Incredible Financial Data Company Trade Highlights Insider Selling: MSCI, Darden Restaurants, Lockheed Martin and More

While still coming in at low levels, the volume of insider selling certainly has picked up as the first quarter draws to a close. 24/7 Wall St. readers may recall that selling by insiders and 10% owners during the huge market sell-off in January and February was almost nonexistent. The return of the S&P 500 to the 2,000 level has proven to be a point at which some are ready to take money off the table.

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.

MSCI Inc. (NYSE: MSCI) had a director at the company selling a massive block of shares this past week. Valueact Capital Master Fund shed an incredible 1,876,411 shares at prices that ranged from $69.30 to $69.60. The total for the trade came to a phenomenal $130 million. MSCI offers content, applications and services to support the needs of institutional investors in investment processes worldwide. The stock closed Friday at $69.62.

Darden Restaurants Inc.

(NYSE: DRI) hits our screens for the second week in a row with another gigantic trade. A director, Starboard Value, sold a huge 909,723 shares of the stock at prices between $65.16 and $66.82 per share. The total for the sale came to a whopping $60 million. Darden Restaurants owns and operates approximately 1,500 full-service restaurants in the United States and Canada under the Olive Garden, LongHorn Steakhouse, Bahama Breeze, Capital Grille and other banners. The stock closed most recently at $67.57.

Wayfair Inc. (NYSE: W) had a big seller come in. HarbourVest Partners parted with 449,594 shares of the stock at between $42.36 and $45.20 apiece. The total for the sale came to $19 million. Wayfair engages in the e-commerce business in the United States. It offers approximately 7 million products — furniture, décor, decorative accent, houseware, seasonal décor and other home goods — under various brands. The stock ended last week at $45.15.

Sears Holding Corp. (NASDAQ: SHLD) saw a large seller hit the bid this past week. Fairholme Capital sold a total of 429,700 shares at $17.68 apiece. The total for the sale came to $8 million. The retailer operates in two segments: Kmart and Sears Domestic. The stock closed Friday at $16.76, so the timing of the sale looks good.

Lockheed Martin Corp. (NYSE: LMT) had an executive vice president at the aerospace giant selling shares last week. The 19,587 shares that executive sold went for $216.80 apiece, netting her an even $4 million. Lockheed Martin is a security and aerospace company that engages in the research, design, development, manufacture, integration and sustainment of technology systems, products and services worldwide. Shares closed on Friday at $217.05.

Visteon Corp. (NYSE: VC) had one of its C suite executives parting with shares this past week. Chief Financial Officer Jeffrey Stafeil sold a total of 37,099 shares. At prices that ranged from $70.94 to $72.51, the total for the sale came to $3 million. The company designs, engineers and manufactures electronics products for original equipment vehicle manufacturers worldwide. The stock closed Friday at $76.64, so a big pile of cash left on the table.

These companies also reported insider selling last week: Atmel Corp. (NASDAQ: ATML), Avery Dennison Corp. (NYSE: AVY), Cooper Tire & Rubber Co. (NYSE: CTB), TJX Companies Inc. (NYSE: TJX) and Weingarten Realty Investors (NYSE: WRI).

With the markets edging back toward the highs put in last year, it’s not surprising to see some sellers. Add in the volatility we have experienced this year, and the big sell-off, and it’s even less of a surprise.

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