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Should You Be Worried About Insider Transactions At W. R. Berkley Corporation (NYSE:WRB)?

Simply Wall St

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It is not uncommon to see companies perform well in the years after insiders buy shares. 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 W. R. Berkley Corporation (NYSE:WRB).

Do Insider Transactions Matter?

It's quite normal to see company insiders, such as board members, trading in company stock, from time to time. However, rules govern insider transactions, and certain disclosures are required.

We would never suggest that investors should base their decisions solely on what the directors of a company have been doing. 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.'

View our latest analysis for W. R. Berkley

The Last 12 Months Of Insider Transactions At W. R. Berkley

The Director, Mark Brockbank, made the biggest insider sale in the last 12 months. That single transaction was for US$5.1m worth of shares at a price of US$66.61 each. So it's clear an insider wanted to take some cash off the table, even slightly below the current price of US$67.35. As a general rule we consider it to be discouraging when insiders are selling below the current price, because it suggests they were happy with a lower valuation. However, while insider selling is sometimes discouraging, it's only a weak signal. This single sale was just 8.1% of Mark Brockbank's stake. Mark Brockbank was the only individual insider to sell shares in the last twelve months.

You can see the insider transactions (by individuals) over the last year depicted in the chart below. By clicking on the graph below, you can see the precise details of each insider transaction!

NYSE:WRB Recent Insider Trading, July 4th 2019

I will like W. R. Berkley better if I see some big insider buys. While we wait, check out this free list of growing companies with considerable, recent, insider buying.

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. I reckon it's a good sign if insiders own a significant number of shares in the company. W. R. Berkley insiders own 21% of the company, currently worth about US$2.5b based on the recent share price. 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 Do The W. R. Berkley Insider Transactions Indicate?

An insider sold stock recently, but they haven't been buying. Looking to the last twelve months, our data doesn't show any insider buying. But since W. R. Berkley is profitable and growing, we're not too worried by this. It is good to see high insider ownership, but the insider selling leaves us cautious. 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 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.