Statistics reveal that insider selling activity has increased significantly over the past several months, which might spur concerns about the current valuations of U.S-listed companies. TrimTabs Investment Research, an independent institutional research firm, recently revealed that the volume of insider selling totaled $7.6 billion in November, marking the fourth-highest monthly volume on record. Some market participants believe that this high level of insider selling activity could push non-insiders to start cashing out their equity holdings as well. Nonetheless, one should not forget that insiders can sell stock for numerous reasons, not all of which are related to their companies’ current valuations or future developments, including diversification and personal cash needs. Having this in mind, the following article will reveal several noteworthy insider sales registered at three companies and will also discuss the performance of these companies over the past several months.
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RenaissanceRe Holdings Ltd. (NYSE:RNR) has registered high insider trading activity on the sell side this week. Mark Alexander Wilcox, Chief Accounting Officer, Senior Vice President and Corporate Controller, reported selling 30,366 shares on Monday at a weighted average price of $113.21, cutting his total stake to 47,029 shares. The shares of the global provider of reinsurance and insurance coverage have gained 14% thus far in 2015 and 79% over the past five-year period. Nevertheless, RenaissanceRe Holdings Ltd. (NYSE:RNR) has a cheap trailing price-to-earnings ratio of only 9.71, which is significantly below the average of 22.71 for the companies included in the S&P 500. On March 2, RenaissanceRe completed its previously-announced acquisition of property and casualty reinsurance coverage provider Platinum for roughly $1.93 billion. This deal has enabled to the company to broaden its portfolio of product offerings, but is also anticipated to accelerate the growth of its U.S specialty and casualty reinsurance platform. In the meantime, RenaissanceRe’s total revenue for the first three quarters of 2015 added up to $1.14 billion, compared to $941.28 million reported for the same period of last year. The number of hedge funds from our database with stakes in the company dropped to 19 from 26 during the third quarter. Ken Griffin’s Citadel Advisors LLC reduced its position in RenaissanceRe Holdings Ltd. (NYSE:RNR) by 17% during the latest quarter to 1.23 million shares.
We can now refocus our attention on the insider selling activity at Range Resources Corp. (NYSE:RRC). Executive Chairman and Director John H. Pinkerton discarded 36,998 shares on Monday and 64,288 shares on Tuesday at a weighted average price of $26.19, cutting his direct ownership stake to 706,578 shares. The Chairman also holds an indirect ownership stake of 817,882 shares via a Deferred Compensation Account, along with an additional 181,798 shares held through his Individual Retirement Account (IRA).
The revenue, profitability and growth of the Texas-based independent natural gas, natural gas liquids (NGLs) and oil company is highly dependent on the prices for those commodities. Therefore, it is no wonder why the shares of Range Resources are down by 51% this year. Meanwhile, the prices for commodities continue to remain under pressure due to increased worries about oversupply, so the company’s cost-cutting efforts will determine its profitability for the near future. Range Resources has already closed its operational office in Oklahoma City to reduce administrative expenses, and has also reduced personnel in legacy Pennsylvania operating areas. The company’s ability to reduce costs represents a major milestone towards future profitability and success. John H. Scully’s SPO Advisory Corp holds a 5.35 million-share position in Range Resources Corp. (NYSE:RRC) as of September 30.
Manhattan Associates Inc. (NASDAQ:MANH) is another company that saw an insider sell a sizable portion of its stake this week. Director Brian J. Cassidy offloaded 21,420 shares on Tuesday at a weighted average price of $76.36. After the recent sell-off, the Director continues to hold a stake of 68,410 shares. The supply chain management technology company has seen its stock advance by 79% in 2015 and by 147% over the past two years, so it is no surprise that insiders are cashing out amid high uncertainty and volatility. Global macroeconomic trends, increased spending on technology and supply chain management market growth have played an important role in Manhattan Associates’ growth path in recent years. Nevertheless, the highly-competitive industry the company operates in, which is also subject to rapid technological developments, can put pressure on product prices, gross margins and market share. The company’s total revenue for the nine months that ended September 30 totaled $414.9 million, which was up from $361.70 million reported for the same period of last year. Manhattan Associates received quite a bit more attention from the hedge funds tracked by Insider Monkey during the third quarter, as the number of smart money investors with positions in the company climbed to 20 from 14 quarter-over-quarter. Renaissance Technologies reduced its stake in Manhattan Associates Inc. (NASDAQ:MANH) by 12% during the July-to-September period, ending the quarter with 2.13 million shares.