We've lost count of how many times insiders have accumulated shares in a company that goes on to improve markedly. The flip side of that is that there are more than a few examples of insiders dumping stock prior to a period of weak performance. So before you buy or sell Okta, Inc. (NASDAQ:OKTA), you may well want to know whether insiders have been buying or selling.
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, such insiders must disclose their trading activities, and not trade on inside information.
We would never suggest that investors should base their decisions solely on what the directors of a company have been doing. But logic dictates you should pay some attention to whether insiders are buying or selling shares. For example, a Harvard University study found that 'insider purchases earn abnormal returns of more than 6% per year.'
The Last 12 Months Of Insider Transactions At Okta
Over the last year, we can see that the biggest insider sale was by the Co-Founder, Jacques Kerrest, for US$127k worth of shares, at about US$80.93 per share. So it's clear an insider wanted to take some cash off the table, even below the current price of US$95.51. 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. We note that the biggest single sale was only 14% of Jacques Kerrest's holding. The only individual insider seller over the last year was Jacques Kerrest.
You can see the insider transactions (by individuals) over the last year depicted in the chart below. If you click on the chart, you can see all the individual transactions, including the share price, individual, and the date!
I will like Okta better if I see some big insider buys. While we wait, check out this free list of growing companies with considerable, recent, insider buying.
Does Okta Boast High 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. It's great to see that Okta insiders own 9.0% of the company, worth about US$962m. 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 Do The Okta 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. The company boasts high insider ownership, but we're a little hesitant, given the history of share sales. Of course, the future is what matters most. So if you are interested in Okta, you should check out this free report on analyst forecasts for the company.
But note: Okta may not be the best stock to buy. So take a peek at this free list of interesting companies with high ROE and low debt.
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