U.S. Markets closed

Should You Be Worried About Insider Transactions At Varian Medical Systems, Inc. (NYSE:VAR)?

Gavin Beck

Want to participate in a short research study ? Help shape the future of investing tools and you could win a $250 gift card!

We often see insiders buying up shares in companies that perform well over the long term. The flip side of that is that there are more than a few examples of insiders dumping stock prior to a period of weak performance. So before you buy or sell Varian Medical Systems, Inc. ( NYSE:VAR ), you may well want to know whether insiders have been buying or selling.

What Is Insider Buying?

It’s quite normal to see company insiders, such as board members, trading in company stock, from time to time. However, such insiders must disclose their trading activities, and not trade on inside information.

We don’t think shareholders should simply follow insider transactions. But equally, we would consider it foolish to ignore insider transactions altogether. As Peter Lynch said, ‘insiders might sell their shares for any number of reasons, but they buy them for only one: they think the price will rise.’

View our latest analysis for Varian Medical Systems

Varian Medical Systems Insider Transactions Over The Last Year

In the last twelve months, the biggest single sale by an insider was when Independent Director Susan Bostrom sold US$235k worth of shares at a price of US$121 per share. That means that even when the share price was below the current price of US$133, an insider wanted to cash in some shares. Even though it doesn’t necessarily mean anything, that’s certainly not a positive sign, in our book. We generally consider it a negative if insiders have been selling on market, especially if they did so below the current price. Please note, however, that this single sale was just 33.9% of Susan Bostrom’s stake. Susan Bostrom was the only individual insider to sell over the last year.

You can see the insider transactions (by individuals) over the last year depicted in the chart below. If you click on the chart, you can see all the individual transactions, including the share price, individual, and the date!

NYSE:VAR Insider Trading February 5th 19

If you are like me, then you will not want to miss this free list of growing companies that insiders are buying.

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. Usually, the higher the insider ownership, the more likely it is that insiders will be incentivised to build the company for the long term. Varian Medical Systems insiders own about US$33m worth of shares. That equates to 0.3% of the company. While this is a strong but not outstanding level of insider ownership, it’s enough to indicate some alignment between management and smaller shareholders.

What Might The Insider Transactions At Varian Medical Systems Tell Us?

The fact that there have been no Varian Medical Systems insider transactions recently certainly doesn’t bother us. We don’t take much encouragement from the transactions by Varian Medical Systems insiders. The modest level of insider ownership is, at least, some comfort. If you are like me, you may want to think about whether this company will grow or shrink. Luckily, you can check this free report showing analyst forecasts for its future .

But note: Varian Medical Systems may not be the best stock to buy . So take a peek at this free list of interesting companies with high ROE and low debt.

To help readers see past the short term volatility of the financial market, we aim to bring you a long-term focused research analysis purely driven by fundamental data. Note that our analysis does not factor in the latest price-sensitive company announcements.

The author is an independent contributor and at the time of publication had no position in the stocks mentioned. For errors that warrant correction please contact the editor at editorial-team@simplywallst.com .