this free report on analyst forecasts for the company.

But note: International Paper 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.

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.