Market Rally Brings Out Insider Sellers in Full Force

Less than a month ago, insider selling was just at a trickle, and it was clear that most insiders had no interest in selling into a market that was one bad day away from a full-blown correction. My how things have changed. With the markets hitting all-time highs, the sellers are more than happy to step up and unload some stock.

This past week saw some of the largest insider selling we have seen at 24/7 Wall St. since the summer, and who can blame insiders for taking some money off the table at the top of the market? As we have pointed out in the past, many insiders are overweighted to their own company’s stock. They sell for reasons that range from diversification to tax planning to simple liquidity needs.

Here are this past week’s top insider selling trades.

Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL) has had a magnificent run this year, and insider selling should be no surprise. A senior vice president at the tech giant sold 261,935 shares of the stock at $106.90. The total sale came to a very rich $28 million. The stock was trading at $109.01 as trading ended on Friday.

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Validus Holdings Ltd. (NYSE: VR) also had a gigantic insider selling trade this week. A director at the company sold a huge block of 825,000 shares at prices that ranged from $39.52 to $39.75. That was a sizable payday, as the total sale came to a whopping $32.6 million. The company provides reinsurance coverage, insurance coverage and insurance-linked securities management services worldwide. Shares closed Friday at $39.87.

Charles Schwab Corp. (NYSE: SCHW) saw yet another trip to the selling window from namesake and founder Charles Schwab. The iconic Wall Street figure sold 1.25 million shares of the company stock at prices that ranged from $27.59 to $28.49. The venerable Mr. Schwab had an outstanding total sale of $35 million. Shares of the discount broker ended the week at $28.58.

Vertex Pharmaceuticals Inc. (NASDAQ: VRTX) has been on a tear, and a director took advantage of the hot streak. Bruce Sachs sold 127,411 shares of the stock at prices that ranged from $112.10 to $112.30. The total sale came to $14.3 million. Vertex shares were trading down Friday at the close at $115.93.

AutoNation Inc. (NYSE: AN) has rebounded nicely from the huge sell-off low last month, and the chief operating officer took advantage of the rally. He sold 100,000 shares of the auto retailer at $56.23 for a total of $5.6 million. The stock was trading at $57.59 on Friday’s close.

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Other companies that saw significant insider selling this week include Amber Road Inc. (NYSE: AMBR), DineEquity Inc. (NYSE: DIN), Barracuda Networks Inc. (NYSE: CUDA), C.H. Robinson Worldwide Inc. (NASDAQ: CHRW) and Boeing Co. (NYSE: BA).

If the market continues to rally, it is a good bet that more and more insider selling will hit our screens in the coming weeks.

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