At Bloomberg, Lu Wang explains why some industry insiders are selling stocks. Wang writes:
Corporate insiders, whose buying correctly signaled the bottom in March, are now mostly sellers. Almost 1,000 corporate executives and officers have unloaded shares of their own companies this month, outpacing insider buyers by a ratio of 5-to-1, data compiled by the Washington Service showed. Only twice in the past three decades has the sell-buy ratio been higher than now.
Data from InsiderInsights.com showed a similar trend. Over the past four weeks, companies with insider selling have outnumbered those with buying by 186%, approaching the 200% level that has tended to mark short-term market tops in the past decade, according to Jonathan Moreland, the firm’s director of research.
The pickup comes after stocks rebounded from the bear-market selloff, lifting the S&P 500 more than 45% from its March low. Now, with tech stocks at all-time highs even as a pandemic and recession rage, some executives are lightening up.
While some analysts have warned against reading too much into insider sales because factors other than valuations can influence the action, a similar spike this year and in 2018 foreshadowed equity losses.
“Our indicator is now flashing a warning sign,” Moreland said. “I’m not prepared to say everybody should sell everything and short the market because of the recent insider data. The way I’m using it is, I’m more comfortable selling some of my winners. We still don’t trust the market’s recent recovery.”
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