Another Huge Walton Trade Highlights Insider Selling: Wal-Mart, Charter Communications, UnitedHealth, Commerce Bancshares and More

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The markets sure took shareholders on a wild ride last week, and one thing that was notably absent was insider selling. While there were trades, and insiders were making some moves, the volume was dwarfed by insider buying, and in a volatile market that is a good sign for long-term investors. With third-quarter earnings only a couple of weeks away, windows for insiders may be starting to close up.

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 sells 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.

Wal-Mart Inc. (NYSE: WMT) had a member of the founding family of the company selling a massive chunk of the stock for the second week in a row. Rob Walton, who is a 10% owner and a director at the retail giant, sold a total of 2.1 million shares of the stock at prices that ranged from $70.57 to $71.97 apiece. The total for the sale was posted at an incredible $150 million. The stock closed trading last Friday at $72.87, so some was definitely left on the table.

Charter Communications Inc.‘s (NASDAQ: CHTR) president sold stock last week. John Bickham parted with a total of 36,825 shares of the media giant at prices between $256.73 and $257.13. The total for the sale was $10 million. The company offers various entertainment, information, and communications solutions to residential and commercial customers. Shares ended the day last Friday at $265.94, so a good chunk was left on the table.

UnitedHealth Group Inc. (NYSE: UNH) had a director at the company selling shares last week. That director sold a block of 40,000 shares at prices that ranged from $134.90 to $135.80 per share. The total for the sale was posted at $5 million. Shares closed on Friday at $138.47, well above the director’s selling price.

Commerce Bancshares Inc. (NASDAQ: CBSH) had a vice chairman parting with stock last week. Some 50,000 shares of the stock were sold at prices that ranged from $50.00 to $50.24. The total for the sale was posted at $3 million. Commerce Bancshares operates as the bank holding company for Commerce Bank. Its stock closed Friday at $48.73 a share, so the timing looks solid.

Paycom Software Inc.‘s (NYSE: PAYC) chief information officer thinned his stake last week. William Kerber sold 55,000 shares at prices between $52.00 and $52.29. That netted him $3 million. Paycom Software provides cloud-based human capital management software solutions for small to mid-sized companies in the United States. The stock closed Friday at $48.56, so some very good timing for this sale.

These companies also reported insider selling last week: Acadia Healthcare Co. Inc. (NASDAQ: ACHC), Argan Inc. (NYSE: AGX), MSCI Inc. (NYSE: MSCI) and United Rentals Inc. (NYSE: URI).

The decidedly lower volume comes on the heels of recent weeks that saw huge selling, and again the slowdown may be related to insider windows shutting for earnings season, However that certainly wasn’t the case with insider buying.