With oil prices soaring and divergent economic readings, Wall Street is in a fickle mood. Corporate insiders are equally indecisive, according...
With oil prices soaring and divergent economic readings, Wall Street is in a fickle mood.
Corporate insiders are equally indecisive, according to data analyzed by InsiderScore. They were very bullish heading into the first-quarter earnings period, but buying has since slowed.
“Insiders are showing a slightly bullish bias right now. We’ve been — over the past five to six weeks — stuck in this same territory. What we’re not seeing is conviction in one direction or another,” says Ben Silverman, InsiderScore’s director of research, noting trading volume has been lighter than usual.
This has been vexing for analysts, who look at the trading patterns of company executives and officers to forecast market activity.
Most Read Business Stories
- 55,000 in Washington state may have to pay back thousands in jobless benefits
- 1 house, 45 offers: Homebuyers in Western Washington hard-pressed as supply remains scarce
- Boeing CEO gave up millions in pay; here's what he and other top execs earned
- Jeff Bezos gets fraction of legal fees from girlfriend’s brother
- Highlights of the $1.9T COVID bill nearing final passage
“Insiders have been very good at calling bottoms, calling tops in the market over the past couple of years,” Silverman says. “We’re looking for them to make a call and they’re unwilling to do so right now. But I think that’s a mirror of the market.”
On a positive note, more companies reported insider buying than selling in 33 of the past 34 weeks, Silverman says.
TrimTabs Investment Research analyst Vincent Deluard also sees little conviction by insiders. “It’s certainly less bullish than it was in March,” Deluard says. “I would say they have accepted the fact that the market is not going to bounce back immediately.”
While InsiderScore analysts are hard-pressed to discern broad trends, they’re encouraged by insider buying in some beaten-down stocks and sectors. For example, Wells Fargo (WFC) Chairman Richard Kovacevich bought more than $1 million in stock June 6. The bank is trading near multiyear lows as it struggles with rising losses on home-equity loans.
“That was an encouraging sign at a company in that sector,” Silverman says.
This month, insiders also bought stock at First Horizon National (FHN), Sterling Financial (STSA) and First State Bancorp (FSNM).