After remaining relatively close for much of the year, the ratio of insider selling to insider buying has spiked in August. There were 339 insider sales transactions registered on August 17, the second-highest single-day total of the year, while single-day insider purchase volume hasn’t topped 100 since early-July. That lead into Wall Street’s worst week since June, as the Dow fell by 0.83% last week, while the S&P 500 declined by 0.66% and the Nasdaq shed 0.36% of its value.
With the potential for a near-term interest rate hike looking more likely, it could be another moribund week for stocks, as investors take profits and prepare their portfolios for what’s to come. Insider selling will likely continue to be high as well, if the close to last week is any indication. In this article we’ll take a look at the most noteworthy insider transactions registered at five companies on Friday, all of which were sales. Those companies are Alon USA Energy, Inc. (NYSE:ALJ), Procter & Gamble Co (NYSE:PG), World Wrestling Entertainment, Inc. (NYSE:WWE), NetApp Inc. (NASDAQ:NTAP), and Evercore Partners Inc. (NYSE:EVR).
Through extensive research that covered the portfolios of several hundred large investors between 1999 and 2012, we determined that following the small-cap stocks that large money managers are collectively bullish on, can generate monthly returns nearly 1.0 percentage points above the market (see the details here).
Former CEO of Alon USA Energy, Inc. (NYSE:ALJ) Sells 105,000 Shares
Let’s start with Alon USA Energy, Inc. (NYSE:ALJ), whose Executive Director David Wiessman sold some shares during the second-half of last week. Mr. Wiessman, who was the company’s President and CEO from 2000 to 2005, sold three blocks of 35,000 shares each from August 24 to August 26, at prices of between $7.23 and $7.42 per share. Following the sales, Mr. Wiessman has direct ownership of 2.51 million shares.
Alon USA Energy posted mixed financial results towards the end of July, beating revenue expectations soundly, but missing bottom-line estimates by $0.02 per share. Shares have been strong since then, gaining nearly 15% despite faltering on August 9 when two of the company’s other insiders reported sales. Shares of the refiner have lost 59% of their value over the last year. 15 funds in our database were Alon USA Energy shareholders on June 30.
Two Executives Unload Shares of Procter & Gamble Co (NYSE:PG)
Two executives sold small batches of Procter & Gamble Co (NYSE:PG) shares last week, beginning with Chief Legal Officer and Secretary Deborah Majoras, who sold 6,069 shares on Friday at an average price of $88.33 per share. Ms. Majoras now owns 37,363 shares directly and 1,245 shares indirectly through Retirement Plan Trustees. Also on Friday, Group President of P&G’s Global Beauty and Hair Care division, Patrice Louvet, sold 3,230 shares for an average price of $87.60 per share, dropping his direct ownership stake to 52,838 shares. Mr. Louvet also holds an indirect stake through Retirement Plan Trustees, consisting of 4,744 shares.
The top new pick of AQR Capital Management, P&G has been slowly but steadily rising throughout the past three months as it continues to test and push the boundaries of its 52-week highs. With online razor brand Harry’s being launched nationwide in Target Corporation (NYSE:TGT) locations last week, there is some concern that discount shavers could steal some of P&G’s facial hair-slicing thunder. Jefferies recently reiterated its ‘Buy’ rating and $98 price target on Procter & Gamble however, stating that increased competition in the sector has already been baked into their target price, which is $10.42 higher than the stock’s current price.
We’ll continue our discussion of recent insider trading activity with a look at the trades executed by three other companies’ executives last week.