Insider Selling Steady as Markets Remain Volatile: Aflac, Shake Shack, Raymond James, Range Resources and More

Numerous articles on financial websites cited rising insider selling this past week, and according to TrimTabs, November was the fourth highest month on record. Given the extreme volatility in September and October, it is not surprising to see a big uptick. A market still hovering near all-time highs also contributed.

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, nor is volume jumping dramatically in one month. 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.

Aflac Inc. (NYSE: AFL) had the president of the company selling shares last week. Kriss Cloninger shed a total of 88,000 shares at prices between $61.98 and $63.02. The total for the sale came to an even $5.5 million. The company through its subsidiary, American Family Life Assurance Company of Columbus, provides supplemental health and life insurance products. It operates through two segments: Aflac Japan and Aflac U.S. The shares closed trading on Friday at $59.71, so a well-timed sale, it appears.

Shake Shack Inc. (NYSE: SHAK) was one of the hottest IPOs of 2015, and it has come back in from huge highs. That didn’t stop a 10% owner from selling stock. Green Equity Investors sold 100,000 shares at prices that fell between $42.92 and $44.47. The total for the sale came to $4.4 million. The company owns, operates and licenses Shake Shack restaurants in North America, Europe and Asia. It offers hamburgers, hot dogs, crinkle-cut fries, shakes, frozen custard, beer and wine. Shares ended the week at $41.19.

Raymond James Financial Inc. (NYSE: RJF) saw its executive chairman selling big this past week. He parted with a total of 148,639 shares priced at between $59.25 and $59.69. The total for the trade was a strong $8.8 million. The company engages in the underwriting, distribution, trading and brokerage of equity and debt securities, as well as the sale of mutual funds and other investment products in the United States and internationally. The shares were trading at $56.61 on Friday’s close, so here too it appears to be a well-timed sale.

Tyson Foods Inc. (NYSE: TSN) had an executive vice president at the company selling stock last week. That executive sold a total of 108,000 share of the stock at prices that ranged from $51.90 to $52.05. The total for the sale was a very tidy $5.6 million. This global food company operates through four segments: Chicken, Beef, Pork and Prepared Foods. The shares ended Friday at $52.52, so some money was left on the table.

Range Resources Corp. (NYSE: RRC) is one of the very few energy companies that saw selling this past week. A director at the company sold 101,286 shares at prices between $26.51 and $26.00. That netted him some $2.7 million. Range Resources is an independent natural gas, natural gas liquids and oil company engaged in the acquisition, exploration and development of natural gas and oil properties in the United States. By Friday’s close, the stock was trading at $22.75, so another well-timed trade.

These companies also reported insider selling this past week: Becton Dickinson and Co. (NYSE: BDX), Boston Beer Co. Inc. (NYSE: SAM), Six Flags Entertainment Corp. (NYSE: SIX), Supernus Pharmaceuticals Inc. (NASDAQ: SUPN) and Reynolds American Inc. (NYSE: RAI).

While the big stories about insider selling are nerve-racking, it is important to remember that during the intense selling we saw in August and September there was very little insider activity. One outsized month is not necessarily a trend.

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