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Exxon Mobil Insiders Sell US$2.5m Of Stock, Possibly Signalling Caution

In the last year, many Exxon Mobil Corporation (NYSE:XOM) insiders sold a substantial stake in the company which may have sparked shareholders' attention. 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, when multiple insiders sell stock over a specific duration, shareholders should take notice as that could possibly be a red flag.

While we would never suggest that investors should base their decisions solely on what the directors of a company have been doing, we do think it is perfectly logical to keep tabs on what insiders are doing.

Check out our latest analysis for Exxon Mobil

The Last 12 Months Of Insider Transactions At Exxon Mobil

In the last twelve months, the biggest single sale by an insider was when the VP, Principal Accounting Officer & Controller, Leonard Fox, sold US$1.3m worth of shares at a price of US$105 per share. That means that an insider was selling shares at slightly below the current price (US$118). When an insider sells below the current price, it suggests that they considered that lower price to be fair. That makes us wonder what they think of the (higher) recent valuation. However, while insider selling is sometimes discouraging, it's only a weak signal. This single sale was just 5.6% of Leonard Fox's stake.

Insiders in Exxon Mobil didn't buy any shares in 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).

Insiders At Exxon Mobil Have Sold Stock Recently

The last quarter saw substantial insider selling of Exxon Mobil shares. In total, insider Darrin Talley dumped US$173k worth of shares in that time, and we didn't record any purchases whatsoever. This may suggest that some insiders think that the shares are not cheap.

Insider Ownership

Many investors like to check how much of a company is owned by insiders. Usually, the higher the insider ownership, the more likely it is that insiders will be incentivised to build the company for the long term. It's great to see that Exxon Mobil insiders own 0.1% of the company, worth about US$474m. I like to see this level of insider ownership, because it increases the chances that management are thinking about the best interests of shareholders.

So What Does This Data Suggest About Exxon Mobil Insiders?

An insider sold Exxon Mobil shares recently, but they didn't buy any. And there weren't any purchases to give us comfort, over the last year. But since Exxon Mobil is profitable and growing, we're not too worried by this. It is good to see high insider ownership, but the insider selling leaves us cautious. 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. To assist with this, we've discovered 1 warning sign that you should run your eye over to get a better picture of Exxon Mobil.

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 of direct interests only, but not derivative transactions or indirect interests.

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.