Insider Selling Light Despite Market Volatility Rising: Apple, Newfield Exploration, Shake Shack, Insperity and More

June 5, 2016 by 247lee

In a week that saw total reversal from the previous week’s reports, insider selling, while still steady, dropped way down in volume. That is somewhat surprising as the S&P 500 once again briefly slipped over the 2,100 level, which is a just a few percentage points below the index’s all-time high. However, one week does not make a trend, and after Friday’s sell-off, volumes could jump back up, especially if we see continued volatility.

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 sells 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 some of the companies that reported notable insider selling last week.

Insperity Inc. (NYSE: NSP) had a gigantic institutional seller last week. Hedge fund Starboard Value sold a massive block of 456,082 shares of the stock at prices that ranged from $70.23 to $71.66. The total for the sales came in at a humongous $32 million. The company provides an array of human resources and business solutions to enhance business performance for small and medium-sized businesses in the United States. The shares closed Friday at $72.30, and this was another beautifully top ticked sale as the stock had run big since the end of April.

Shake Shack Inc. (NYSE: SHAK) is another company in which directors sold stock this past week. The directors at Select Equities and Green Equities parted with a total of 250,000 shares of the company at prices that ranged from $37.37 to $38.17. The total for the sale came in at $9 million. Shake Shack owns, operates and licenses Shake Shack restaurants that offer hamburgers, hot dogs, crispy chicken, crinkle-cut fries, shakes, frozen custard, beer, wine and other products. The stock closed Friday at $36.56, so the timing for these trades looks solid.

Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL) had a senior vice president at the tech giant selling shares this past week. That SVP sold a block of 50,000 shares of the stock at a price of $99 apiece. The total for the sale was posted at $5 million. Apple closed the day on Friday at $97.92, so here too the timing looks solid.

Newfield Exploration Co. (NYSE: NFX) had the man at the top and another executive parting with stock last week. CEO Lee Boothby and a senior vice president sold a total of 75,000 shares at prices that ranged from $40.71 to $41.17. The total for the sale was posted at $3 million. This independent energy company engages in the exploration, development and production of crude oil, natural gas and natural gas liquids in the United States. Its principal areas of operation include the Anadarko and Arkoma basins of Oklahoma, the Williston Basin of North Dakota, the Uinta Basin of Utah and the Maverick and Gulf Coast basins of Texas. The stock closed Friday at $39.60.

Xylem Inc. (NYSE: XYL) has been on a big run, and a director took advantage of it this past week. That director sold 50,000 shares of the stock at prices that ranged from $44.60 to $44.73. The total for the sale came in at $2 million. Xylem engages in the design, manufacture and application of engineered technologies for the water and wastewater applications. The stock closed Friday at $45.48.

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These companies also reported insider selling last week: LHC Group Inc. (NASDAQ: LHCG), Martin Marietta Materials Inc. (NYSE: MLM) and Microchip Technology Inc. (NASDAQ: MCHP).

A very slow week for the insider selling, but again, one week isn’t a trend. It will prove interesting to see the activity through the rest of the month. We are only about 30 days from second-quarter earnings season staring, so those blackout windows will start to shut once again.