After what was a wild and woolly first quarter, many investors are bracing for the possibility of more volatility to come. One thing is for sure, with first-quarter earnings right around the corner, insiders that want to make a transaction are probably in a hurry, as many corporations are shutting windows for executives and institutional accounts looking to sell or buy shares.
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 last week.
Adobe Systems Inc. (NASDAQ: ADBE) saw a seller come in a gigantic way this past week. ValueAct Holdings sold a humongous 921,808 shares of the stock at prices that ranged from $92.51 to $92.53. The total for this huge sell order was an incredible $85 million. This isn’t the first time the hedge fund has shown up on our screens, as it is reported that ValueAct now has sold the vast portion of its holdings in this diversified software company. The shares closed trading on Friday at $95.16.
Ross Stores Inc. (NASDAQ: ROST) had the chairman of the board and an executive vice president both selling shares last week. The pair sold a total of 162.128 shares at prices that ranged from $57.40 to $57.53 per share. The total for the sales came to a solid $9 million. Earlier in the week the president of the company sold 58,163 shares of the stock at between $58.05 and $58.13 apiece. The total for that sale came to $3.4 million. The shares closed Friday at $58.64.
Shake Shack Inc. (NYSE: SHAK) had a director at Select Equities Group parting with shares this past week. The block of 150,000 shares of the stock sold at prices that ranged from $32.74 to $35.94, netting an even $5 million. Shake Shack owns, operates and licenses Shake Shack restaurants in North America, Europe and Asia. Its offerings include hamburgers, hot dogs, crinkle-cut fries, shakes, frozen custard, beer and wine. The stock closed Friday at $36.85, so some money was left on the table, it appears.
Vera Bradley Inc. (NASDAQ: VRA) saw a director of the company, who is also a 10% owner, shedding some stock last week. That director sold a total of 496,917 shares at prices that ranged from $19.20 to $19.55. The total for the sale came in at $9.6 million. The company designs, manufactures and sells handbags, accessories, luggage and travel items for women of all ages under the Vera Bradley brand. The stock ended the week at $20.24.
Vector Group Ltd. (NYSE: VGR) also had a director selling shares this past week. That director sold a block of 100,000 shares of the stock at $22.65 apiece. The total for the trade came in at $2.3 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 private label brands. Shares were changing hands at $22.69 as Friday’s trading came to a close.
This was a very slow week for selling, and again, most likely it represents the corporate windows for insiders shutting down for earnings season. One thing is very probable, they will be back to sell in May when the earnings are through.