Massive Tech and Energy Trades Highlight Insider Selling: Facebook, Oasis Petroleum, Western Gas Partners, Red Hat and More

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With the election just a month away and earnings for the third-quarter starting next week, as expected the windows for insiders to buy and sell stock are starting to close fast. That didn’t stop some very big players from making some sizable trades this past week. It’s entirely possible that most of October will continue to have tepid volumes, but that will all change once we hit November.

We cover insider selling every week at 24/7 Wall St., and we like to remind our 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.


Facebook Inc. (NASDAQ: FB) is again the insider selling leader for last week as a director at the company, Jan Koum, sold a gigantic block of the social media giant’s shares for the third time in the past month. Koum is an internet entrepreneur and computer programmer, as well as the CEO and co-founder of WhatsApp, a mobile messaging application that was acquired by Facebook in February 2014 for $19 billion. Koum sold 566,668 shares of the stock at $128.22 per share. The total for the sale was posted at a huge $72.6 million.

In addition, David Fischer, who is the vice president of marketing, sold 35,000 shares of stock at prices that ranged from $128.38 to $129.18. The total for his sale was $4,507,300. Facebook closed Friday at $128.99 per share.

Oasis Petroleum

Oasis Petroleum Inc. (NYSE: OAS) also had a big seller this past week. SPO Advisory, a 10% owner, sold a total of 2,975,700 shares of the stock at prices between $11.41 and $11.65. The total for this sale was logged at $34.4 million.

This independent exploration and production company focuses on the acquisition and development of unconventional oil and natural gas resources in the North Dakota and Montana regions of the Williston Basin. Its principal projects are located in West Williston and East Nesson. Its shares closed Friday at $11.32.

Western Gas Partners

Somebody from the board of Western Gas Partners L.P. (NYSE: WES) was selling stock last week. A director at the company parted with a total of 96,862 shares at prices that ranged from $55.00 to $55.70. The total for the sale was posted at $5 million.

Western Gas Partners acquires, develops, owns and operates midstream energy assets in the Rocky Mountains, the Mid-Continent, North-central Pennsylvania and Texas. It is involved in gathering, processing, compressing, treating, and transporting natural gas, condensate, natural gas liquids and crude oil. The stock ended the week at $54.62.

Red Hat

Two directors and an executive vice president at tech giant Red Hat Inc. (NYSE: RHT) were selling stock last week. The trio sold a total of 42,500 shares at prices that ranged from $80.35 to $80.71 apiece. The total for the sale was posted at $4 million.

The company provides open source software solutions to develop and offer operating system, virtualization, management, middleware, cloud, mobile and storage technologies to various enterprises worldwide. The stock closed Friday at $77.80, so the timing of the sales looks good.

New York REIT

Last week, New York REIT Inc. (NYSE: NYRT) also had a director at the company moving shares. The director unloaded a total of 351,952 shares of the company at prices that ranged from $9.05 to $9.14. The total for the sale was posted at $3 million.

New York REIT focuses on acquiring commercial real estate, as well as acquiring properties or making other real estate investments that relate to office, retail, multi-family residential, industrial and hotel property types located primarily in New York City. Shareholders may view this negatively, as the stock has acted poorly this year, and that is a big insider sale that is close to the 52-week low. Shares closed Friday at $9.07.

These companies also reported insider selling last week: Blackstone Group L.P. (NYSE: BX), Extended Stay America Inc. (NYSE: STAY), Occidental Petroleum Inc. (NYSE: OXY), Palo Alto Networks Inc. (NYSE: PANW) and Papa John’s International Inc. (NASDAQ: PZZA).

Needless to say, some insiders may be selling stock as they expect volatility after the election. Others may just be taking some money off the proverbial table. In any event, we will continue to monitor all transactions closely.