Five Wal-Mart Stores Inc. executives took advantage of the stock’s biggest rally in nine years to a record high last week to sell a total of $11 million worth of shares, as soon as they were allowed to trade.
had shot up 10.9% on Thursday to a record close of $99.62, after the discount retail behemoth reported fiscal third-quarter earnings, revenue and same-store sales that beat expectations. That was the biggest one-day percentage gain since Oct. 28, 2008.
The next day, the stock pulled back by 2.2%, trading in an intraday range of $96.58 to $100.13 before closing at $97.47.
Some time Friday morning, President and Chief Executive of Walmart International David Cheesewright had sold 55,000 common shares at $99.29, in an open market or private sale, to raise $5.46 million, according to a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
John Furner, president and chief executive of Sam’s Club, and David Chojnowski, a senior vice president and Wal-Mart’s controller also sold shares at the same price. Furner sold 1,200 share to raise $119,148, while Chojnowski sold 684.2 shares to raise about $67,932.
Executive Vice President of corporate affairs Dan Bartlett raised $194,780 by selling 2,000 shares at $97.39 and Greg Foran, chief executive of Walmart U.S., raised $5.11 million by selling 52,793 shares at about $96.86.
Wal-Mart executives are only allowed to trade their shares during certain “windows” after they have pre-cleared the trades with the Corporate Secretary, according to the company’s proxy statement.
The five executives sold their shares just as the current “window” opened, which was one day after earnings were reported. The window will remain open until Dec. 29, said company spokesperson Randy Hargrove.
“The decision to sell stock is a personal one made by our executives,” Hargrove told MarketWatch. “It’s part of their portfolio diversification.”
So far, the some of executives appear to have made good decisions while others not quite. Wal-Mart’s stock erased early losses of as much as 1.8% to close Monday inch up at penny at $97.48, which is 0.1% above Bartlett’s selling price and 0.6% above Foran’s selling price, but still 1.8% below where Cheesewright, Furner and Chojnowski sold their stock.
Don’t miss: Wal-Mart is taking its battle with Amazon to higher-end customers.
See also: Wal-Mart might finally be a better investment than Amazon.
Following second-quarter results on Aug. 17, which sent the stock down 1.6% to $79.70, a number of insiders, including Walton family members, disclosed share sales four-to-six business days after the results. After first-quarter 2016 results reported on May 19 that year, which sent the stock soaring 9.6% to $69.20, there were no disclosures of share sales the rest of the month.
Wal-Mart’s proxy states that certain senior officers “must maintain beneficial ownership of unrestricted shares having a market value equal to five times his or her current annual base salary.”
Cheesewright’s annual base salary was $1.07 million in 2017, according to the proxy statement, while Foran’s was $1.01 million. The salaries of the other selling executives weren’t disclosed in the proxy.
Wal-Mart’s stock has run up 22.9% over the past three months, while the SPDR S&P Retail exchange-traded fund
has climbed 10.2% and the Dow Jones Industrial Average
has rallied 8.1%. Year to date, the stock has soared 41.0%, while the retail ETF has lost 4.5% and the Dow has gained 18.6%.