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In this article, I will feature one tech stock that has seen intensive insider selling during the last 30 days. Intensive insider selling can be defined by the following three criteria:

  1. The stock was sold by three or more insiders within one month.
  2. The stock was not purchased by any insiders in the month of intensive selling.
  3. At least two sellers decreased their holdings by more than 10%.

Fluidigm Corporation (NASDAQ:FLDM) develops, manufactures, and markets microfluidic systems for academic research institutions, clinical laboratories, pharmaceutical companies, and biotechnology and Ag-Bio companies.

(click to enlarge)

Insider selling during the last 30 days

Here is a table of Fluidigm's insider-trading activity during the last 30 days by insider.

NameTitleTrade DateShares SoldRule 10b5-1Current OwnershipDecrease In Ownership
Robert JonesEVPDec 313,500Yes0 shares + 6,965 options33.4%
Gajus WorthingtonCEODec 16-Jan 212,000Yes53,159 shares18.4%
Fredric WalderCOODec 161,500Yes0 shares + 8,227 options15.4%
Vikram JogCFODec 93,957Yes0 shares + 48,235 options7.6%

There have been 20,957 shares sold by insiders during the last 30 days. All these shares were sold pursuant to a Rule 10b5-1 plan.

SEC Rule 10b5-1 is a regulation enacted by the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) in 2000. The SEC states that Rule 10b5-1 was enacted in order to resolve an unsettled issue over the definition of insider trading, which is prohibited by SEC Rule 10b-5. After Rule 10b5-1 was enacted, the SEC staff publicly took the position that canceling a planned trade made under the safe harbor does not constitute insider trading, even if the person was aware of the inside information when canceling the trade. This staff interpretation raises the possibility that executives can exploit this safe harbor by entering into 10b5-1 trading plans before they have inside information while retaining the option to later cancel those plans based on inside information.

For example, a CEO of a company could call a broker on January 1 and enter into a plan to sell a particular quantity of shares of his company's stock on March 1, find out terrible news about his company on February 1 that will not become public until April 1, and then go forward with the March 1 sale anyway, saving himself from losing money when the bad news becomes public. Under the terms of Rule 10b5-1(b) this is insider trading because the CEO "was aware" of the inside information when he made the trade. But he can assert an affirmative defense under Rule 10b5-1(c), because he planned the trade before he learned the inside information.

In general, it is a safer way for an insider to sell shares pursuant to a Rule 10b5-1 trading plan than without it.

Insider selling by calendar month

Here is a table of Fluidigm's insider-trading activity by calendar month.

MonthInsider selling / sharesInsider buying / shares
January 20136,0000
December 201323,1800
November 201396,4230
October 201329,2500
September 201320,5000
August 201363,0200
July 201320,6610
June 201324,7230
May 201327,6610
April 201320,6610
March 201362,6610
February 201343,3060
January 201351,1220

There have been 489,168 shares sold, and there have been zero shares purchased by insiders since January 2013.

Financials

Fluidigm reported the third-quarter financial results on October 30 with the following highlights:

Revenue$18.3 million
Net loss$4.3 million
Cash$82.8 million

Outlook

Fluidigm's 2013 guidance is as follows:

Revenue growth32%-34%
Operating expenses$65-$68 million
Stock-based compensation expense$6-$7 million
Capital spending$4-$5 million

Competition

Fluidigm's competitors include Affymetrix (NASDAQ:AFFX), Illumina (NASDAQ:ILMN), and Life Technologies Corporation (NASDAQ:LIFE). Here is a table comparing these companies.

CompanyFLDMAFFXILMNLIFEIndustry Average (Scientific & Technical Instruments)
Market Cap:944.35M614.89M13.73B13.10B384.76M
Employees:2781,1002,40010,0001.33K
Qtrly Rev Growth (yoy):0.430.010.250.03-0.13
Revenue:65.96M322.11M1.34B3.84B186.05M
Gross Margin:0.690.550.680.660.46
EBITDA:-14.10M26.96M379.22M1.20B18.36M
Operating Margin:-0.25-0.030.220.210.08
Net Income:-15.48M-37.97M116.55M476.09MN/A
EPS:-0.61-0.530.842.720.92
P/E:N/AN/A129.6127.9212.70
PEG (5 yr expected):-2.412.133.492.565.52
P/S:14.291.8810.383.412.07

Fluidigm has the highest P/S ratio among these four companies.

Here is a table of these competitors' insider-trading activities during the last 30 days.

CompanyInsider buying / sharesInsider selling / shares
AFFX00
ILMN

0

79,875
LIFE00

Illumina has also seen intensive insider selling during the last 30 days.

Conclusion

There have been four different insiders selling Fluidigm, and there have not been any insiders buying Fluidigm during the last 30 days. Three of these four insiders decreased their holdings by more than 10%. Fluidigm has an insider ownership of 0.10%.

There are five analyst buy ratings, two neutral ratings, and zero sell ratings with an average price target of $33.00. Before entering short Fluidigm, I would like to get a bearish confirmation from the Point and Figure chart. The four main reasons for the proposed short entry are bearish analyst price targets, relatively high P/S ratio, negative earnings, and the intensive insider-selling activity.

Source: Fluidigm: 4 Different Insiders Have Sold Shares During The Last 30 Days