While Friday’s market rebound lifted spirits some, the overall action in the market to start 2015 has been ugly. With many insiders having large gains from a long bull market rally, a turn in market direction may have been all they needed to head to the sell window and take some chips off the table. All in all, though, insider selling was muted this week.
We cover insider selling each week at 24/7 Wall St., and it really should come as no surprise that some insiders are selling. As a reminder, insider selling often comes from an executive who may own too much company stock diversifying, or an institutional account that has owned the stock for years and is finally taking some capital back.
Here are the top insider selling trades that hit our screens this week.
Bed Bath & Beyond Inc. (NASDAQ: BBBY) had two co-chairs take a sizable amount of the retailer’s stock off the table. They sold a combined 514,554 shares at $73.63. The total of the sale came to a whopping $32.5 million. The stock has had a tremendous run off the lows printed last summer, so this seems quite understandable. The stock was trading Friday’s close at $73.54.
Paylocity Holding Corp. (NASDAQ: PCTY) also had a pair of board members sell stock this week. Two directors sold a total of 332,678 shares at $26.25. The total sale came to a tidy $8.7 million. The company provides cloud-based payroll and human capital management software solutions for medium-sized organizations. The stock closed trading on Friday at $23.07, so the timing was spot on.
Guess? Inc. (NYSE: GES) saw a top executive sell some shares. The chief executive at the fashion clothier sold a block of 200,000 shares at $20.90 apiece. The total sale came to $4.2 million. The share price as the week’s trading came to a close was at $20.08.
Resolute Forest Products Inc. (NYSE: RFP) saw the general partner come in and sell stock this week. Steelhead Partners parted with 217,788 shares of the stock at prices that ranged from $16.40 to $16.68. The total sale came to $3.5 million. Shares closed trading Friday at $15.85.
Memorial Resource Development Corp. (NASDAQ: MRD) had an individual 10% owner sell shares of company stock. Heath Sumrow sold 138,433 shares at $18.03 apiece, for a total sale of $2.5 million. This independent natural gas and oil company focuses on the acquisition, exploitation and development of natural gas, natural gas liquids and oil properties in North Louisiana and East Texas, as well as the Rocky Mountains. A big owner selling at market lows may be a warning flag. Shares closed trading Friday at $18.36.
Limited share count selling should make stock market investors feel better. We will monitor insider selling closely to see if activity picks up in the coming weeks. The fourth-quarter earnings season blacks-out many insiders from selling stock now.
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