Massive Restaurant Trades Highlight Insider Selling: BJ’s Restaurants, Darden Restaurants, Delta Air Lines and More

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For the second week in a row, the insiders at major companies have decided that the markets have moved high enough that it is time to take some money off the table. As we reported through most of the first two months of 2016, insider selling was virtually nonexistent, as the selling to start the year rivaled any sell-offs on record. With major averages almost 10% higher that the intra-day lows printed in mid-February, sellers are finally hitting the bid.

We cover insider selling every week at 24/7 Wall St., and we like to 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.

BJ’s Restaurants Inc. (NASDAQ: BJRI) had a big seller on the desk last week. A director at the company sold a total of 695,828 shares of the stock at prices that ranged from $43.33 to $44.91. That netted the director a whopping $30 million. The company operates 172 casual dining restaurants located in the 22 states under the BJ’s Restaurant & Brewery, BJ’s Restaurant & Brewhouse, BJ’s Pizza & Grill and BJ’s Grill brand names. The shares closed Friday at $46.29, so a touch early perhaps.


Darden Restaurants Inc. (NYSE: DRI) in another well-known restaurant operator that had a big seller this past week. A director of the company at Starboard sold a total of 303,206 shares at prices that ranged from $63.66 to $64.08 apiece. The total for the sale came to a large $19 million. The company owns and operates approximately 1,500 full-service restaurants, as of July 8, 2015, in the United States and Canada under the Olive Garden, LongHorn Steakhouse, Bahama Breeze, Seasons 52, The Capital Grille, Eddie V’s and Yard House brand names. Shares ended last week at $64.93. So perhaps a little early here as well.

ResMed Inc. (NYSE: RMD) had the chief financial officer and a director at the company parting with shares last week. The two combined to sell a total of 169,980 shares of the company’s stock at prices between $57.31 and $57.63 apiece. The total for the sale came in right at $10 million. The company manufactures, distributes and markets medical equipment for the diagnosis, treatment and management of respiratory disorders, with a focus on sleep-disordered breathing. ResMed shares ended Friday’s session at $57.85.

Stamps.com Inc. (NASDAQ: STMP) had a director at the company sell stock this past week. That director sold a total of 70,000 shares at prices that ranged from $114.26 to $120.00 per share. The total for the sale was $8 million. The company provides Internet-based postage solutions in the United States. It offers solutions for mailing and shipping various mail pieces using a range of United States Postal Service (USPS) mail classes. The stock closed Friday at $122.21.

Delta Air Lines Inc. (NYSE: DAL) had the man at the top selling stock this past week. CEO Richard Anderson shed a total of 82,000 shares of the stock at prices that ranged from $48.75 to $48.78. The total for the trade came to a smooth $4 million. Delta closed the day on Friday at $48.67.

These companies also reported insider selling this week: Atmel Corp. (NASDAQ: ATML), Avista Corp. (NYSE: AVA), Campbell Soup Co. (NYSE: CPB), Pinnacle Foods Inc. (NYSE: PF) and PPG Industries Inc. (NYSE: PPG).

The return of insider selling in not necessarily a bad thing, as it shows that market valuations are starting to perk up. While the volume is solid, it’s nothing that indicates outright frothiness.