Insiders Selling

Pay Attention to This Group of Investors (They Know More)
The stock market actions of corporate insiders is revealing

It stands to reason that executives of a corporation know more about the goings-on of their business than outsiders.

So, it’s wise to pay attention to their stock market actions regarding their own shares.

Yes, the stock market has been rising. As I write, the Dow Industrials is up for the eighth day in a row.

However, trends can turn on a dime, and if the action of insiders is a clue, that turn may be arriving sooner than many stock market participants anticipate.

Here are just a few Yahoo! Finance headlines from the past few weeks:

  • American Express Insiders Sold US$9.9m Of Shares Suggesting Hesitancy (July 17)
  • Possible Bearish Signals with Lockheed Martin Insiders Disposing Stock (July 12)
  • International Business Machines Insiders Sell US$5.6m Of Stock, Possibly Signaling Caution (July 4)

These are by no means all the corporations where insiders have been selling company shares. I just picked out three well-known names as examples.

The July Elliott Wave Financial Forecast, a monthly publication which covers major U.S. financial markets, discussed corporate insider selling and said:

Insiders may sell for various reasons, but one of them isn’t that they believe their firm’s share price is going higher.

That doesn’t mean that insiders are always right or that their market timing is perfect, but as the July Elliott Wave Financial Forecast also notes, it’s best not to ignore the actions of insiders. The publication also showed this chart and added:

There is one group of investors that is selling shares: insiders. … When insider block sales surged in the early months of [a big down wave], the August 2000 Elliott Wave Financial Forecast noted, “Insiders want out.” As the bear market of 2000-2009 illustrated, when insiders sell, it’s best not to pooh-pooh their stance.

In addition to the Insider Transaction Ratio, also pay close attention to the stock market’s Elliott wave structure.

If you’re unfamiliar with Elliott wave analysis, or simply need a refresher, here’s a quote from the Wall Street classic book, Elliott Wave Principle: Key to Market Behavior, by Frost & Prechter:

The primary value of the Wave Principle is that it provides a context for market analysis. This context provides both a basis for disciplined thinking and a perspective on the market’s general position and outlook. At times, its accuracy in identifying, and even anticipating, changes in direction is almost unbelievable.

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