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Possible bearish signals as Morgan Stanley (NYSE:MS) insiders disposed of US$14m worth of stock

Over the past year, many Morgan Stanley (NYSE:MS) insiders sold a significant stake in the company which may have piqued investors' interest. When evaluating insider transactions, knowing whether insiders are buying versus if they selling is usually more beneficial, as the latter can be open to many interpretations. However, shareholders should take a deeper look if several insiders are selling stock over a specific time period.

While insider transactions are not the most important thing when it comes to long-term investing, logic dictates you should pay some attention to whether insiders are buying or selling shares.

Check out our latest analysis for Morgan Stanley

Morgan Stanley Insider Transactions Over The Last Year

In the last twelve months, the biggest single sale by an insider was when the insider, Eric Grossman, sold US$3.4m worth of shares at a price of US$102 per share. While insider selling is a negative, to us, it is more negative if the shares are sold 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$92.10. So it may not shed much light on insider confidence at current levels.

All up, insiders sold more shares in Morgan Stanley than they bought, over the last year. The chart below shows insider transactions (by companies and individuals) over the last year. If you click on the chart, you can see all the individual transactions, including the share price, individual, and the date!

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?

I like to look at how many shares insiders own in a company, to help inform my view of how aligned they are with insiders. We usually like to see fairly high levels of insider ownership. Morgan Stanley insiders own about US$413m worth of shares (which is 0.3% of the company). 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?

It doesn't really mean much that no insider has traded Morgan Stanley shares in the last quarter. 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. While we like knowing what's going on with the insider's ownership and transactions, we make sure to also consider what risks are facing a stock before making any investment decision. At Simply Wall St, we found 1 warning sign for Morgan Stanley that deserve your attention before buying any shares.

Of course, you might find a fantastic investment by looking elsewhere. So take a peek at this free list of interesting 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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