Insiders Sell Restaurant and Retail Stocks: Darden Restaurants, Costco and More

It’s pretty obvious that the end of the quarter is upon us, as is the first-quarter earnings season. The insider trading on both sides is slowing as many corporate windows start to shut for transactions. This is very common, and it’s not out of the question that for the next six weeks or so we see continued low volumes. One thing is for sure, insiders looking to sell have been far less visible than the buyers over the first 90 days of 2016.

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.

Darden Restaurants Inc. (NYSE: DRI) hits our screens for the fourth week in a row. A director, Starboard Value, sold an additional 63,658 shares of the stock at prices that ranged from $67.91 to $67.96. The total for the sale came to $4 million. As of July 8, 2015, 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 and other brand names. The stock closed most recently at $65.77.

Providence Service Corp. (NASDAQ: PRSC) had a director at Coliseum Capital selling shares last week. That director parted with 175,522 shares of the stock at prices between $50.61 and $52.42. The total for the trade came in at $9 million. The company provides critical health care and workforce development services in the United States and internationally. The shares ended last week at $49.22, so the timing looks very good.

Costco Wholesale Corp.

(NASDAQ: COST) saw an executive vice president at the retail giant selling shares this past week. That executive sold a block of 20,000 shares of the company at $153.44 per share. The total for the sale came in at $3 million. The stock warehouse membership retailer closed most recently at $151.43.

Tech Data Corp. (NASDAQ: TECD) had a director at the company shed a 50,000 share block of the stock this past week. The share price ranged from $77.00 to $78.44. The total for the sale as reported at $4 million. The company engages in the wholesale distribution of technology products. Its broadline products include notebooks, tablets, desktop systems, printers, supplies and components, and its data center products include servers, server accessories, networking products, storage hardware and networking support services. Shares were last trading at $76.73.

Graphic Packaging Holding Co.‘s (NYSE: GPK) chairman parted with some stock this past week. The 200,000 shares of the stock sold were price at $12.67 apiece. The total for the trade came to $3 million. The company provides paper-based packaging solutions to food, beverage and other consumer products companies. The stock closed most recently at $12.86.

Again, as has been the case the entire quarter, sellers have lagged the buyers quite a bit. That suggests that many insiders feel there is more overall upside to the markets from here. With the indexes still slightly down for the year, that could indeed be the case.

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