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We present here two noteworthy insider buys and eight noteworthy insider sells from Wednesday and Thursday's (April 25th and 26th, 2012) over 350 separate SEC Form 4 (insider trading) filings, as part of our daily and weekly coverage of insider trades (filings in the healthcare, consumer and retail sectors are discussed in a separate article.

The filings are noteworthy based on the dollar amount sold, the number of insiders buying or selling, and based on whether the overall buying or selling represents a strong pick-up based on historical buying and selling in the stock (for more info on how to interpret insider trades, please refer to the end of this article):

PNC Financial Services Group (NYSE:PNC): PNC operates as a diversified financial services company, offering retail banking, corporate and institutional banking, asset management and residential mortgage banking services, via 2,470 branches in PA, NJ, DE, Washington D.C., and 10 other states.

On Wednesday and Thursday, three insiders filed SEC Forms 4 indicating that they exercised options to acquire 53,750 shares, and sold those and an additional 20,000 shares for $4.8 million, with EVP Joan Gulley selling the large majority (42,750 shares), pursuant to a 10b5-1 plan. Insider selling has been intense lately at PNC, with 0.16 million shares reported as being sold in the last week; in comparison, insiders sold 0.48 million shares in the past year.

PNC reported its Q1 (March) last week on Wednesday, beating analyst revenue and earnings estimates; its shares trade at 9-10 forward P/E and 1.1 P/B compared to averages of averages of 10.3 and 0.9 for its peers among major regional banks.

Travelers Companies Inc. (NYSE:TRV): TRV provides commercial and personal property and casualty insurance products and services to businesses, government units, associations and individuals primarily in the U.S.

On Wednesday and Thursday, three insiders filed SEC Forms 4 indicating that they exercised options to acquire 173,846 shares, and sold those and an additional 10,000 shares for $11.5 million, with the large majority of the shares sold by Vice Chairman William Heyman (82,025 shares) and EVP Maria Olivo (90,262 shares). In comparison, insiders sold 0.53 million shares in the past year.

TRV reported a strong Q1 (March) quarter last week on Thursday, missing on revenues but beating analyst earnings estimates ($2.02 v/s $1.53). Its shares are up about 4% since the report, trading at all-time highs and at 10-11 forward P/E and 1.0 P/B compared to averages of 13.3 and 1.8 for its peers in the property and casualty insurance group.

US Bancorp (NYSE:USB): USB is a super-regional financial services holding company, operating full-service branch offices and ATMs, and providing a full range of banking and financial services including brokerage, insurance, investment, mortgage, trust and payment services to individuals, institutions and corporations.

On Wednesday, two insiders filed SEC Forms 4 indicating that they exercised options to acquire 173,474 shares, and sold 166,989 of those shares for $5.3 million, with CFO Andrew Cecere selling 156,054 of those shares. Insider selling has been intense at USB lately, with 0.44 million shares being reported as sold in just the last week; in comparison, insiders sold 0.83 million shares in the past year.

USB shares are up over 15% YTD, compared to the flattish performance for the average regional banking stock. In the most recent Q1 announced last Tuesday, it beat analyst earnings (67c v/s 64c) and revenue estimates, and the shares trade at 10-11 forward P/E and 1.8 P/B compared to averages of 10.2 and 1.1 for its peers among major regional banks.

On top of these, some additional large insider sales on Wednesday and Thursday include:

  • a $31.2 million sale by Chairman Charles Schwab at Schwab Charles Corp. (NYSE:SCHW), that provides brokerage, banking and financial services to individual and institutional clients;
  • a $7.3 million sale by Chairman of the Board and 10% owner Paul Foster, including the sale of 300,000 shares in direct holdings, and another 100,000 shares that he indirectly held via Franklin Mountain Investments Ltd. Partnership, at Western Refining Inc. (NYSE:WNR), that refines and markets crude oil and refined products in West TX, AZ, NM, UT, CO and the mid-Atlantic region;
  • a $2.4 million sale by two insiders at Southern Co. (NYSE:SO), a holding company engaged in generation, transmission and distribution of electricity to customers in AL, GA, FL, MS and NC; and
  • a $1.3 million sale by EVP Thomas Connelly at DuPont De Nemours & Co. (NYSE:DD), that manufactures agricultural, food, building, communications, construction, electronics and other products and raw materials.

Furthermore, insiders also reported noteworthy buys on Wednesday and Thursday in:

  • Basic Energy Services (NYSE:BAS), a provider of well-site services to over 2,000 oil and gas drilling and production companies, in which Director Steven Webster purchased 52,370 shares for $0.71 million, in comparison to 0.17 million shares purchased by insiders in the past year; and
  • Valhi Inc. (NYSE:VHI), engaged in the manufacture of titanium dioxide products and component products in security, furniture, performance marine and waste management industries, in which Chairman of the Board Harold Simmons purchased 5,787 shares for $0.3 million, in comparison to 0.11 million shares purchased by insider in the last six months.

Credit: Fundamental data in this article were based on SEC filings, Zacks Investment Research, Thomson Reuters and The information and data is believed to be accurate, but no guarantees or representations are made.

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.

Source: Noteworthy Insider Trades From Wednesday And Thursday