Insider Selling Continues to Accelerate

At Ockham, we continue to be interested insider trading activity as an indicator of sentiment. Of course, we understand that insiders do not know what the future holds more presciently than the rest of us, but we think it is safe to assume that there are few investors more knowledgeable about any particular stock. The trend in insider trading activity suggests that corporate managers believe that their company’s stocks are getting out ahead of themselves.

We have noted the fact that insiders have become increasingly bearish over the last few months, and each time the extent to which the sellers have outnumbered the buyers continues to rise. Today, a press release from TrimTabs Investment Research shows that insiders are selling at a pace not yet seen; insider selling is 30.6x greater than insider buying! This is the highest ratio on record since TrimTabs began tracking this data in 2004. Furthermore, their data reveals that insiders have sold a record $105.2 billion worth of stock in just the last four months.

Thus far, the bearishness of insiders over the last four months has led to some missed gains thanks to the continued rally. However, instead of regaining their faith in this market, insiders are digging in their heals on the bearish side of trades. Readers can come to their own conclusions about the implications of such a strong and defined trend, but the CEO of TrimTabs certainly has an opinion.

“The best-informed market participants are sending a clear signal that the party on Wall Street is going to end soon…

Investors who think the U.S. economy is recovering are going to get a big shock this fall. Companies and corporate insiders are signaling that the economy is in much worse shape than conventional wisdom believes.”– Charles Biderman CEO of TrimTabs Investment Research.

Pace of Insider Sales Continues to Escalate

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Ockham Research is an independent equity research provider based in Atlanta, Georgia. Security analysis at Ockham Research is based upon the principle known as Ockham's Razor, named for the 14th- century Franciscan friar, William of Ockham. The principle states that a useful theory should utilize as few elements as possible, because efficiency is valuable. In this spirit, our goal is to make the investing environment as simple and understandable as possible, yet no simpler than is necessary.

We utilize this straightforward approach to value over 5500 securities, with key emphasis given to the study of individual securities' price-to-sales, price-to-cash earnings and other historical valuation ranges. Our long term value investing methodology is powered by the teachings of Ben Graham and it has proven to be very adept at identifying stock prices that are out of line with fundamental factors.

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