As shares of American Express Company [AXP] have risen to start 2022, insiders at the company have sold a total of $87.5 million, the largest aggregate selling total at the company since May 2015.
On January 31 and February 1, Chairman and CEO Stephen J. Squeri sold a total of 267,656 shares for an aggregate of $47.8 million, as initially described in an article published February 2. Squeri has done well timing his trades at AXP, making this sizable sale, following the filing of several Form 144s, worth noting. Specifically, his May 2019 sale was especially well timed; shares slid 23.8% in the year following the disposition.
Shares of the financial services company have risen an average of 10% since that trade, due in part to a late January report of better-than-expected fourth quarter earnings and revenue. The stock hit an all-time high of $198.72 on February 9. That same day, Group President of Enterprise Services Anre D. Williams joined in selling 139,909 shares for $27.5 million. Williams acquired the shares sold via the exercise of stock options expiring in over three years. The sale is Williams' largest of four at the company, and when accounting for the shares acquired via the option exercise, the sale reduced his holdings by 55.1%.
Given that Squeri is ready to sell such a significant number of shares, his sale alone may have been enough of a signal for investors who bought near the stock’s 2020 low to take profits.
Other insiders have sold alongside Squeri and Williams; Chief Legal Officer Laureen Seeger, Group President of Global Commercial Services and Credit & Fraud Risk Anna Marrs, and Group President of Global Merchant & Network Services Joabar Raymond have altogether sold a total of 68,590 shares. These sales are worth noting, given that insiders have now sold a total of 476,155 shares for an aggregate of $87.5 million since the start of the year, a marked uptick in aggregate insider selling at the company (see graph above). Given that insiders are taking advantage of the stock's recent surge, investors may interpret this activity as a profit-taking opportunity. Investors should also keep an eye out for continued selling at AXP, should the stock continue its rise.