Insider Selling Remains Choppy as Stock Market Grinds Higher

In a trend that seems somewhat locked into place, like the horrible winter weather in the Northeast, insiders continue to sell stock, though as we have seen most of this year, nobody is rushing to the exits, at least for now. With the fourth-quarter earnings season winding down, many executives at companies may just be having windows reopen to sell company stock. The next month or so should tell the tale as far as that is concerned.

We cover insider selling each week here at 24/7 Wall St., and we like to remind our readers that insider selling is not always a cause for immediate alarm. Many individuals are overweighted to their own company’s stock and sell for tax reasons or diversification, or to purchase other assets like real estate. When we see selling that looks like there could be trouble for current shareholders, we note it in our reporting.

Here are the companies that had reported insider selling this past week.

Incyte Corp. (NASDAQ: INCY) had a director of the company sell stock this past week. Some 120,000 shares of the stock were sold at $74.30 apiece. The total of the sale came to $8.9 million. Incyte is a biopharmaceutical company, focused on the discovery, development and commercialization of proprietary small molecule drugs, primarily for oncology and inflammation. Shares ending trading on Friday at $82.49, so a sizable amount was left on the table.

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Tessera Technologies Inc. (NASDAQ: TSRA) saw a large block of 325,000 hit the sell tape this week. A director at the company sold the shares at prices that ranged from $39.13 to $39.67, for a total of $12.8 million. The company develops, licenses and delivers semiconductor, interconnect and imaging technologies. The stock closed trading on Friday at $39.92.

Validus Holdings Ltd. (NYSE: VR) also had a director of the company sell shares this past week. That director parted with 141,322 shares at prices that ranged from $42.10 to $42.20. The total sale came to a very tidy $6 million. The company provides reinsurance coverage, insurance coverage and insurance-linked securities management services worldwide. The stock was trading at $42.10 on Friday’s close.

Estee Lauder Companies Inc. (NYSE: EL) is known worldwide for the line of fragrances it sells. An executive vice president and a director of the cosmetics firm sold shares recently. The pair shed a total of 68,112 shares at prices that ranged from $81.40 to $81.80. The total of the sales came to $5.6 million. The stock ended the week at $81.80.

CNO Financial Group Inc. (NYSE: CNO) also had a director dispose of shares this week. Some 147,786 shares of the stock were sold at prices between $16.46 and $17.04, netting a total of $2.5 million. The company develops, markets and administers health insurance, annuity, individual life insurance and other insurance products for senior and middle-income markets in the United States. The shares closed trading on Friday at $16.39, so the timing looks solid.

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These companies also had insiders selling stock this week: Ameriprise Financial Inc. (NYSE: AMP), O’Reilly Automotive Inc. (NASDAQ: ORLY), Deluxe Corp. (NYSE: DLX), Robert Half International Inc. (NYSE: RHI) and Whirlpool Corp. (NYSE: WHR).

All in all, a rather dull week for insider selling. Some insiders could be waiting for the market to move even higher, while others may be waiting for sell windows to open up at their respective companies.

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