Insider Selling Spikes as Transaction Windows Open: Comcast, Aetna, Dr Pepper Snapple, Fleetcor Technologies and More

Well that didn’t take long. No sooner do the first-quarter earnings start to wind up, and the insiders waiting patiently to sell stock start hitting the bid in a big way. And it should come as no surprise, because despite the slow year in the markets, we are still within reach of the all-time highs printed last year. Insider selling also is likely to keep ramping higher, as many on Wall Street see volatility going higher this summer as we get closer to the political cycle home stretch.

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

Fleetcor Technologies Inc. (NYSE: FLT) had a host of executives at the top selling shares this past week. The chief executive, a unit president and a director sold a combined 323,280 shares of the stock at prices that ranged from $150.42 to 152.35. The total for the sale came to a massive $49 million. The company provides fuel cards, commercial payment and data solutions, stored value solutions, and workforce payment products and services. The stock closed on Friday at $145.42, so a very well-timed sale it appears.

Comcast Corp. (NASDAQ: CMCSA) had the CEO of the media giant selling some stock last week. Brian Roberts parted with a block of 200,000 shares of the stock at prices between $62.55 and $62.72. The total proceeds from the sale came to $13 million. Comcast operates as a media and technology company worldwide through its Cable Communications, Cable Networks, Broadcast Television, Filmed Entertainment and Theme Parks segments. Shares ended Friday at $61.84.

Aetna Inc. (NYSE: AET) saw an executive vice president selling stock this week. That executive surrendered a total of 39,169 shares at prices between $114.45 and $114.55 apiece. The total of the sale was posted at $5 million. This health care benefits company in the United States, operates through three segments: Healthcare, Group Insurance and Large Case Pensions. The stock ended trading on Friday at $107.91, so the timing looks outstanding.

Dr Pepper Snapple Group Inc. (NYSE: DPS) also had an executive vice president cashing in this week. In this case it was a total of 52,290 shares of the stock sold at $95.09 per share. The total proceeds from the trade were listed at $5 million. The company operates as a brand owner, manufacturer and distributor of non-alcoholic beverages in the United States, Mexico and Canada. The stock closed Friday at $94.88.

AvalonBay Communities Inc. (NYSE: AVB) had yet another executive vice president parting with shares this week. This third and final EVP sold 10,000 shares of the stock at prices that ranged from $190.85 to $190.99. The total for this sale came in at $2 million. AvalonBay Communities engages in the development, redevelopment, acquisition, ownership and operation of multifamily communities in the United States. The stock ended the week at $186.09, so the timing looks solid.

These companies also reported insider selling last week: Delta Air Lines Inc. (NYSE: DAL), Healthcare Services Group Inc. (NASDAQ: HCSG), Ligand Pharmaceuticals Inc. (NASDAQ LGND), Twenty First Century Fox Inc. (NASDAQ: FOXA) and Verisk Analytics Inc. (NASDAQ: VRSK).

As with the insider buying last week, we saw a big spike in the insiders that were selling shares. With transaction windows wide open for most companies, we are anticipating much more volume in the weeks to come.

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