Companies’ leaders are selling their stock at record rates, some for the first time, ahead of possible hikes in capital gains rates, other changes in tax structures, and the growing likelihood of a stock market correction, The Wall Street Journal reported.
This year to date, 48 corporate leaders have each raked in at least $200 million through stock sales, about four times more than the usual yearly number from 2016 through 2020, according to the WSJ. The total taken out in November alone was $15.59 billion.
The list of those who collected include cosmetics heir Ronald Lauder and Meta Platforms’ Mark Zuckerberg.
Members of the Walton family collectively cashed in about $6.5 billion worth of shares this year, after Walmart posted rising sales in each of this year’s first three quarters and their company’s shares hovered near record prices.
Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella sold half his company stock last month, collecting $374 million; Google founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin each have sold about 600,000 shares this year in parent company Alphabet, each grossing almost $1.5 billion before taxes.
Michael Dell, founder of Dell Technologies, sold $254 million in shares, while David Rubenstein, co-chair of the Carlyle Group private equity firm, unloaded 11 million shares of his company in return for $495 million.
Among S&P 500 companies, company higher-ups have sold a record $63.5 billion in shares this year, more than a 50-percent increase compared to 2020.
Tech bigwigs led with $41 billion in cash-outs, followed by corporate leaders in the financial sector.
The mass sale is “unprecedented,” accounting professor Daniel Taylor at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business told the WSJ.
The current rush to the cash window resembles the wave of sales as the dot-com boom busted in the early 2000s, he said.
TREND FORECAST: That the Bigs on the inside-track are bailing out of their stocks, to us, is a warning signal: Markets Beware. The worst is coming soon.
TRENDPOST: In 2020, CEOs of the 350 largest U.S. corporations made an average of $24.2 million, 351 times more in compensation than workers at those same companies who earn an average paycheck, according to the nonprofit Economic Policy Institute.
Since 1978, CEOs’ compensation has grown by 1,322 percent, while average workers’ rewards have grown about 18 percent, the institute says.
TREND FORECAST: Historically, a growing wealth gap has been a source of social unrest and even revolution. Those signs already are festering in the U.S.
The flow of money from the middle to the top of the income scale will become an even greater wedge issue in American politics in the years ahead, energizing a larger number of voters who see their interests reflected in new anti-monopoly political movements.