You are currently browsing the tag archive for the ‘Directors selling’ tag.

On October 31st we noticed a significant jump in the ratio of companies in the FTSE 350 index exhibiting share purchases by directors.

Companies in the index which exhibited net Purchases by directors (cumulative gbp50k+ in the month) vs Sales had moved from evens to as high as 10:1.  (See October 31st post: Directors ARE buying shares- Buys outnumber Sells 10:1).

Since October 31st the FTSE 350 index is up 21.5%.

Companies featuring on the followthedirectors ‘STRONG’ signal list as at October 30 2008 have outperformed their relevant stock market indices by over 10% over the period.

Over the subsequent months, the ratio of directors buys versus sells has dropped as follows:

Month            ratio of Buys to Sells in FTSE 350 index

October:               10 : 1

November       2.75: 1

December           1.3: 1

January              1.15: 1

March                  1.0: 1

April                    0.56:1

I’m not too surprised by the falls in directors share purchases,  but the latest data point showing Sells outnumbering Buys by almost 2:1 sends a clear signal, and a bit of a shiver up the spine: Directors think shares are expensive.

If we analyse directors dealings by market segment, then we find that in the FTSE 100 stocks, sells in April outnumber buys by 12:8. yet in the FTSE Small Cap index, directors appear still to be buying, with buys outnumbering sells by 5:1. This ratio hasn’t changed since October, when the ratio was similar. It jumped to 7:1 in November.

The last time we saw Buys below Sells was for the month of June 2007, when the ratio dropped from evens in May to 0.8 in June. Wasn’t that the month the stock market peaked?

We all love to see a stock market recovering, but I personally am taking some money out, and looking for signals when directors start buying again.

‘Sell in May and Go Away’? Read John Mauldins thoughts on http://www.frontlinethoughts.com/index.asp. He analyses May to October share market performance in secular bear markets. Not a pretty picture.

See also The Pragmatic Capitalist: ‘Insider Buying non existent’ [good chart here].

Forbes suggest in ‘When Insiders Sell‘ that we shouldn’t worry too much about the spike in Insider selling, that it could be down to Directors being ‘too leveraged’. [hat tip to FT Alphaville]

For our previous views on the Market, please click on the ‘Market Musings’ tab to the left of this post, or here. This is where you will find the following posts:

April 2nd: Non execs make better investors- by far.

February 4th: Directors buying interest falls away in a sideways market.

December 16th: Directors buying waned in November

October 31st: Directors ARE buying shares- Buys outnumber Sells 10:1

Source: The excellent website ‘www.Digitallook.com‘ is the source of information for the Directors Dealings Buy/Sell ratios given above.

See also Ockham Research : “Insiders are selling into the rally” (April 24th)

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Carnival Cruise Lines (CCL, 1420p) are being squeezed.

‘The average passenger’s age is 45+’ (http://cruises.about.com), and those potential customers of Carnival are being squeezed in their spending power by falling interest rates, falling pension and savings valuations, and other pressures on them such as highlighted in Saturdays Telegraph:

“A Daily Telegraph survey – the first of its kind since the recession began – highlights the heavy toll being taken on Britain’s so-called “Babygloomers”.

Almost one in ten adults are having to contribute to their parents’ upkeep, the research found. The Norwich Union research suggests more than 1.3 million adults aged between 17 and 65 are paying their parents more than £250 each month, with some paying up to £1,000.

Many pensioners have found themselves struggling as their income from savings has virtually disappeared following the drop in interest rates. As a result, they have been forced to turn to their children for help” (Telegraph.co.uk February 14th 2009).

Carnival directors Howard Frank and Robert Dickinson were sellers back in June and August last year, raising over $4 million between them through share sales.

Peter Ratcliff, the former CEO of Princess Cruises Intl, on Febraury 2nd sold 12,567 shares at 1245p, raising over GBP 150k.

The stock since August has performed in line with the market, in my view rescued by falling oil prices. I can imagine that booking a cruise has a long lead time, so any bad news on Carnival is likely to appear later in the consumer cycle rather than sooner.

