New York (CNN Business)US stocks are on the cusp of a remarkable feat: setting new all-time highs during the middle of a pandemic.
Yet there are signs that at least some leaders of Corporate America are skeptical about the sustainability of a mega rally that has catapulted the S&P 500 by 51% since the March 23 lows.
CEOs, leading shareholders and other senior executives are rushing to take chips off the table.
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So-called insiders have dumped more than $50 billion worth of shares since the start of May, according to TrimTabs Investment Research. August is on track to be the third month of the past four where insider selling exceeded $15 billion, TrimTabs said. Insider selling is at a pace unseen since 2006.
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The pace of insider selling could be a warning sign for the booming market because insiders, by definition, are privy to more information about the true health of their companies than average investors. And if they were confident in the market rally, insiders would be unlikely to sell now. Yet many are heading for the exits just as markets make new milestones.
“If you’re an executive and you see a challenging economic environment, the market is giving you a gift with this sharp rebound,” said Peter Boockvar, chief investment officer at Bleakley Advisory Group. “Insiders apparently are thinking this is a time to exercise options.”