Huge Tech Trade Highlights Insider Selling: Motorola Solutions, Darden Restaurants, Allegiant Travel and More

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After a solid rally in the markets that has lifted the S&P 500 almost 12% over the past 25 days, one would certainly think that insiders looking to take some off the table would be out in full force. Instead, the sellers were conspicuous by their absence this past week. While some big trades did hit the tape and our screens, the volume was nowhere near the insider buying levels.

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 week.

Motorola Solutions Inc. (NYSE: MSI) had a big institutional seller come out this week. Value Act sold a total of 1,310,000 shares of the stock at prices that ranged from $71.03 to $71.50. The total for the sale came to a whopping $93 million. The company provides mission-critical communication infrastructure, devices, software and services in North America, Latin America, the Asia Pacific, the Middle East, Europe and Africa. The shares closed on Friday at $72.59.


Allegiant Travel Co. (NASDAQ: ALGT) had the chief executive officer, who is also a 10% owner of the company, shedding shares this week. Maurice Gallagher sold a total of 292,200 shares at $163.60 apiece. That netted him a humongous $48 million. The company focuses on the provision of travel services and products to residents of under-served cities in the United States. It offers scheduled air transportation on limited frequency nonstop flights between under-served cities and leisure destinations. The stock closed Friday at $173.10, so a large pile of cash was left on the table for sure.

Darden Restaurants Inc. (NYSE: DRI) hits our screens for the third week in a row with another gigantic trade. A director of the company, Starboard Value, sold a huge 359,766 shares at prices that ranged from $67.71 to $67.72. The total for the sale came to a whopping $24 million. Darden Restaurants owns and operates full-service restaurants in the United States and Canada. As of July 8, 2015, it owned and operated approximately 1,500 restaurants under the Olive Garden, LongHorn Steakhouse, Bahama Breeze and other brand names. The stock ended the week at $67.29.

Vector Group Ltd. (NYSE: VGR) also had the man at the top selling stock. CEO Howard Lorber parted with a 500,000 share block of the company’s stock at prices between $23.27 and $23.47. The total for the sales came to a very solid $12 million. A director at the company also sold 100,000 shares at between $22.84 and $23.21 apiece. That sale totaled $2 million. The company manufactures and sells cigarettes in the United States under the Eagle 20’s, Pyramid, Grand Prix, Liggett Select and Eve brand names, as well as USA and various partner brands and private label brands. The stock closed Friday at $22.88, so the timing looks solid.

Masco Corp. (NYSE: MAS) saw directors at the company parting with shares this past week. One director sold a total of 150,000 shares at prices that ranged from $28.90 to $29.15. The total for the sale came in right at $4 million. Another director sold 110,000 shares at $29.31 to $29.40 apiece, for a total of $3 million. Masco designs, manufactures, markets and distributes home improvement and building products in North America and internationally. The stock closed Friday at $30.77, so a touch left on the table.

The only other company that reported notable insider selling this week was Aqua America Inc. (NYSE: WTR).

While the volume was light, it should be noted that first-quarter earnings reports are only about three weeks away, and many company windows for insider transactions may be closing.