Massive Technology Trades Highlight Insider Selling: Google, Facebook, NVIDIA, Ciena and More

With a huge trading year in the books last Friday, it’s no surprise that many top executives took advantage of the best December since 2010 and sold stock. This past week we noticed many trades on the top technology companies, and given the solid advances in the stocks this year, it was no surprise. In addition, with first quarter-earnings in about two weeks, most insider windows for transactions will be closing soon.

We cover insider selling each 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 this past week. Brin Sergey parted with a total of 33,332 shares of the stock at a reported price of $802.38. The total for the sale came in at a stunning $26,751,574. The traded closed on Friday at $792.45, so the timing looks solid. The 52-week trading range for the search giant is $672.66 to $839. The Wall Street consensus price target is $967.

Facebook Inc. (NASDAQ: FB) had another tech industry giant selling stock recently, The Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg sold a total of 109,000 shares at $117.65 apiece. The total proceeds from her trade was set at $12,824,074. The stock was trading at $115.o5 on Friday’s close. The 52-week range for the social media conglomerate is $89.37 to $133.50, and the consensus price target is $155.56.

Square Inc. (NYSE: SQ) had the president, CEO, chairman and co-founder, Jack Dorsey, selling shares this past week. He surrendered a total of 381,500 shares at a share price of $14.09. The total for the sale was posted at $5,375,764. The company develops and provides payment processing, point-of-sale, financial and marketing services worldwide. Its stock ended last week $13.63. The 52-week trading range is $8.06 to $15.91. The consensus price target is $14.14.

NVIDIA Corp. (NASDAQ: NVDA) has been red-hot and a director at the chip company yielded some shares. Tench Coxe sold a block of 50,000 shares at a price of $116.70. The total for the sale was posted at $5,834,930. The stock was the number one performer in the S&P 500 this past year, with a 52-week trading range of a stunning $24.75 to $119.73. The consensus price target is $92.65, but shares closed way above that last Friday at $106.74.

Ciena Corp. (NYSE: CIEN) is another tech company that saw insider selling last week. The president and CEO of the optical giant, Gary Smith, sold a reported 114,318 shares at $24.67 per share. The total for the trade was set at a solid $2,820,225. Shares closed last Friday at $24.41, in a 52-week range of $15.62 to $25.19. The consensus price target is $28.36.

These companies also reported insider selling last week: Autodesk Inc. (NASDAQ: ADSK), BB&T Corp. (NYSE: BBT), Famous Dave’s of America Inc. (NASDAQ: DAVE), Stifel Financial Corp. (NYSE: SF) and Stryker Corp. (NYSE: SYK).

Given the big runs in these stocks this year, none of this selling is a surprise. And as noted, with windows for trading closing fast, many are getting transactions in before the deadlines.