Lots of Insiders Are Selling Apple, Facebook, Activision Blizzard and More

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With the markets still at all-time highs last week, it was not at all surprising for us here at 24/7 Wall St. to see insiders selling shares. The interesting thing is that while volume may have been higher than usual, there was hardly an overwhelming skew to the selling side.

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.

Activision Blizzard

Activision Blizzard Inc. (NASDAQ: ATVI) posted strong quarterly results earlier in the month, and last week the CEO, the chief operating officer and a director decided to shed some shares. Altogether they parted with more than 21 million shares of the stock at prices that ranged from $39.63 to $41.83 apiece. The total for the trades was a gigantic $873 million.

Note that one director bucked the trend and bought some shares of the video game publisher last week. The stock ended Friday’s trading at $39.98 a share.

Facebook

The big daddy of social media also reported a lot of insider selling in the past week. The chief financial officer, chief operating officer, chief technology officer and others at Facebook Inc. (NASDAQ: FB) gave up a total of more than 1.4 million shares of the stock at prices that ranged from $123.47 to $124.12. All together that was worth more than $179 million.

Note that Facebook remained a favorite of hedge funds in the second quarter. And the stock closed most recently at $123.56 a share.

Spark Therapeutics

Philadelphia-based biotech outfit Spark Therapeutics Inc. (NASDAQ: ONCE) saw director Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia shed a million shares, while the CEO and one other insider sold 10,000 shares apiece. At prices that ranged from $60.90 to $62.76, the total for the sales came to more than $62 million.

These transactions followed in the wake of a reported net loss for the second quarter. Shares closed Friday at $57.25 apiece, so the sales appear to be well timed.

World Wrestling Entertainment

World Wrestling Entertainment Inc. (NYSE: WWE) CEO Vince McMahon reduced his stake last week. He sold more than 1.5 million shares of the stock at $19.32 apiece. That netted him almost $30 million, which McMahon reportedly will use for estate planning purposes.

This integrated media and entertainment company posted mixed quarterly results back in July. Its shares closed the day on Friday at $20.93, so some cash was left on the proverbial table.

Apple

The chief financial officer and three other senior vice presidents sold shares of iPhone maker Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL) stock this past week. At share prices that ranged from $108.93 to $110.11, those almost 130,000 shares sold were worth some $14 million.

Note that hedge funds dumped Apple in the second quarter, but Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway increased its stake. The stock ended last week at $109.36, up marginally for the week.

And Others

These companies also reported insider selling last week: Honeywell International Inc. (NYSE: HON), Kellogg Co. (NYSE: K), Tyson Foods Inc. (NYSE: TSN), VWR Corp. (NASDAQ: VWR) and Waters Corp. (NYSE: WAT).

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