Carnival cut their dividend in November, saving over $1bn a year.

I continue with my negative view on the shares, with a ‘STRONG’ signal from directors share sales.

For all posts on Carnival click here.

Back in October last year, as the FTSE 100 collapsed by 20% in a week, UK company directors stepped in and bought shares, with buys outnumbering sells by 5:1*.

In the months since then, buying has fallen away, to 2.75:1 in November*, slumping to 1.3:1 in December* and in the latest month, January, buys outnumbered sells by only 1.15:1*.

The 5:1 ratio seen in October matches an exact same ratio for December 2002, only months before the market rallied strongly, and is similar in scale to August 2002’s 4:1 ratio.

What to do? Look for buying opportunities. You are highly likely to see directors step in strongly as buyers if/when we see another significant setback in the market.

For all our earlier market related thoughts on followthedirectors see Market Musings.

*source: Digitallook.com

On October 14th I posted the following article ‘Are directors buying shares?’, prompted by your questions.

‘As at October 10th the number of companies in the FTSE 350 indicating net directors dealings over GBP 50k over the period I asked for (1, 3 and 12 months) were as follows:
1 month to October 10 2008:
26 companies showed net selling over a cumulative GBP 50k, and 32 companies showed net buying.
3 months to October 10th 2008:
58 companies showed net selling, and 54 companies net buying
12 months to October 10th 2008:
144 companies showed net selling, and 130 companies net buying.’

 

I’ve just run the Digitallook screen again, and find that over the past month, to today, companies in the FTSE 350 which exhibit cumulative director share dealing activity greater than GBP 50k are as follows:

6 companies show net selling, and 59 companies show net buying.

Over the past week, the screen shows 3 companies showing net selling, and 18 companies showing net buying.

This indicates that Buyers outnumber Sellers by between 6:1 and 10:1.

A very powerful signal that company directors think shares are cheap.

I guess valuation has something to do with it. The FTSE 100 is roughly 10% lower, and the FTSE 250 very roughly 20% lower over the one month period (compared to the one month to October 10th). Anecdotally most of the buying activity has occurred in FTSE 250 stocks.

For followthedirectors comments on companies exhibiting director buying activity click here (This is not a comprehensive list, but companies that we believe warrant comment).

For other general market commentary see Market Musings here.

For the excellent Digitallook screening tool go to Digitallook.com

[See also May 4 post: ‘Directors share sales outnumber buys- Is the market expensive?’]

[See also subsequent post on October 31st: ‘ Directors ARE buying shares. Buys vs Sells 10:1’]

A question many of you have is whether directors are currently buying shares, and presumably does that indicate a turning point in the market?

The straight answer is ‘no more than usual’.

If you use digitallooks excellent visual tools facility, you can ask them to show you the number of directors buying or selling over a certain period.

As at last Friday, the number of companies in the FTSE 350 indicating net directors dealings over GBP 50k over the period I asked for (1, 3 and 12 months) were as follows:

1 month to October 10 2008:

26 companies showed net selling over a cumulative GBP 50k, and 32 companies showed net buying.

3 months to October 10th 2008:

58 companies showed net selling, and 54 companies net buying

12 months to October 10th 2008:

144 companies showed net selling, and 130 companies net buying.

I’ve just today run the analysis for the last seven days (to October 13th) and it shows

4 companies showing net selling, and 9 companies showing net buying.

I believe that this is not statistically significant due to the short period and the low number of companies exhibiting activity. Please also bear in mind that digitallook uses data as announced by the stock exchange, which will include the receipt by directors of scrip dividends, share options, and Incentive Plan subscriptions.

In followthedirectors research I exclude all Incentive Plan and dividend receipts, and any sales that are made to pay tax on options exercised. I aim to look at shares sold to receive cash, or shares bought with cash.

For a list of directors dealing activity use the category criteria on the top left of this page, or click on the following: Directors Buys, Directors Sales.

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