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Are These Companies’ Insiders Selling Shares For A Merrier Christmas?

Cheniere Energy Inc. (NYSEMKT:LNG) has also witnessed strong insider trading activity on the sell side recently. Vicky A. Bailey, Director, Chairman of the Governance and Nominating Committee and a member of the Audit Committee, offloaded 15,997 shares on Monday at a weighted average price of $35.92. Following the sizable sell-off, the Director holds a stake of 43,226 shares. Earlier this month, Cheniere’s Board of Directors terminated the employment of Charif Souki as the CEO and President of the company, and appointed Neal A. Shear as interim CEO and President instead. Numerous sources suggest that Charif Souki was fired because of his aggressive expansion plans. The sustained glut in the LNG market does not spur optimism, so it is quite clear why an aggressive expansion strategy was not applauded by the Board that also includes two members appointed by activist investor Carl Icahn. The Houston-based energy company that engages in LNG-related businesses has seen its stock decline 44% since the beginning of the year, but it skyrocketed by more than 8% on Wednesday. The number of smart money investors from our database with positions in the company declined to 62 from 76 during the third quarter, amassing a whopping 62.30% of its outstanding common stock. Icahn Enterprises owned28.55 million shares of Cheniere Energy Inc. (NYSEMKT:LNG) at the end of September, but the activist fund has been gradually boosting up its stake in the company since the end of the latest quarter and has last reported holding some 30.82 million shares.

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Equity Residential (NYSE:EQR) has registered a high volume of insider selling activity over the past week or so, but most insider sales were conducted in connection to the exercise of stock options. Director John W. Alexander reported selling 16,491 shares on Tuesday at $80.08 apiece, all of which were owned through the Equity Residential Supplemental Executive Retirement Plan (SERP). After the recent sell-off, his SERP account holds a stake of 15,023 shares. The Director also holds a direct ownership stake of 73,041 shares. The shares of this real estate investment trust that focuses on the acquisition and management of high-quality apartment properties are up 12% this year. The company aims at finding the right mix of occupancy and rental rates that maximize its revenues, and it seems that its management has been successful in pursuing this goal. Equity Residential reported revenues of nearly $1.92 billion for the first nine months of this year, as compared with $1.82 billion reported for the same period a year ago. This increase was mainly attributable to higher average rental rates and higher occupancy. Its diluted earnings per share for the nine-month period that ended September 30 came to $1.80, up from $1.13 reported a year ago. Jeffrey Furber’s AEW Capital Management trimmed its stake in Equity Residential (NYSE:EQR) by 8% during the July-to-September period to 3.91 million shares.

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