One thing that is almost a certainty on Wall Street — and to be sure, those are few and far between — record highs in the markets will almost always bring out the sellers. That was certainly the case this past week, and despite the markets slowing down from the torrid November pace, the sellers were more than ready to take advantage of the near record levels and the ample liquidity.
We cover insider selling every week at 24/7 Wall St., and we like to remind our 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 portfolios or purchase other assets.
Here are companies that reported notable insider selling this past week:
Guaranty Bancorp (NASDAQ: GBNK) had a director unload a gigantic block of 1 million shares last week. That director sold the stock at prices that ranged from $20.75 to $21.09 a share. The total for the sale was posted at a stunning $21 million. The company operates as the bank holding company for Guaranty Bank and Trust Company, which provides various banking and other financial services to consumers and small to medium-sized businesses. The shares closed Friday at $21.40, so some money was definitely left on the table.
Las Vegas Sands Inc. (NYSE: LVS) had the president of the company selling stock last week. Robert Goldstein parted with a total of 169,111 shares at prices that ranged from $62.53 to $63.27 apiece. The total for the trade was posted at $11 million. The casino giant closed the day on Friday at $60.99, so well timed, it would appear.
Invesco Ltd. (NYSE: IVZ) had a senior managing director selling shares of the financial services company last week. That director shed a total of 140,000 shares at between $31.22 and $31.44 apiece. The total for the sale was posted at $4 million. Invesco closed on Friday at $31.42 a share.
Cracker Barrel Old Country Store Inc. (NASDAQ: CBRL) hits our 24/7 insider screens for the second time in the past 30 days. President Sandra Cochran and a senior vice president at the restaurant giant combined to sell a total of 40,000 shares at prices that range from $164.11 to $165.55. That netted them some $7 million. The shares closed trading on Friday at $166.00, so here too some cash left on the table.
EOG Resources Inc.‘s (NYSE: EOG) president and the chief financial officer sold shares last week. Gary Thomas and Timothy Driggers combined to sell a total of 70,000 shares at between $101.51 and $102.16 per share. The total came in at $7 million. EOG Resources explores for, develops, produces and markets crude oil and natural gas. Its principal producing areas are located in New Mexico, North Dakota, Texas, Utah and Wyoming in the United States; and Canada, the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago, the United Kingdom and the People’s Republic of China. The stock ended the week at $103.74, so a chunk left on the table, it appears.
These companies also reported insider selling last week: Avis Budget Group Inc. (NASDAQ: CAR), Eversource Energy (NYSE: ES), Insperity Inc. (NYSE: NSP), LendingClub Corp. (NYSE: LC) and Raymond James Financial Inc. (NYSE: RJF).
It’s probably a safe bet to assume that if the markets remain at these lofty levels the rest of the year, we will see continued volume growth from insiders selling shares. We will continue to look for selling in distressed companies, which is always a warning sign.