In the last year, many Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) insiders sold a substantial stake in the company which may have sparked shareholders’ attention. When analyzing insider transactions, it is usually more valuable to know whether insiders are buying versus knowing if they are selling, as the latter sends an ambiguous message. However, when multiple insiders sell stock over a specific duration, shareholders should take notice as that could possibly be a red flag.
While insider transactions are not the most important thing when it comes to long-term investing, logic dictates you should pay some attention to whether insiders are buying or selling shares.
Microsoft Insider Transactions Over The Last Year
In the last twelve months, the biggest single sale by an insider was when the Executive VP & CFO, Amy Hood, sold US$20m worth of shares at a price of US$259 per share. That means that an insider was selling shares at around the current price of US$248. While insider selling is a negative, to us, it is more negative if the shares are sold at a lower price. In this case, the big sale took place at around the current price, so it’s not too bad (but it’s still not a positive).
In total, Microsoft insiders sold more than they bought over the last year. The chart below shows insider transactions (by companies and individuals) over the last year. By clicking on the graph below, you can see the precise details of each insider transaction!
I will like Microsoft better if I see some big insider buys. While we wait, check out this free list of growing companies with considerable, recent, insider buying.
Microsoft Insiders Are Selling The Stock
The last three months saw significant insider selling at Microsoft. In total, insiders dumped US$21m worth of shares in that time, and we didn’t record any purchases whatsoever. This may suggest that some insiders think that the shares are not cheap.
I like to look at how many shares insiders own in a company, to help inform my view of how aligned they are with insiders. I reckon it’s a good sign if insiders own a significant number of shares in the company. Microsoft insiders own 0.04% of the company, currently worth about US$799m based on the recent share price. Most shareholders would be happy to see this sort of insider ownership, since it suggests that management incentives are well aligned with other shareholders.
So What Does This Data Suggest About Microsoft Insiders?
Insiders haven’t bought Microsoft stock in the last three months, but there was some selling. And our longer term analysis of insider transactions didn’t bring confidence, either. But since Microsoft is profitable and growing, we’re not too worried by this. The company boasts high insider ownership, but we’re a little hesitant, given the history of share sales. While we like knowing what’s going on with the insider’s ownership and transactions, we make sure to also consider what risks are facing a stock before making any investment decision. While conducting our analysis, we found that Microsoft has 1 warning sign and it would be unwise to ignore this.
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 currently account for open market transactions and private dispositions, but not derivative transactions.
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This article by Simply Wall St is general in nature. We provide commentary based on historical data and analyst forecasts only using an unbiased methodology and our articles are not intended to be financial advice. It does not constitute a recommendation to buy or sell any stock, and does not take account of your objectives, or your financial situation. We aim to bring you long-term focused analysis driven by fundamental data. Note that our analysis may not factor in the latest price-sensitive company announcements or qualitative material. Simply Wall St has no position in any stocks mentioned.
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