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Should Investors Worry About the Voluminous Insider Selling at These Companies?

Sohu.com Inc. (NASDAQ:SOHU) has also registered a high volume of insider selling this week. Director Edward B. Roberts reported selling 42,645 shares on Monday and Tuesday, at prices of between $49.53 and $50.09 per share, all of which were held through two separate trust funds. After these transactions, these two trust funds aggregately hold 223,514 shares of Sohu.com. The Director also holds a direct ownership stake comprised of 24,088 shares.

The Chinese online media, search and game services company has seen its shares decline by 7% this year, so the aforementioned insider sale may serve as cause for concern, considering the disappointing performance. The company’s total revenue for the first three quarters of 2015 totaled $1.47 billion, up from $1.20 billion reported for the same period of last year. At the same time, Sohu.com’s diluted net loss per share tightened considerably, to $0.52 from $3.91 reported for the same nine-month period of last year. However, the company’s brand advertising business was impacted by the softening Chinese economy in the third quarter, as traditional brand advertisers cut their marketing budgets. The strengthening U.S dollar against the RMB also impacted Sohu.com’s financial results. The number of smart money investors from our database with positions in the company declined to 17 from 23 during the third quarter. William B. Gray’s Orbis Investment Management upped its position in Sohu.com Inc. (NASDAQ:SOHU) by 4% during the July-to-September period, to 6.91 million shares.

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Raymond James Financial Inc. (NYSE:RJF) is another company that witnessed a sizable insider sale in the past several days. Executive Chairman Thomas A. James reported selling 130,498 shares on Friday and then another 18,141 shares on Monday, at prices in the range of $59.25-to-$59.69 per share, trimming his overall holdings to 13.37 million shares. The Executive Chairman also holds an indirect ownership stake of 1.33 million shares via a trust fund called the Robert A. James Trust.

The shares of the financial services and bank holding company have gained approximately 1% since the beginning of the year despite experiencing a significant pullback in mid-August. The financial performance of the company is strongly correlated to the direction of the U.S equity and fixed income markets, and the strength of the corporate and mortgage lending markets. This might explain the strong growth delivered by Raymond James over the past several years. The company reported net revenue of $5.2 billion for fiscal year 2015, an increase of 7% year-over-year, marking the sixth-straight year with a record top-line figure for the company. Raymond James delivered net income of $502 million for fiscal year 2015, up by $22 million compared to fiscal year 2014. Ken Fisher’s Fisher Asset Management cut its holding of Raymond James Financial Inc. (NYSE:RJF) shares by 3% during the latest quarter, to 1.57 million shares.

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Disclosure: None

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