Investing

Insider Selling in Financials Jumps as Market Volatility Rules the Week

With Friday’s rally helping to push indexes back to the positive side for the year, the insiders also reappeared after being mostly in hibernation as first-quarter earnings results were being reported by many of the major corporations in the United States over the past five weeks. We have suspected all along that insiders that were blacked out from transactions during earnings season would reappear this month.

We cover insider selling every week at 24/7 Wall St., and we like to always remind our readers that just because an individual or 10% institutional owner is selling stock, that is no cause for immediate alarm. Many top executives and even directors are compensated with stock, and often they sell just to diversify or purchase other assets.

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

GrubHub Inc. (NASDAQ: GRUB) saw a big block of stock get sold this week. A director at the company sold a million share block at $40.67 per share. The total for the sale came to $40.67 million. The company provides an online and mobile platform for restaurant pickup and delivery orders in the United States, and it connects approximately 30,000 local restaurants with diners in approximately 800 cities. Shares were trading on Friday’s close at $40.23.

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Discover Financial Services (NYSE: DFS) saw some large insider selling this week. An executive vice president at the credit card company sold a block of 210,000 shares at prices that ranged from $58.95 to $59.09. The total for the sale came to a tidy $12.41 million. The stock closed trading on Friday at $59.01.

Western Alliance Bancorp. (NYSE: WAL) had its CEO part with some of his shares this week. Robert Sarver sold a block of 125,000 shares of the stock at $31.16 to $31.18. The total for the sale came to $3.9 million. Western Alliance operates as the bank holding company for Western Alliance Bank, which provides various banking products and related services primarily in Arizona, California and Nevada. The stock ended the week at $31.35.

American Financial Group Inc. (NYSE: AFG) also had a C-Suite executive selling shares this week. The co-CEO of the company sold a 58,000 share block of the stock at prices that ranged from $63.53 to $63.56. The total for this sale came to $3.5 million. The company provides property and casualty insurance products in the United States. Shares ended trading on Friday at $64.055, so a little was left on the table.

Charles Schwab Corp. (NYSE: SCHW) is becoming a regular on our insider selling report. Wall Street legend Charles Schwab has been selling large amounts, but this week the CEO of the company was a seller of stock. Walter Bettinger sold 100,000 shares at $30.75 apiece. The total for the sale came to $3.07 million. The shares were changing hands at $31.28 on Friday’s close, so again a little left on the table.

Nielsen N.V. (NYSE: NLSN) had the chairman of the board selling shares this past week, and it was a big trade. David Calhoun sold 384,091 shares at a price of $44.97. The total for the sale came to a whopping $17,271,881. The company provides media and marketing information, analytics and manufacturer and retailer expertise about what and where consumers buy, read, watch and listen. Shares closed trading on Friday at $45.24.

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These companies also reported insider selling this week: Boeing Co. (NYSE: BA), Freescale Semiconductor Ltd. (NYSE: FSL), Lawson Products Inc. (NASDAQ: LAWS), Vasco Data Security International Inc. (NASDAQ: VDSI) and Waste Connections Inc. (NYSE: WCN).

While the insider selling picked up, it seemed to trail the buyers this week. For the rest of the month and into June, more volume is likely.