Insider Selling Highest Since Summer: BlackRock, Comcast, Loews, Boston Beer and More

As we get closer to the holidays and the end of the trading year, one thing is crystal clear: insiders who waited through a brutal market sell-off and retest are running out of time. With corporate windows just opening back up, the insiders are selling stock at a pace that we haven’t seen in some time. Investors should not be surprised, as many have waited perhaps longer than expected due to the market volatility this fall.

We cover insider selling every week at 24/7 Wall St., and we like to always remind 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 sell just to diversify or purchase other assets.

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

BlackRock Inc. (NYSE: BLK) had the man at the top of the money management giant selling stock last week. CEO Larry Fink parted with 39,689 shares at prices that ranged from $353.19 to $358.71 apiece. That netted him right at $14.2 million. The firm primarily provides its services to institutional, intermediary and individual investors. It also manages accounts for corporate, public, union and industry pension plans, insurance companies, third-party mutual funds, endowments, foundations, charities, corporations, official institutions and banks. Shares were trading on Friday’s close at $356.70.

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Comcast Inc. (NASDAQ: CMCSA) also had the top man in the C suites selling stock this past week. CEO Brian Roberts sold a total of 106,883 shares of the broadcasting and cable conglomerate at a share price of $63.10. The total for the sale came to a tidy $6.7 million. Comcast shares closed trading on Friday at $61.61, so it appears to be a well-timed sale.

Loews Corp. (NYSE: L) saw the co-chairman of the board selling shares last week. Some 66,580 shares of the company were shed at prices that fell between $37.30 and $37.71 per share. The total for the sale came to $2.5 million. The company operates as a commercial property and casualty insurance company, primarily in the United States, in addition to having other businesses under the corporate umbrella. The stock ended last week at $37.80.

Boston Beer Co. Inc. (NYSE: SAM) had its chairman, who is also the founder, selling shares this past week. Jim Koch let go of a total of 11,000 shares of the popular brewer at prices that ranged from $214.02 to $218.96. That totaled $2.4 million. The popular Samuel Adams brand is the company’s flagship product. Shares were trading on Friday’s close at $210.00, so another well-timed sale, it appears.

Owens Corning (NYSE: OC) also had the big boss parting with shares of the company this week. CEO Michael Thaman sold a block of 100,000 shares at $46.02 apiece. The total for the sale came to $4.6 million. The company produces and sells glass fiber reinforcements and other materials for composite systems, as well as residential and commercial building materials worldwide. The stock closed trading on Friday at $45.59.

These companies also reported insider selling this week: Boeing Co. (NYSE: BA), Honeywell International Inc. (NYSE: HON), Masco Corp. (NYSE: MAS), Nasdaq Inc. (NASDAQ: NDAQ) and Popular Inc. (NASDAQ: BPOP).

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It comes as no surprise that insiders have ratcheted up the selling recently. Between the biggest market sell-off in four years, and the third-quarter trading windows closing, they now have a chance to liquidate some shares prior to the end of the year. We saw little if any selling in names that looked distressed. When and if we do, we will report on it.

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