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This report, part of our weekly coverage of insider trades (based on last week’s SEC Forms 3, 4, and 5 filings), summarizes last week’s major insider filings across multiple sectors, including financial, healthcare, transportation and utility sectors (for a general discussion on how to interpret insider trades, please see the bottom section of this article):

Xcel Energy Inc. (NYSE:XEL): XEL is engaged in the generation, purchase, transmission, distribution and sale of electricity to residential, commercial and industrial customers, as well as to public authorities in the U.S. Insiders currently hold 2.3 million shares or 0.5% of outstanding shares, and last week Chairman and CEO Benjamin Fowke exercised options and sold the resulting 29,000 shares (regular sell) for $0.8 million. Insiders have been aggressively selling XEL In recent weeks, as in the past two weeks alone four insiders have sold a total of 70,300 shares. This is significant because the last time insiders sold stock in the company was in 2009, and during the past year they bought 3,190 shares. XEL shares are trading at 9-year highs, and acceleration in insider selling at this time indicates that insiders are not as sanguine about the stock as outside investors.

Meritor Inc. (NYSE:MTOR): MTOR manufactures mobility and braking solutions for original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) of trucks, trailers, and specialty vehicles. Insiders currently hold 3.0 million shares or 3.2% of outstanding shares, and last week Director William Newlin bought 72,000 shares for $0.4 million, increasing his holdings in the company to 122,923 shares. Besides being a large purchase, the insider buy is also significant as in the last year insiders purchased only an additional 5,115 shares (by Mr. Newlin in February); they sold 76,466 shares during the same period. Furthermore, the purchase last week is also significant given that MTOR has been in a free fall recently, slashed by over a third in just the last week after it guided down for FY 2012 in its latest Q3 report.

Duke Energy Corp. (NYSE:DUK): DUK provides electrical and natural gas utility services to about 4 million electric and 500,000 gas customers in the Americas. Insiders currently hold 4.7 million shares or 0.4% of outstanding shares, and last week two corporate insiders exercised their options and sold (all regular sales) a total of 0.69 million shares for $14.3 million. This is on top of the selling we reported at Duke just last week, when three insiders reported selling a total of 1.67 million shares. This brings the grand total for insider selling at DUK just in the last two weeks to 2.36 million shares, of which CEO James Rogers sold 2.31 million shares. This is significant because insider selling is not that common at DUK, as in the past year insiders sold only an additional 0.09 million shares (buying none).

Avanir Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ:AVNR): AVNR develops products to treat the central nervous system and inflammatory diseases. Insiders currently hold 26.5 million shares or 21.4% of outstanding shares, and last week VP of Finance Christine Ocampo exercised options and sold 92,250 shares (automatic sell) for $0.24 million, ending the week with 40,922 shares. Insiders have been active sellers recently, as just two months ago, SVP & Chief Medical Officer Randall Kaye reported selling 100,000 shares (automatic sell), ending with only 65,690 shares. This is significant given that the shares were a significant part of both their portfolio, and that insiders have sold only an additional 0.28 million shares (buying none) during the past year. Furthermore, AVNR shares have been weak recently, trading near their lows, so the recent large sales do not do much to inspire confidence in the company from outside investors.

Hanmi Financial Corp. (NASDAQ:HAFC): HAFC is a holding company for Hanmi Bank that provides general business banking products and services in the U.S. These include checking and savings accounts, money market accounts, CODs, real estate loans, commercial and industrial loans, consumer loans, and various insurance products. Insiders currently hold 9.3% of outstanding shares, and last week seven insiders (the CEO, CFO, Investor Relations Officer and four directors) bought a total of 273,500 shares for $0.22 million. This is significant given the number of insiders who bought company stock and also given that these were the only insider purchases this year.

Ventas Inc. (NYSE:VTR): VTR is a publicly-owned real estate investment trust (REIT) that engages in the investment, management, financing and leasing of hospitals, skilled nursing facilities, senior housing facilities, medical office buildings, and other healthcare related facilities in the U.S. and Canada. Insiders currently hold 2.0 million shares or 0.7% of outstanding shares. Last week two insiders (the President and a Director) reported selling a total of 84,781 shares (regular sells) for $4.6 million, with 34,781 of those shares resulting from the exercising of options. This is significant given that the last time insiders sold was six months ago, and in the past year insiders sold only a total of 279,068 shares (buying none).

Alimera Sciences Inc. (NASDAQ:ALIM): ALIM is a biopharmaceutical company focusing on diseases affecting the back of the eye or retina. Insiders currently hold 9.6 million shares or 30.8% of outstanding shares. Last week, institutional insider and Venture Capital firm Polaris Venture Partners sold 0.47 million shares for $0.74 million, ending the week with 3.25 million shares. This is on top of the 235,000 shares that Polaris sold just last week, and the 300,000 shares it sold in October. ALIM shares took a near 90% dive recently, most in the past week, after they reported on November 11th that they received a complete response letter from the FDA for ILUVIEN, their lead product candidate for the treatment of diabetic macular edema associated with diabetic retinopathy. It would seem based on Polaris’s selling activity even after the huge drop that they are not looking at the low price as a bargain just yet.

Norfolk Southern Corp. (NYSE:NSC): NSC via Norfolk Southern Railway operates a 20,000-mile railroad in 22 states and D.C. Insiders currently hold 2.6 million shares or 0.7% of outstanding shares, and during the last week, three insiders exercised their options and sold (regular sells) the resulting 38,548 shares for $2.9 million, including EVP & COO Mark Manion (29,459 shares), EVP & CMO Donald Seale (13,089 shares) and EVP Law & Corporate Relations James Hixon (5,000 shares). This is on top of the three other insiders selling NSC that we reported just two weeks ago. This is significant not just in that six different insiders sold in the last three weeks, but also that the last time insiders sold company stock was in May, and overall during the past year they sold only an additional 76,970 shares (buying none).

Disclosure: I have no positions in any stocks mentioned, and no plans to initiate any positions within the next 72 hours.

Disclaimer: Material presented here is for informational purposes only. Nothing in this article should be taken as a solicitation to purchase or sell securities. Before buying or selling any stock you should do your own research and reach your own conclusion. Further, these are our ‘opinions’ and we may be wrong. We may have positions in securities mentioned in this article. You should take this into consideration before acting on any advice given in this article. If this makes you uncomfortable, then do not listen to our thoughts and opinions. The contents of this article do not take into consideration your individual investment objectives so consult with your own financial adviser before making an investment decision. Investing includes certain risks including loss of principal.