Insights + Resources

Corporate Executive Insider Trading to Watch for

Aug 3, 2020

Buy Sell Stocks Dice
A Look at “insider” trading

To some, the buying and selling of a company’s stock by corporate executive officers and directors can be an indicator of Wall Street sentiment.

In July 2020, the ratio of companies with executive buying compared with executive selling touched 0.27 – the lowest level in nearly 20 years.1

By contrast, the ratio set an 11-year high of 1.75 in March 2020.1

Corporate officers and directors are referred to as “insiders,” so you’ll often see this reported as “insider trading” by the financial press. But it’s critical to know nothing is wrong or illegal with this type of buying and selling.

“Insider” buying can indicate executives are confident in their company’s outlook and believe purchasing stock may be a sound investment decision.

“Insider” selling, on the other hand, can indicate executives want to pursue other opportunities and are choosing to sell some or all of their company stock. Keep in mind that executives have many restrictions on when they can sell or buy shares, including the time before and after a quarterly report, for example.

Investing involves risk, and the return and principal value of investments will fluctuate as market conditions change. Investment opportunities should take into consideration your goals, time horizon, and risk tolerance. When sold, investments may be worth more or less than their original cost. Past performance does not guarantee future results.

To add a little perspective, you can expect more executives to be sellers than buyers over the long term. Executives are often rewarded company stock as part of their overall compensation, so selling shares allows them to realize a portion of their total pay package.

Insider trading activity is one of many indicators that financial professionals watch to get a perspective on the financial markets. This trend can offer some insight but also has limitations. If you see any indicator that piques your interest, give us a call. We’d welcome the chance to hear your perspective.

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