Massive Technology Trades Highlight Insider Selling: Microsoft, Broadcom, Pepsico, Humana and More

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Another week of record-setting highs did exactly what our readers would expect. The sellers came out in full force, as they have been ever since the year started. And with stocks as overbought as they have been in years, you can count on them continuing to sell. The good news is that many of the sales, especially the huge ones, are from investors that have been holders of their positions in some cases for years.

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 this past week.

Hedge fund ValueAct continues to sell shares of Microsoft Corp. (NASDAQ: MSFT). The firm, which is also a director at the software giant, sold a total of 4,616,000 shares at prices that ranged from $64.23 to $64.52 apiece. The total for the sale was a stunning $300 million. The stock closed on Friday at $64.62, in a 52-week trading range of $48.04 to $65.91. The Wall Street consensus price target is $69.56.

Private equity giant Silver Lake also continued to sell shares of a big technology position. The company sold a million shares of Broadcom Ltd. (NASDAQ: AVGO) at prices that ranged from $210.06 to $212.26. The total for the sale was a staggering $200 million. Shares ended the week at 210.37. The 52-week range is $132.25 to $215.96. The consensus price objective is $218.87.

Another hedge fund that is also a director at Brink’s Co. (NYSE: BCO) was busy selling stock this past week. Starboard parted with a total of 650,000 shares of the security and protection company at prices that fell between $51.47 and $52.05. The total for the sale was set at $34 million. Shares closed on Friday at $52.00. The consensus price target is $56, and the 52-week range is $26.86 to $53.90.

Health care giant Humana Inc. (NYSE: HUM) had a director and the chief operating officer of the company selling stock last week. The director sold 27,000 shares at prices between $204.51 and $206.43. The total for the sale was $7 million. COO Jim Murray sold 122,571 shares at prices that ranged from $204.231 to $206. The total for his trade was posted at $25 million. Shares closed on Friday at $207.28. The 52-week range is $150 to $217.80, and the consensus price target is $223.21.

PepsiCo Inc. (NYSE: PEP) had a trio of executives at the food and beverage behemoth selling stock this past week. The chief financial officer, controller and a unit chief executive sold a combined 115,717 shares at price between $107.28 and $107.96 a share. The total for the combined sale was $13 million. The stock ended Friday at $109.83 a share, so some money appears to be left on the table. The consensus price target is $116.39. The 52-week range is $97.54 to $110.94.

These companies also reported insider selling last week: Dr Pepper Snapple Group Inc. (NYSE: DPS), Imperva Inc. (NASDAQ: IMPV), On Semiconductor Corp. (NYSE: ON), Philip Morris International Inc. (NYSE: PM) and Tyler Technologies Inc. (NYSE: TYL).

Two things most of the big sales had in common was long-term holds for the shares, and all the companies were trading at or near 52-week highs, and in some cases record highs. In other words, time for some profits and gains to be taken.