2 Massive Tech Trades Highlight Insider Selling: Facebook, Applied Materials, Costco, Papa John’s and More

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Earnings season has arrived, and while that has meant a slowdown in insider activity, some of the top executives at the biggest countries across the United States are still making some trades. While the activity will probably stay somewhat reserved until November, one thing is for sure. Between now and the end of the year, there will be some large buyers and sellers.

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.


Once again, Facebook Inc. (NASDAQ: FB) is the insider selling leader as a director at the company, Jan Koum, sold two gigantic blocks of the social media giant’s shares for the fourth time in the past 45 days. Koum is an internet entrepreneur and computer programmer. He is the CEO and co-founder of WhatsApp, a mobile messaging application that was acquired by Facebook in February 2014 for $19 billion.

Koum sold a block of 400,000 shares of the stock at $130.38 apiece. The total for that sale was posted at a huge $52,113,760. He then proceeded to sell an additional 602,114 shares of the company at a price of $129.36. The total for that trade was a stunning $77,891,855. Facebook shares closed Friday at $127.91.

Applied Materials

Another technology giant that had an insider selling shares last week is Applied Materials Inc. (NASDAQ: AMAT). The CEO of the semiconductor capital equipment giant, Gary Dickerson, shed 229,935 shares of the stock at prices between $29.70 and $29.74 per share. The total for the sale was posted at $7 million.

Applied Materials provides manufacturing equipment, services and software to the semiconductor and other industries worldwide. Shares of the company closed Friday at $28.07, so the timing looks solid.


Retail giant Costco Wholesale Corp. (NASDAQ: COST) had a director selling stock last week. That director sold a total of 20,114 shares of the company at prices that ranged from $148.83 to $149.34. The total for the trade came in at $3 million.

The membership warehouse operator offers branded and private-label products in a range of merchandise categories. Its shares closed Friday at $150.17, so some money was left on the table.

Papa John’s

Papa John’s International Inc. (NASDAQ: PZZA) had the man at the top also selling stock again this past week. Over a three-day period, CEO John Schnatter let go of 52,358 shares of the stock at prices that ranged from $78.05 to $78.10 per share. The total for the three trades tallied up to $4,088,211.

This Louisville, Kentucky-based operator and franchisor of pizza delivery and carryout restaurants recently announced expansion plans in Egypt. Its shares ended last week at $77.97 per share.

Diamondback Energy

The chief operating officer of Diamondback Energy Inc. (NASDAQ: FANG) also sold some shares last week. Michael Hollis parted with a block of 10,000 shares of the company at $104.00 per share. The total for the sale was posted at $1,040,000.

Diamondback Energy is an independent oil and natural gas company that focuses on the acquisition, development, exploration and exploitation of onshore oil and natural gas reserves in the Permian Basin in West Texas. Its activities are primarily focused on the Clearfork, Spraberry, Wolfcamp, Cline, Strawn and Atoka formations. The company’s net acreage position is approximately 84,683 acres in the Permian Basin. Its stock closed last Friday at $100.90, sot the timing looks good.

And Others

These companies also reported insider selling last week IDT Corp. (NYSE: IDT), American Woodmark Corp. (NASDAQ: AMWD), Salesforce.com Inc. (NYSE: CRM), Carrizo Oil and Gas Inc. (NASDAQ: CRZO) and Prudential Financial Inc. (NYSE: PRU).

While the volume was much higher on the selling side this week, all of the volumes we are seeing are much lower than we usually see during the year. We can expect that to jump in November.