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Should You Be Worried About Insider Transactions At Neogen Corporation (NASDAQ:NEOG)?

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. Unfortunately, there are also plenty of examples of share prices declining precipitously after insiders have sold shares. So before you buy or sell Neogen Corporation (NASDAQ:NEOG), you may well want to know whether insiders have been buying or selling.

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, 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.'

See our latest analysis for Neogen

The Last 12 Months Of Insider Transactions At Neogen

In the last twelve months, the biggest single sale by an insider was when the Executive Chairman, James Herbert, sold US$3.2m worth of shares at a price of US$83.52 per share. While we don't usually like to see insider selling, it's more concerning if the sales take price at a lower price. The silver lining is that this sell-down took place above the latest price (US$60.31). So it is hard to draw any strong conclusion from it.

Over the last year, we can see that insiders have bought 4800 shares worth US$353k. But they sold 407k for US$29m. In total, Neogen insiders sold more than they bought 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!

NasdaqGS:NEOG Recent Insider Trading, April 30th 2019

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

Neogen Insiders Are Selling The Stock

The last quarter saw substantial insider selling of Neogen shares. In total, insiders sold US$6.2m 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. A high insider ownership often makes company leadership more mindful of shareholder interests. It appears that Neogen insiders own 2.2% of the company, worth about US$70m. 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 Neogen Insider Transactions Indicate?

Insiders haven't bought Neogen stock in the last three months, but there was some selling. Zooming out, the longer term picture doesn't give us much comfort. On the plus side, Neogen makes money, and is growing profits. Insider ownership isn't particularly high, so this analysis makes us cautious about the company. We'd think twice before buying! Of course, the future is what matters most. So if you are interested in Neogen, you should check out this free report on analyst forecasts for the company.

But note: Neogen 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.

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.