Market Rally Has Insiders Making Massive Sales: Apple, Blackstone, Michaels Companies, IHS Markit, Hudson Pacific Properties and More

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Nothing like a good old-fashioned market rally to get the insiders to part with some shares, and who could blame them? With two 10% or so corrections over the past year, a stock market hitting all-time highs is a gift-wrapped present for shareholders at major companies to take profits. With the second-quarter earnings season in full-swing, some insiders may still be patiently waiting for corporate selling windows to open back up, so we could see the selling continue into August.

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:

IHS Markit

A director at IHS Markit Ltd. (NASDAQ: MRKT) sold a huge position in the company. William Ford parted with a total of 7,010,911 shares of the stock at prices that ranged from $35.55 to $36.37. The total for the blockbuster stock sale was reported at a stunning $249,909,032.

Markit is a global, financial information and services company with more than 4,000 employees, founded in 2003 as independent source of credit derivative pricing, and recently merged with Colorado based IHS. The shares closed last Friday at $32.93.

Blackstone

Blackstone Group L.P. (NYSE: BX) had a big seller last week, and it was actually themselves. Blackstone Holdings II, a 10% owner of the company, sold a total of 12,209,704 shares of the stock at $20.67 per share. The total for the massive sale was posted at $252,374,582.

Blackstone is a publicly owned investment manager. The firm also provides financial advisory services to its clients. It provides its services to public and corporate pension funds, academic, cultural and charitable organizations. The firm manages separate client focused portfolios. It launches and manages private equity funds, real estate funds, funds of hedge funds and credit-focused funds for its clients. It invests in private equity, public equity, fixed income and alternative investment markets.

The stock closed Friday at $27.42, so a pile was left on the table, as earlier last week the company had reported outstanding second-quarter earnings.

Michaels

Insiders and private equity holders absolutely unload shares of Michaels Companies Inc. (NYSE: MIK) as part of their huge positions. Four investors, which included directors, Bain Capital and Blackstone, sold a total of 31,719,540 shares of the stock at $27.71 apiece. The total for the gigantic sale was $878,948,453. The sale was part of a secondary offering.

Michaels Companies owns and operates a chain of arts and crafts specialty retail stores under the Michaels and Aaron Brothers names in North America. Its Michaels stores offer approximately 35,000 stock-keeping units (SKUs) in crafts, home décor and seasonal, framing and paper crafting. Its Aaron Brothers stores offer approximately 6,000 SKUs, including photo frames, a line of ready-made frames, art prints, framed art, art supplies and custom framing. The shares ended the week at $26.04.

Hudson Pacific Properties

Last week, Hudson Pacific Properties Inc. (NYSE: HPP) had a director at the company selling shares. Richard Fried parted with a total of 804,627 shares of the stock at a price of $30.32 apiece. The total for the trade came in at a tidy $24,396,291.

The company operates as a vertically integrated real estate trust (REIT) in the United States. It engages in owning, operating and acquiring office, and media and entertainment properties, primarily in Los Angeles, Orange County, San Diego, San Francisco, Silicon Valley and the East Bay. Shares were changing hands at $32.65 as Friday’s trading session came to a close. Again, a big pile left on the table here.

Apple

A senior vice president at Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL) reduced a stake in the tech giant last week. Angela Ahrendts gave up a total of 35,797 shares of the stock at $100 per share. The total for the trade was posted at $3,579,700. Apple is expected to report earnings on July 26. The stock closed on Friday at $98.66, so it seems a well-timed trade.

And Others

These companies also reported insider selling this past week: Adobe Systems Inc. (NASDAQ: ADBE), Dynex Capital Inc. (NYSE: DX), MasterCard Inc. (NYSE: MA), Occidental Petroleum Corp. (NYSE: OXY) and Salesforce.com Inc. (NYSE: CRM).

While some of these sales are truly staggering in size, it should be noted that some were private equity monetizing their investment. Like last week, sellers are swamping buyers, with the market hitting all-time highs, and that in of itself should not concern investors. When they sell during corrections, that is the time to be concerned.