Massive Brokerage Trades Highlight Insider Selling This Week

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With a week that saw the end of April and a ton of volatility, we also saw some big insider selling hit the tape. With windows starting to open back up for executives and 10% owners, we expect to see the volume of buying and selling pick up. More importantly, despite the recent volatility, all the major indexes are still trading near all-time highs, and that may really coax some sellers out.

We cover insider selling each week at 24/7 Wall St., and we like to remind our readers that if you see a stock you own on our lists, it is not cause for immediate concern. Many high level employees are paid and bonused with stock and stock options. Selling is a way to diversify and often invest in other assets. When we see suspicious selling, we point it out.

Here are the companies that reported notable insider selling this week.

Charles Schwab Corp. (NYSE: SCHW) saw two massive sell trades and they came from the man with his name on the door. Wall Street icon Charles Schwab sold two huge blocks of his company’s stock. One block of 1.26 million shares sold at prices that ranged from $30.45 to $30.51. That trade came to a stunning $38.4 million. He came back later and sold an additional 1.05 million shares at prices from $30.17 to $30.33. That brought in an additional $31.66 million. Not a bad week’s work indeed. The stock closed trading Friday at $30.71.

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Esperion Therapeutics Inc. (NASDAQ: ESPR) had a 10% owner selling stock this week. Aisling Capital II sold some 150,000 shares at $109.10 apiece. The total came to $16.36 million. We recently covered the company as a potential buyout target. Its shares ended trading on Friday at $100.40, so a very well-timed sale.

Lithia Motors Inc. (NYSE: LAD) saw some of the very top executives at the company line up to sell shares. The chief executive, chief financial officer, chief accounting officer and a senior vice president sold a combined 73,000 shares of the stock at prices from $104.10 to $105.37. The total for the sale came to $7.61 million. Lithia Motors operates as an automotive franchise and retailer of new and used vehicles in the United States. The stock was trading on Friday’s close at $102.52, so another well-timed sale.

Red Hat Inc. (NYSE: RHT) had a director of the company and one of the executive vice presidents sell some shares this week. The pair sold a combined of 70,000 shares of the software company at prices that ranged from $76.45 to $76.82. That netted them a tidy $5.92 million. Red Hat ended the week at $75.36 a share.

Memorial Resource Development Corp. (NYSE: MRD) is starting to be a regular member on the insider selling report. The stock reported disappointing fourth-quarter numbers, and consistent insider selling behind that may not be encouraging for shareholders. Members of a group owning 10% of the stock sold a large block of 268,000 shares at $19.62 to $19.94. The total came to $5.3 million. Shares closed trading Friday at $20.50. Shareholders may want to dig into this and review the premise for owning the stock. The stock had an initial public offering in June of last year, so this could be more lock-up selling, which is not in of itself cause for alarm.

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These companies also reported insider selling this week: Agenus Inc. (NASDAQ: AGEN), Bank of New York Mellon Corp. (NYSE: BK), Manhattan Associates Inc. (NASDAQ: MANH) and Western Alliance Bancorp. (NYSE: WAL).

With volume picking up and windows opening, do not be surprise to see the level of insider activity start to rise in the coming weeks.