The main difference between informative and uninformative transactions is that informative ones reflect sentiment, so they are worth paying attention to.
Corporate insiders are often awarded stock options as part of their compensation packages; this gives them the right to buy shares at a set price for a finite period. When an insider buys stocks because they are receiving a grant of shares for retention purposes, the Buy does not reveal what they think about the company’s prospects. Therefore, this type of transaction is considered an uninformative Buy transaction. It does not reflect sentiment and is of little value to investors.
On the other hand, there is usually only one reason that an insider uses their personal funds to buy stocks of their company on the open market: they believe that the share price is going to rise. This is an informative transaction that provides valuable information to investors.
Likewise, there are informative and uninformative Sell transactions, too. However, it can be more difficult to understand motive when it comes to informative Sell transactions, as they may reflect need; for example, an insider might decide to sell to pay for a new car, rather than because they have a pessimistic outlook on the stock.
By law, corporate insiders are required to disclose trades they make in their own company to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). Our technology scans these the Form 4 filings, and using the information on the form, determines whether the Buy or Sell transactions are informative or uninformative.