Massive Energy and Mega Cap Tech Trades Highlight Insider Selling: Parsley Energy, Microsoft, Apple, IBM, McDonald’s and More

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With the markets hitting all-time highs last week, it was not the least bit surprising for us here at 24/7 Wall St. to see insiders selling shares. The interesting thing is while volume was a touch higher than usual, there was hardly an overwhelming skew to the selling side. In addition, much of the selling we saw was in companies that have had at least a fairly decent run over the course of this year. So again, no big surprises.

We cover insider selling every week at 24/7 Wall St., and we like to remind readers that just because an individual or 10% institutional owner is selling stock, that is no cause for immediate alarm. Many top executives, and even directors, are compensated with stock and often sell just to diversify or purchase other assets.

Here are companies that reported notable insider selling last week.

Parsley Energy

Parsley Energy Inc. (NYSE: PE) has been on a roll this year and a director who is also a 10% owner of the company was selling a ton of shares this past week. That director parted with a total of 1,100,000 shares of the stock at $32.15 apiece. The total for the trade was posted at a gigantic $36 million.

This independent oil and natural gas company engages in the acquisition, development, production, exploration and sale of crude oil and natural gas properties in the Permian Basin of West Texas and Southeastern New Mexico. The stock closed on Friday at $33.85, so a fair amount was left on the table.

Microsoft

The chief financial officer of software giant Microsoft Corp. (NASDAQ: MSFT) was selling stock this past week. Amy Hood sold a total of 120,000 shares of the stock at prices that fell between $57.82 and $57.91 The total for her sale was posted at $7 million. The stock closed on Friday at $57.94.

Note that Microsoft also hit our insider selling screen two weeks again when a director unloaded some 18 million shares.

Apple

Another huge tech company that reported insider selling was iPhone maker Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL). A senior vice president at the company shed a total of 23,305 shares of the stock at prices that ranged from $107.43 to $107.53. The total for the trade was posted at $3 million. The stock closed last Friday at $108.18, so again, some left out there.

A 24/7 Wall St. analysis posted this past week posited that Apple was one of a handful of stocks that could push the Dow Jones Industrial Average above 20,000.

IBM

Yet another mega-tech giant, International Business Machines Inc. (NYSE: IBM) had an insider selling stock last week. A senior vice president at the company sold a total of 15,708 shares of the stock at prices that ranged from $162.19 to $162.31. The total for the sale was listed at $3 million. Shares closed Friday at $161.95.

Like Apple, IBM could help the Dow Jones Industrial Average rise above 20,000. It is also one of 10 Merrill Lynch Equity Income picks for safe dividend yield.

McDonald’s

The chairman emeritus at fast-food giant McDonald’s Inc. (NYSE: MCD) parted with some of its shares last week. He sold a total of 46,487 shares of the stock at prices that ranged from $118.14 to $118.30. The total for the sale was posted at $6 million.

McDonald’s shares closed the day on Friday at $119.52. Here too, some cash left on the proverbial table. This stock is another of Merrill Lynch’s 10 Equity Income picks.

And Others

These companies also reported insider selling last week: Antero Resources Corp. (NYSE: AR), GrubHub Inc. (NYSE: GRUB), Hecla Mining Co. (NYSE: HL), KCG Holdings Inc. (NYSE: KGC) and Take Two Interactive Software Inc. (NASDAQ: TTWO).

While the selling was steady, it was nothing that resembled anything other than normal selling. With the markets trading at all-time highs investors can expect more of the same, but nothing is out of the ordinary at this juncture.