The opening week of trading in 2017 played out pretty much the way we expected it to here at 24/7 Wall St. We have thought all along that with the election of Donald Trump back in November, many insiders, hedge funds and other institutional accounts would wait until 2017 to sell shares. The basic premise is that nominal tax rates may be lowered, and they would be retroactive to the first of the year. As a result, we saw a ton of selling last week.
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 portfolios or purchase other assets.
Here are companies that reported notable insider selling last week.
Alphabet Inc. (NASDAQ: GOOGL) had the president of the company selling shares again this past week. Brin Sergey sold a total of 33,340 shares of the stock at a reported price of $795.26. The total for the sale came in at a stunning $26,513,962. The shares traded on Friday’s close at $825.21, so some money was left on the table. The 52-week trading range for the search giant is $672.96 to $839.00. The Wall Street consensus price target is $968.55.
Charles Schwab Corp. (NYSE: SCHW) saw the president and CEO, Walter Bettinger, selling share this past week. The total for the block of 484,000 shares sold at $40.83 apiece was listed to a whopping $19,777,736. The shares closed near that level on Friday, at $41.23. The 52-week range is $21.51 to $41.52. The consensus price objective is $41.33.
Ingersoll-Rand PLC (NYSE: IR) also had its board chair and the chief executive selling stock this past week. Michael Lamach parted with a total of 213,083 shares of the industrial giant at $75.62 apiece. The total for the trade was posted at $16,113,869. The stock closed trading last Friday at $75.06, in a 52-week range of $47.08 to $79.21. The consensus price objective is $80.32.
Adobe Systems Inc. (NASDAQ: ADBE) had its board’s co-chair shedding stock last week. Charles Geschke sold 48,100 shares for $104.03 per share. The total for the trade was posted at $5,003,800. The shares ended the week at $108.30, so here too some money was left on the table. Shares have traded between $71.27 and $111.09 in the past year, and the consensus price target is $122.16.
Priceline Inc.‘s (NASDAQ: PCLN) executive chairmen trimmed his stake last week. Jeffrey Boyd sold a total of 3,000 shares of the online travel giant at $1477.17. The total for the sale was set at $4,431,518. The stock closed on Friday at $1,520.57. So like some other sales we reported from last week, cash was left on the table. The 52-week range here is $954.02 to $1,600.93, and the consensus price target is $1,721.53.
These companies also reported insider selling last week: Actuant Corp. (NYSE: ATU), Applied Materials Inc. (NASDAQ: AMAT), National Retail Properties Inc. (NYSE: NNN), NVIDIA Inc. (NASDAQ: NVDA) and Vector Group Ltd. (NYSE: VGR).
While the volume of sellers swamped the buyers last week, the potential for tax savings under the Trump administration may have been a very motivating factor. Again, with earnings coming, many windows for insiders to sell may be closing soon as well.