CenturyLink Inc. (NYSE: CTL) has not had the best start for 2019, and in some ways its shareholders might not even know that the market had been rallying strongly ahead of this week’s selling. There is a saying that nothing lasts forever, and that is what CenturyLink’s management may be trying to communicate.
Corporate insiders may sell shares for a variety of reasons. They may need to diversify or to buy a home. But when insiders buy their own shares, it is generally believed that they feel the stock is either undervalued or that there is a better underlying story than the investing public knows anything about.
CenturyLink shares have been weak in 2019, with a most recent drop in March after seeing material weakness in its accounting. After closing out 2018 at $15.15, CenturyLink shares had traded down to $11.56 as of Wednesday’s close.
Form 4 filings with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) show two insider purchases that have caught the eyes of the investing community. One was from the chief executive officer and another was from the chief financial officer.
President and CEO Jeffrey Storey bought 83,000 shares at $11.94 apiece on March 6, 2019. That is a value of $991,261, and he now holds 3,476,359 shares.
CFO Indraneel Dev purchased some 50,000 shares at $11.75 apiece. This was a $587,500 transaction, and Dev owns 459,153 shares on last look.
Several things may be contributing to the purchases and to the reaction in the shares. Note that both of these people are relatively recent additions to the CenturyLink management team. The shares also recently hit two-decade lows and were trading down 50% from just last August. Also worth noting, which may be contributing to at least some of the gain, is that the latest available data showed 104 million shares sold short.
Investors are looking at this news as a positive, with CenturyLink shares up 4.5% at $12.08 on Thursday, in a 52-week range of $11.52 to $24.20.