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Insiders at Morgan Stanley (NYSE:MS) sold US$14m worth of stock, possibly indicating weakness in the future

Many Morgan Stanley (NYSE:MS) insiders ditched their stock over the past year, which may be of interest to the company's shareholders. 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, if numerous insiders are selling, shareholders should investigate more.

While we would never suggest that investors should base their decisions solely on what the directors of a company have been doing, logic dictates you should pay some attention to whether insiders are buying or selling shares.

Check out our latest analysis for Morgan Stanley

The Last 12 Months Of Insider Transactions At Morgan Stanley

The insider, Eric Grossman, made the biggest insider sale in the last 12 months. That single transaction was for US$3.4m worth of shares at a price of US$102 each. While we don't usually like to see insider selling, it's more concerning if the sales take place at a lower price. It's of some comfort that this sale was conducted at a price well above the current share price, which is US$90.91. So it may not tell us anything about how insiders feel about the current share price.

All up, insiders sold more shares in Morgan Stanley than they bought, over the last year. You can see a visual depiction of insider transactions (by companies and individuals) over the last 12 months, below. By clicking on the graph below, you can see the precise details of each insider transaction!

insider-trading-volume
insider-trading-volume

If you like to buy stocks that insiders are buying, rather than selling, then you might just love this free list of companies. (Hint: insiders have been buying them).

Does Morgan Stanley 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. We usually like to see fairly high levels of insider ownership. Morgan Stanley insiders own 0.3% of the company, currently worth about US$401m 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.

What Might The Insider Transactions At Morgan Stanley Tell Us?

The fact that there have been no Morgan Stanley insider transactions recently certainly doesn't bother us. It's heartening that insiders own plenty of stock, but we'd like to see more insider buying, since the last year of Morgan Stanley insider transactions don't fill us with confidence. So these insider transactions can help us build a thesis about the stock, but it's also worthwhile knowing the risks facing this company. For example - Morgan Stanley has 1 warning sign we think you should be aware of.

Of course Morgan Stanley may not be the best stock to buy. So you may wish to see this free collection of high quality companies.

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.

Have feedback on this article? Concerned about the content? Get in touch with us directly. Alternatively, email editorial-team (at) simplywallst.com.

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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