Massive T. Boone Pickens Trade Highlights Insider Selling: Clean Energy Fuels, Applied Materials, Tenneco, Cooper-Standard, CST Brands and More

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In what can often be a turbulent month for the stock markets, the insiders selling stock took a break from their frenetic pace of August. While the volume was lower, the continued market strength was able to lure some to the sell desk, even as the window for selling may start to get shorter as we are just a few weeks away from companies reporting third-quarter results.

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 portfolios or purchase other assets.

Here are companies that reported notable insider selling last week.

Clean Energy Fuels Corp. (NASDAQ: CLNE) had an industry legend selling shares this past week. T. Boone Pickens, who is a director and a 10% holder, sold some 1.5 million shares of the stock at prices that ranged from $4.28 to $4.79. The total for the sale was posted at $7 million. The company provides natural gas as an alternative fuel for vehicle fleets in the United States and Canada. The stock closed the day last Friday at $4.47.

Applied Materials Inc. (NASDAQ: AMAT) had a top executive selling shares last week. The chief technology officer at the chip equipment giant parted with a total of 99,491 shares of the stock at prices that fell between $30.15 and $30.16 apiece. The total for the sale was posted at $3 million. The shares were changing hands at $28.86 as last Friday’s trading came to a close, so the timing looks good.

Tenneco Inc. (NYSE: TEN) had an executive vice president at the firm selling stock. That executive sold a total of 35,872 shares at prices that ranged from $55.17 to $55.77. The total for the sale came in at $2 million. The company designs, manufactures and sells clean air and ride performance products and systems for light vehicle, commercial truck, off-highway and other vehicle applications worldwide. The stock closed on Friday at $54.24.

Cooper-Standard Holdings Inc. (NYSE: CPS) had a 10% owner of the company shedding shares last week. Oak Hill Capital sold a total of 192,688 shares at prices that ranged from $99.20 to $101.62. The total for the sale was a whopping $19 million. The company through its subsidiary, Cooper-Standard Automotive, designs, manufactures and sells sealing, fuel and brake delivery, fluid transfer and anti-vibration systems. The stock closed Friday at $97.91.

CST Brands Inc. (NYSE: CST) had a director at the independent retailer of motor fuel, heating oil and convenience merchandise items selling stock last week. That director sold a 100,000 share block at prices between $47.95 and $47.97. The total for the trade was set at $5 million. The company operates in the United States and eastern Canada. The shares closed trading on Friday at $47.71.

These companies also reported insider selling last week: Axis Capital Holdings Inc. (NYSE: AXS), Brightcove Inc. (NASDAQ: BCOV), Crown Castle International Corp. (NYSE: CCI), Five9 Inc. (NASDAQ: FINV) and Fleetcor Technologies Inc. (NYSE: FLT).

Despite the lower volume, the sellers were present, but not with the kind of huge sales we saw a month ago. Plus, the sales we are seeing are in companies that appear to be doing well, and the sales seem to be normal diversification and profit taking related.