Apparently many executives decided to sell shares right before the presidential election. This is not an assumption that anything is wrong in the companies because insiders can sell shares for a myriad of reasons. Some share sales are also just part of a planned sale and many are simply options being exercised.
Still, when you see big sales ahead of big events you have to wonder. Perhaps these insiders decided that stocks could only go further down after the election. Who knows for sure. Here are some of the big share sales we have seen from corporate insiders that came in the days immediately before the election. As a reminder, many insiders expect that the 15% capital gains tax is not going to be in effect even if a grand bargain is reached over the coming fiscal cliff.
Affiliated Managers Group Inc. (NYSE: AMG) saw director William Nutt exercise options and turn around sell 275,000 shares for gross proceeds of more than $35 million, versus a cost basis of about $15 million. Those sales were on November 5 and 6.
AFLAC Inc. (NYSE: AFL) Chairman Daniel Amos sold some 50,000 shares at $52.27 on November 6 for gross proceeds of more than $2.6 million.
Cracker Barrel Old Country Store Inc. (NASDAQ: CBRL) saw director Michael Woodhouse sell 21,318 shares at $65.19 for almost $1.4 million in gross proceeds on November 6. He also sold shares the day after the election for almost another $800,000 in gross proceeds.
Crown Castle International Corp. (NYSE: CCI) saw Senior V.P. Philip Kelley sell some 22,000 shares at $67.21 for gross proceeds of almost $1.5 million on November 6.
Eaton Corp. (NYSE: ETN) saw its general counsel named Mark McGuire sell some 40,000 shares at $50.50 to raise just over $2 million in gross proceeds on November 6.
Expedia Inc. (NASDAQ: EXPE) saw its CEO Dara Khosrowshahi exercise 25,000 options at $6.97 and then sell the shares at $60.37 on November 6. Gross proceeds were more than $1.5 million.
Google Inc. (NASDAQ: GOOG) is routinely on the insider share sale list, so we would not be looking for a smoking gun here. Still, co-founder Sergey Brin sold more than 83,000 shares for gross proceeds of more than $56.8 million. Director John Doerr sold about $5 million worth of shares on November 5. In the past two weeks, Chairman Eric Schmidt raised more than $100 million in shares, but Schmidt is a constant seller under share sale plan.
Kohl’s Corp. (NYSE: KSS) saw a whopper of a share sale on Novbember 6. A director named William Kellogg sold more than 585,000 shares at $55.00 for gross proceeds of more than $32.2 million. Another director also sold shares to raise some $537,000 in gross proceeds. Keep in mind that this was before tepid guidance as well.
Krispy Kreme Doughnuts Inc. (NYSE: KKD) saw its key owner sell more than hundreds of thousands of shares in many blocks from November 1 to November 5, but he is more than a 10% owner per SEC regs.
NetSuite Inc. (NYSE: N) saw its CTO and Chairman Evan Goldberg exercise 20,000 options at $1.50 per share, and then sell the 20,000 shares at $62.42, for a total of almost $1.25 million. That sale was on November 5. A director named Deborah Farrington also sold 4,000 shares for total gross proceeds of almost $250,000.
Pentair Ltd. (NYSE: PNR) saw multiple insiders sell shares on November 5 and 6 for gross proceeds of roughly $10 million.
Raymond James Financial Inc. (NYSE: RJF) saw Chairman Thomas James sell some 90,000 shares at $39.60 on November 6, for gross proceeds of $3.56 million.
Red Hat Inc. (NYSE: RHT) saw CEO James Whitehurst sell 100,000 shares for $49.97 per share (VWAP of course) for $4.99 million in gross proceeds on November 5.
Riverbed Technology Inc. (NASDAQ: RVBD) saw President Eric Wolford exercise almost 25,000 options and then sell almost 75,000 shares for a VWAP of $18.93 on November 5. His sale brought in gross proceeds of more than $1.4 million.
Seagate Technology PLC (NASDAQ: STX) saw its CFO and its chairman sell more than $1 million worth of shares combined between the two of those officers on November 5.
Sirius XM Radio Inc. (NASDAQ: SIRI) saw massive insider selling. Mel Karmazin’s ouster (retirement) may be impacting it. CEO Karmazin sold 8.5 million shares between November 5 and 6 for gross proceeds of more than $24 million.
Visa Inc. (NYSE: V) saw numerous options exercised but William Sheedy, its president of the Americas region. He sold 10,000 shares for gross proceeds of more than $1.43 million on November 6. Other insiders exercised options and presumably sold even more shares.
YUM! Brands Inc. (NYSE: YUM) saw Scott Bergen exercise options at $22.53 and sell 24,400 shares at $73.07 on November 6. The sale was for $1.782 million and that netted out capital gains of more than $1.2 million. Chief Content Officer Scott Greenstein also raised close to $20 million in gross share sales after exercising options. Other big share sales were noted by insiders as well on November 5 and 6.
These are not at all the total number of shares sold in the day of and the day before the election. Many of the filings will not come in until later today as insiders have two days to submit their share sales.
JON C. OGG